A Discourse Concerning Ridicule and Irony in Writing

A Discourse Concerning Ridicule and Irony in Writing

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A Discourse Concerning Ridicule and Irony in Writing by Anthony Collins

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A Discourse Concerning Ridicule and Irony in Writing

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Book Excerpt

t as early as 1702 one commentator had noted, "when you expect an argument, they make a jest."[15] Collins himself resorted to this practice with both instinctive skill and deliberate contrivance.

All these methods, though underhanded, he silently justified on the assumption that he was dealing with a conspiracy of priests: hence, he professed that he had to fight fraud and deception with their like, and that such craftiness, suitable "to his particular genius and temper," was "serviceable to his cause." For these reasons even William Warburton, who had vainly struggled to be judicious, described him as "a Writer, whose dexterity in the arts of Controversy was so remarkably contrasted by his abilities in reasoning and literature, as to be ever putting one in mind of what travellers tell us of the genius of the proper Indians, who, although the veriest bunglers in all the fine arts of manual operation, yet excel everybody in slight of hand and the delusive feats of activity."[16] Whatever may be said of