The Life of Jonathan Swift

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The Life of Jonathan Swift by Lockwood, Thomas, 9781118957233
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  • ISBN: 9781118957233 | 1118957237
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/7/2023

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Presents a fresh account of the life history and creative imagination of Jonathan Swift

Classic satires such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, and A Tale of a Tub express radical positions, yet were written by the most conservative of men. Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin and spent most of his life in Ireland, never traveling outside the British Isles. An Anglo-Irish Protestant clergyman, he was a major political and religious figure whose career was primarily clerical, not literary. Although much is known about Swift, in many ways he remains an enigma. He was admired as an Irish patriot yet was contemptuous of the Irish. He was both secretive and self-dramatizing. His talent for friendship was matched by his skill for making enemies. He hated the English but yearned to live in England.

The Life of Jonathan Swift explores the writing life and personal history of the foremost satirist in the English language. Accessible and engaging, this critical biography brings Swift’s writing and creative sensibility into the narrative of his life. Author Thomas Lockwood provides the historical and modern critical context of Swift’s prose satires and poetry, as well as his political journalism, essays, manuscripts, and personal correspondence. Throughout the book, biographically contextualized descriptions of Swift’s most famous works help readers better understand both the writing and the writer.

  • Provides critical profiles of Gulliver’s Travels, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, Drapier’s Letters, and Swift’s other famous works
  • Offers insights into Swift’s relationships with Esther Johnson, “Stella,” and Esther Vanhomrigh, “Vanessa”
  • Highlights Swift’s poetry and how verse writing was a vital part of his creative being
  • Summarizes and contextualizes lesser-known works such as The Conduct of the Allies
  • Addresses the historic critical bias against comedy or satire as inferior forms of art, both in Swift’s lifetime and the present

The Life of Jonathan Swift is an essential resource for general readers of literature and literary biography, university instructors and researchers, and undergraduate students taking courses in English literature.

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