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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Robert Knighton

First Committee Member

Ruth Marie Faurot

Second Committee Member

Clair C. Olson


Any work of art, by definition, is so designated because it speaks to all generations, irrespective of time or place, and regardless of artistic, political, economic, or ideological fads. To accept a work as art with anything less than these universalities is blind acceptance and pure idolatry. Each generation must determine the validity of the label art by determining the relevance of the work to its own generations. Unless a work of art can successfully meet such a test, the label is no more than a gentleman's agreement among self-designated arbiters of taste. Two recent critics, writing on the philosophy of literary criticism, have defined what is perhaps the best test which a work of art must meet. Both agree that a work of art must go beyond the contemporary concern of the author.

Swift’s “controversies,” particularly his famous indictment of men, have neve lapsed into memories, for the assertions Johnathan Swift makes about man in Gulliver’s fourth voyage are incontrovertible. And were it not so, his indictment of man is a valid one. Hopefully, however -- and Swift held out such hope -- the course of human history may be altered.