Serge Müller obtained his B.A. degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Neuchâtel, after also studying abroad at the University of Utah. He went on to receive his M.A. degree in English Literature from the University of Zurich for his thesis “(Un)Common Words for (Un)Common Things: Satire and Irony in Samuel Johnson’s ‘Life of Swift’.”
PhD Project: The Rhetoric of Ambiguity in Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets
Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets have since their appearance met with very differing opinions, from accusations of unfairness to praise for critical insight; yet, criticism has rarely considered these discrepancies of reading as an effect of the rhetorical construction of the text. In my research project I explore how far these different reactions are due to Johnson’s rhetoric of ambiguity; a rhetoric that uses ambiguity intentionally, but also reveals inherent ambiguities in the art of rhetoric itself.
Samuel Johnson, 18th-century literature, satire, rhetoric, ambiguity, irony