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Battle of the Books, The.

Battle of the Books, The

(1704) A prose mock - heroic satire by Jonathan Swift, written in 1697 and published with A Tale of A Tub. It ridicules a literary squabble of the day as to the comparative merits of ancient and modern authors, touched off by Sir William Temple's essay Of Ancient and Modern Learning and continued by Richard Bentley, among others. Swift showed his contempt for the entire controversy and, more broadly, for modern scholarship, criticism, and poetry, by giving an account of a battle between modern and ancient books in St. James 's Library, the outcome of which remains uncertain. The mock epic similes of the spider, signifying the moderns, and the bee, signifying the ancients, are among the most famous in all of literature.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
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