Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

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Yale University Press, Nov 12, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 573 pages
13 Reviews
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?div /DIVdivIn 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./DIVdiv. /DIVdivAssembling 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./DIV
  

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Review: Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

User Review  - Rich Rennicks - Goodreads

Great book. Thoroughly researched and told in a roughly chronological order, with fascinating digressions into certain aspects of Swift's life and times. My more detailed review: http://atriptoireland.com/2014/05/05/... Read full review

Review: Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

User Review  - Richard - Goodreads

This is an almost-great biography of a great and surpassingly strange man. Well-written, alive to its subject's sheer oddness, copiously illustrated, and filled with interesting detail. "Life and ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
1 Beginnings
9
2 A Patron and Two Mysteries
33
3 Long Choosing and Beginning Late
62
4 Moor Park Once More
79
5 The Village and the Castle
94
6 London
113
7 A Very Positive Young Man
125
19 Political Peril
286
20 The Irish Countryside
297
21 Stella
307
22 Vanessa in Ireland
320
23 National Hero
338
24 The Astonishing Travels
357
25 Gulliver in England
379
26 Disillusionment and Loss
393

8 The Scandalous Tub
131
9 Swift and God
147
10 First Fruits
154
11 The War and the Whigs
164
12 Swift the Londoner
177
13 At the Summit
191
14 The Journal to Stella
215
15 Enter Vanessa
231
16 Tory Triumph
241
17 Tory Collapse
253
18 Reluctant Dubliner
267
27 Frustrated Patriot
411
28 Swift among the Women
424
29 The Disgusting Poems
443
30 Waiting for the End
454
Chronology
473
List of Abbreviations
477
Notes
481
Illustration Credits
535
Index
541
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

DIVLeo Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Research Professor of Literature at Harvard University. He is the author of nine books, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius, a National Book Award Finalist, and Tocqueville’s Discovery of America. He lives in Newton, MA.
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