Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Satire on Learning and the Type of the Pedant in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Pedro Javier Pardo García


The paper discusses a series of 18th-century works which may be included in a genre sometimes referred to as 'satire on learning’, and, more specifically, which feature a particular character type—the pedant. The genre has not received much critical attention, so the paper will simply attempt to build a corpus of works integrating that genre—which, hopefully, may be expanded by later research and contributions to the topic—by establishing a series of links among them. In carrying out this task, this paper will (1) focus on the existence of English, French and Spanish works which testify to the European dimension of the genre and to a shared critical conception of learning as pedantry. It will then (2) draw a composite portrait of the central figure, the pedant (also called virtuoso, learned wit, erudite dunce), who gives unity to the works themselves and to the genre as a whole. It will finally (3) suggest lines of research which may render the topic interesting and fruitful.

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