"When Epimethus oped the locks":The Scatological Verses of Jonathan Swift as Statements of Misandry

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Sexsmith, Melissa M.
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Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal
Jonathan Swift, one of the most famous satirists in the English canon, is renowned for his misogyny and his general misanthropy is infamous; some of the most reviled allegedly antifeminine works he produced are included among a small collection of poems composed by him in the 1730s, known as the "scatological verses." Each of these poems deals with the ostensibly degrading topic of women's bodily functions. Each presents women in a decidedly unsavoury manner, according to the predominant contemporaneous conventions. However, upon closer examination, it is revealed that the victim of Swift's ruthless satires may not in fact be woman, but rather, man. Through his expressions of "pity" toward the impractical male "heroes" of the poems, and his deliberate inversion of imagery in the Hesiodic myth of Pandora (placing the blame squarely on Epimetheus' shoulders), Swift endeavours to illustrate that the contemporaneous patriarchal culture and its unrealistic standards of femininity are deeply flawed.
Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745
Sexsmith, Melissa M. (2006). "When Epimethus oped the locks": The Scatological Verses of Jonathan Swift as Statements of Misandry. Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal, 1(1).