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At Zero Point

At Zero Point

Discourse, Culture, and Satire in Restoration England

by Rose A. Zimbardo

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

208 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in

  • Hardcover
  • 9780813120393
  • Published: March 1998

$60.00

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At Zero Point presents an entirely new way of looking at Restoration culture, discourse, and satire. The book locates a rupture in English culture and epistemology not at the end of the eighteenth century (when it occurred in France) but at the end of the seventeenth century. Rose Zimbardo's hypothesis is based on Hans Blumenberg's concept of "zero point" -- the moment when an epistemology collapses under the weight of questions it has itself raised and simultaneously a new epistemology begins to construct itself. Zimbardo demonstrates that the Restoration marked both the collapse of the Renaissance order and the birth of modernism (with its new conceptions of self, nation, gender, language, logic, subjectivity, and reality). Using satire as the site for her investigation, Zimbardo examines works by Rochester, Oldham, Wycherley, and the early Swift for examples of Restoration deconstructive satire that, she argues, measure the collapse of Renaissance epistemology. Constructive satire, as exemplified in works by Dryden, has at its discursive center the "I" from which all order arises to be projected to the external world. No other book treats Restoration culture or satire in this way.