Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is an infinitely intriguing figure in the literary and political history of England and Ireland. Best known as the author of 'Gulliver's Travels', he was an ordained clergyman whose enemies claimed that he did not believe in God. He became legendary Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, while his ambition for church preferment in England was perpetually frustrated. For four short, intoxicating years he was the intimate of Queen Anne's chief ministers, and acted as their publicist and propagandist - a "spin doctor" before the term was invented.
Poet, polemicist, pamphleteer, and wit, Swift is the master of shock. His furious satirical responses to the corruption and hypocrisy he saw around him in public and private life have every relevance for our own times. His black imagination, and his preoccupation with the foulness that lies beneath the thin veneer of artifice and civilisation, gave a new adjective - "Swiftian" - to the English language.
Like his Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, Swift is a problem in perspective and scale. Prize-winning biographer Victoria Glendinning has take a literary zoom-lens to illuminate this proud and intractable man. She investigates as close range the main events and relationships of Swift's life, providing a compelling and provocative portrait set in a rich tapestry of controversy and paradox.
Contains 8 pages of black and white illustrations.
- Publication Date:
- 05 / 11 / 1999
- 124 x 198mm