chapter  5
32 Pages

‘Inwardly Working a Stirre to the Mynde’: Political Satire in the Midwife

According to the Tudor rhetorician George Puttenham, ‘inwardly working a stirre to the mynde’ is the desired effect of the figurae sententiae, the ornaments of persuasive speech and writing.

are the common currency of the Midwife, but her favourite mental galvanizer is hyperbole, and especially in its specialized use as ridicule by exaggeration. What, then, does the magazine take as its targets for such ridicule, and why? In the close look at a single number which formed chapter two, single articles were taken as typical of general trends in the Midwife, and attention was directed to the following major objects of Mrs. Midnight’s derision: the practice of pedantic antiquarianism, and concomitantly the professionalization of knowledge; the crass stupidity typical of the public mind, as displayed by critics and theatre-goers; and lastly, political corruption. The way that the decline of learning and literature and the lack of reward for literary and scholarly merit come under attack in the magazine was considered in the third and fourth chapters.