Abstract

Samuel Johnson's observation that "there is nothing . . . too little for so little a creature as man" is substantiated by eighteenth-century material culture, which produced thousands of small versions of familiar items. The phenomenon of downsizing indicates changes in the relationships between things, human cognition, and literature. Such changes inform Johnson's work, beginning with his early adaptation of Jonathan Swift's Lilliput, the period's most famous literary miniature. Johnson's reworking of Gulliver's first voyage establishes a cognitive paradigm at the intersection of material culture and moral thought, a paradigm to which Johnson returns in order to test the miniature's promise of comprehending the whole at once.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 281-298
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-13
Open Access
No
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