An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting
  • Publication Date: August 12, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551110967 / 1551110962
  • 218 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting

  • Publication Date: August 12, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551110967 / 1551110962
  • 218 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Perhaps the first extended non-fiction prose satire written by an English woman, Jane Collier’s An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753) is a wickedly satirical send-up of eighteenth-century advice manuals and educational tracts. It takes the form of a mock advice manual in which the speaker instructs her readers in the arts of tormenting, offering advice on how to torment servants, humble companions and spouses, and on how to bring one’s children up to be a torment to others. The work’s satirical style, which focuses on the different kinds of power that individuals exercise over one another, follows in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift and paves the way for Jane Austen.

This Broadview edition uses the first edition, the only edition published during the author’s lifetime. The appendices include excerpts from texts that influenced the essay (by Sarah Fielding, Jonathan Swift, Francis Coventry); excerpts from later texts that were influenced by it (by Maria Edgeworth, Frances Burney, Jane Austen); and relevant writings on education and conduct (by John Locke, George Savile, Dr. John Gregory).

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Jane Collier: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting

Appendix A: Advertisement to the 1757 Edition

Appendix B: Models for Collier’s Satire

  1. From Sarah Fielding, The Adventures of David Simple, 1744
  2. From Jonathan Swift, Directions to Servants, 1745
  3. From Francis Coventry, The History of Pompey the Little, 1751

Appendix C: On Education and Conduct

  1. From John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1699
  2. From George Savile, Marquess of Halifax, The Lady’s New-Year’s Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter, 1692
  3. From John Gregory, A Father’s Legacy to His Daughters, 1774

Appendix D: Later Satires on the Art of Tormenting

  1. From Maria Edgeworth, An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification, 1795
  2. From Frances Burney, The Wanderer, 1814
  3. From Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

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Audrey Bilger is an Associate Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA. She is the author of Laughing Feminism: Subversive Comedy in Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen.