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Thomas Sprats Influence in Jonathan Swifts Writing Style - Term Paper Example

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The purpose of this paper "Thomas Sprat’s Influence in Jonathan Swift’s Writing Style" is to investigate the influence of Thomas Prat's criticism of on the writing style of Jonathan Swift. Specifically, the present assignment discusses the Swift's work titled "Gulliver’s Travels"…
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Thomas Sprats Influence in Jonathan Swifts Writing Style
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Download file to see previous pages Before proceeding to the question of Sprat’s influence on Swift, Thomas Sprat’s views on language and style must be sketched. Besides offering a Baconian and realist ideology of objectivism, in his History, Sprat espouses a referential theory of language, which is based on the assumption that words correspond to things. In line with the referential theory of language, he advocates a plain style instead of an ornamental one. According to him, a language should "return back to primitive purity, and shortness, when men deliver so many things, almost in an equal number of words" (Sprat). In Part III, Swift mocks this concept of “equal numbers” and criticizes the referential theory of language as follows:
The other [project] was a Scheme for entirely abolishing all Words whatsoever, And this was urged as a great Advantage in Point of Health as well as Brevity . . . Words are only Names for Things, it would be more convenient for all Men to carry about them, such Things as were necessary to express the particular Business they are to discourse on . . . many of the most Learned and Wise adhere to the new Scheme of expressing themselves by Things. (185)
In Swift’s satirical universe while the referential theory is pushed to its limits, words are abolished and things become words, signifying themselves. As Deborah Baker Wyrick noted, “‘Words name things’ has become ‘things name things’” (4).
Similar to Locke, Thomas Sprat was hostile towards figurative language, which he “figuratively” called “swellings of styles” (Sprat). According to Sprat rhetorical devices like the use of metaphors and tropes, distorted reality and thus scientists should seek “to separate knowledge of nature from the colors of rhetoric, the devices of the fancy, the delightful deceit of the fables” (Sprat).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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