Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

Language: English

Pages: 592

ISBN: 0300164998

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Jonathan Swift is best remembered today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the satiric fantasy that quickly became a classic and has remained in print for nearly three centuries. Yet Swift also wrote many other influential works, was a major political and religious figure in his time, and became a national hero, beloved for his fierce protest against English exploitation of his native Ireland. What is really known today about the enigmatic man behind these accomplishments? Can the facts of his life be separated from the fictions?

In this deeply researched biography, Leo Damrosch draws on discoveries made over the past thirty years to tell the story of Swift’s life anew. Probing holes in the existing evidence, he takes seriously some daring speculations about Swift’s parentage, love life, and various personal relationships and shows how Swift’s public version of his life—the one accepted until recently—was deliberately misleading. Swift concealed aspects of himself and his relationships, and other people in his life helped to keep his secrets.

Assembling suggestive clues, Damrosch re-narrates the events of Swift’s life while making vivid the sights, sounds, and smells of his English and Irish surroundings.Through his own words and those of a wide circle of friends, a complex Swift emerges: a restless, combative, empathetic figure, a man of biting wit and powerful mind, and a major figure in the history of world letters.

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Right one toward people talking to him. These afflictions turn up in Gulliver’s Travels, where the sound of a giant farmer’s voice “pierced my ears like that of a watermill,” and where sounds are frequently described as coming from the right.16 Medical intervention was useless. Swift submitted patiently to the whole range of treatments that were recommended: emetics to provoke vomiting, bloodletting, searing blisters on the back of the neck, and pills concocted from all sorts of revolting.

Peace with the neighboring princes, the Lord Mayor of the city and the Archbishop of Dublin; only the latter, like the King of France, sometimes attempts encroachments on my dominions.”12 In 1729 death had come for Archbishop King; this reference is to his unworthy successor. For most bishops Swift felt indifference or contempt; they were Whig mediocrities, notorious for neglecting their duties. One of the exceptions, Archbishop Bolton of Cashel, lamented that “a true Irish bishop has nothing.

255, 265, 266 Lady Acheson Weary of the Dean (Swift), 437 Lady’s Dressing Room, The (Swift), 449–50, 451, 453 Lagado flying island (Gulliver’s Third Voyage), 357–58, 371–72 Landa, Louis, 80, 103 landowners: Catholic confiscations/restrictions and, 31, 346, 382; Church of Ireland tithes and, 97, 458–59; Country Whigs and, 173–74; English rents in Ireland and, 343; Irish sheep farming and, 341; as Tory political base, 208, 251; voting restricted to, 157; Whig war taxation of, 170, 253.

55–56; on Swift’s angry outbursts, 326; on Swift’s aversion to kings, 66; on Swift’s caustics, 141; on Swift’s characterization of Yahoos, 376; on Swift’s grief at Stella’s death, 409–10; on Swift’s Irish rights pamphlet, 343; on Swift’s “seraglio,” 312; on Swift’s standards for servants, 274; Swift-Stella rumored marriage and, 318 Orrery, Lady, 360, 391 Orwell, George, 3, 157; rules for good prose, 209–10 Osborne, Dorothy (Lady Temple), 39, 40, 42, 55 O’Toole, Peter, 410 Oudenarde, battle.

“living” of Puttenham near Moor Park once its elderly rector died. That person was Simon Geree, brother of John Geree at Farnham, whose son John would long afterward publish his reminiscences under the initials C.M.P.G.N.S.T.N.S. In the meantime Thomas was serving as curate at another town further away. The Puttenham living was a royal appointment, so in this, at least, Sir William made use of his friendship with the king. It’s conceivable that Puttenham was offered first to Jonathan Swift and.

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