A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Mandeville, Bernard de

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Mandeville, Bernard de (1670-1733). -- Satirist, a native of Dort in Holland, who having studied medicine at Leyden, came over to England to practise his profession. In 1705 he pub. a short poem, The Grumbling Hive, which in 1714 reappeared with a prose commentary, and various dissertations on the origin of moral virtue, etc., as The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices Public Benefits, and in 1729 was made the subject of a persecution for its immoral tendency. It was also vigorously combated by, among others, Bishop Berkeley and William Law, author of The Serious Call. While the author probably had no intention of subverting morality, his views of human nature were assuredly cynical and degrading in a high degree. Another of his works, A Search into the Nature of Society (1723), appended to the later versions of the Fable, also startled the public mind, which his last works, Free Thoughts on Religion and An Enquiry into the Origin of Honour and the Usefulness of Christianity did little to reassure.