Analysis Of Jane Collier 's ' An Essay On The Art Of Beautifully Tormenting '

818 Words Apr 27th, 2016 4 Pages
Mirror of Reform: Examples of Reform in Jane Collier’s An Essay on The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting

An Essay on The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting is a satirical work modeled after the conduct books of the era. Collier’s conduct book, however, seeks to educate her readers on the sport of tormenting and the subsequent rules involved in this sport. The essay gives advice for the tormenting of everyone in the readers life from servants to husbands. It’s grotesque yet humorous descriptions draw attention to some of the biggest issues plaguing women in eighteenth century Britain. Collier’s work was one of the first large scale satires written by a woman. Jonathan Swift once said, “Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” Jane Collier’s mirror exposes a wealth of contradiction in a “Christian” nation. Her medium of satire serves as a humorous but grotesque reflection on a series of anxiety inducing changes facing women of the eighteenth century. As is the purpose with all satire, Collier seeks to reform these perceived injustices and correct the absorbed behavior demonstrated in her essay. While it is true that Jane Collier’s The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting points out where society needs improvement, it also artfully illuminates the changes already occurring in British society. The eighteenth century saw the emergence of the middle class and subsequent power struggle as well as a newfound independence and education…

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