Abstract

In Delarivier Manley’s 1709 bestselling political satire, The New Atalantis, volume 2 contains a long tale of the virgin Elonora, her brother Don Juan, her suitor Don Antonio, her gambling aunt, and various men who conspire against her virtue. Most of Manley’s other Atalantis stories satirize immediate Whig-Tory conflict in Queen Anne’s Court and are decipherable, at least to a certain extent, through separately published keys. Despite this tale’s length and prominence of place, however, no complete key to the characters’ possible real-life identities exists; scholars have declared it unidentifiable, and perhaps pure fiction for entertainment. In this article, I demonstrate how the Elonora story invokes the memory of Sir Robert Howard, the only identified character, in a financial allegory dramatizing the dangers of England being in debt to foreign creditors beyond her net worth. Manley also hints at the implications of a notorious 1708 military pay scandal involving prominent Whig officers. This tale and others like it may have emboldened her soon-to-be employer Jonathan Swift to make the same allegations more overtly in his bestselling The Conduct of the Allies (1711).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 523-540
Launched on MUSE
2013-08-26
Open Access
No
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