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Jonathan Swift is almost universally accorded a leading place among the greatest of prose satirists. Born in Dublin of English parents on November 30, 1667, Swift never knew his father, who had died several months before his birth. After his mother returned to England the boy was raised in Ireland by paternal uncles, all of whom were lawyers. At the age of six Swift entered Kilkenny School, the foremost Anglican academy in Ireland, and at fourteen he was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin. In 1688 political turmoil prompted many Protestants to flee Ireland, and the twenty-one-year-old Swift journeyed to England, where he secured a position as secretary to Sir William Temple, a retired diplomat and statesman. For much of the next decade Swift flourished at Moor Park, Temples country estate in Surrey. Availing himself of Temples remarkable library, Swift acquired a first-rate education in history and political theory; moreover he discovered his talent for writing scathing satire. In quick succession Swift turned out two brilliant works: A Tale of a Tub, a scandalous attack on corruption in learning and religion, and The Battle of the Books, a mock-heroic treatise concerning the merits of ancient versus modern scholarship. (Neither was published until 1704.) It was also during the years at Moor Park that he met Esther Johnson, or Stella, who remained a companion until her death in 1728.

Disappointed that Temple failed to procure a political office for him, Swift took orders as an Anglican priest of the Church of Ireland in 1694. But he abandoned his Irish parishes for years at a time in order to promote himself in London. An established wit, Swift gained notoriety as author of the Bickerstaff Papers (1708-1709), a sequence of clever burlesques, as well as the virtuoso parody Meditation on a Broomstick (1710). He consorted with the playwrights Addison and Steele, and was an early contributor to the Tatler; later he gravitated around a new circle of friends that included Alexander Pope and other founders of the Scriblerus Club. In addition Swift issued a steady stream of pamphlets and tracts in support of social and economic reforms, chiefly on behalf of the Tory government. Journal to Stella (1710-1713) affords a remarkable account of his activities when he was at the height of political effectiveness. Yet for all his influence Swift never secured the one prize he sought most: a diocese in England.

In 1713 Swift was installed as Dean of St. Patricks Cathedral, Dublin. After the Tories fall from power the following year he retired to Ireland, virtually disappearing for a time from the public stage. But in the 1720s he resurfaced as a champion of the Irish people. Drapiers Letters (1724), a series of pamphlets attacking the English for exploiting his adopted countrymen, made Swift something of a national hero. A Modest Proposal (1729), a bitterly ironic tract in which he suggested that the starving Irish sell their children as meat, further enhanced his reputation as the Hibernian Patriot.

Swift returned briefly to London in 1726 with a manuscript of Gullivers Travels, a devastating satire of English politics and society. It is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery, said Alexander Pope when the work appeared. Indeed, Swifts masterpiece has captivated readers ever since. G. K. Chesterton observed: Swift was a man who could write what nobody else could have written . . . at a time when nobody else would have dared to write it. He could write the truth about a time in which perhaps more lies were told, and about which perhaps more lies have since been taught, than any other episode in English history. He could say the right thing, and say it exactly rightly; with a deadly detachment or a stunning understatement unmatched in the satires of mankind.

Afflicted with Menieres disease--a syndrome that affects the inner ear and causes dizziness, nausea, and deafness--as well as by the other infirmities of old age, Swift did little writing during the last fifteen years of his life. He was declared incompetent in 1742 and died on October 19, 1745. His grave in St. Patricks Cathedral bears this epitaph: Here lies Jonathan Swift, for many years Dean of this Cathedral, where righteous indignation can tear his heart no longer.

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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift 1508474338 9781508474333 Gulliver's Travels
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Jonathan Swift - Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift 1535298677 9781535298674 Jonathan Swift - Gullivers Travels
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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift 1514699400 9781514699409 Gulliver's Travels
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Gullivers Travels (Collins Classics) by Jonathan Swift 000735102X 9780007351022 Gullivers Travels (Collins Classics)
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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift 0141196645 9780141196640 Gulliver's Travels
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Gulliver's Travels (Wordsworth Classics) by Jonathan Swift 1853260274 9781853260278 Gulliver's Travels (Wordsworth Classics)
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A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift 1603863559 9781603863551 A Modest Proposal
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Gulliver's Travels (Penguin Classics) by Jonathan Swift 0141439491 9780141439495 Gulliver's Travels (Penguin Classics)
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Abolishing Christianity and Other Essays Jonathan Swift 1933149035 9781933149035 In this critically acclaimed compendium of 11 outrageous commentaries and tales by the English languages greatest satirist, Jonathan Swift reflects o Abolishing Christianity and Other Essays
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Gullivers Travels (Broadview Editions) by Jonathan Swift 155111979X 9781551119793 Gullivers Travels (Broadview Editions)
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Major Works (Oxford Worlds Classics) by Jonathan Swift 0199540780 9780199540785 Major Works (Oxford Worlds Classics)
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Gullivers Travels Jonathan Swift 1546665625 9781546665625 Gullivers Travels   Gullivers Travels
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Gulliver's Travels (Classic Starts) by Jonathan Swift 1402726627 9781402726620 Gulliver's Travels (Classic Starts)
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Gulliver's Travels (Signet Classics) by Jonathan Swift 0451531132 9780451531131 Gulliver's Travels (Signet Classics)
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A Journal to Stella by Jonathan Swift 0486816877 9780486816876 A Journal to Stella
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A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift 177426126X 9781774261262 A Modest Proposal
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Gullivers Travels Jonathan Swift 8854411841 9788854411845 Gullivers Travels   Gullivers Travels
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Gullivers Travels: Voyage to Lilliput by Jonathan Swift 0763693499 9780763693497 Gullivers Travels: Voyage to Lilliput
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Gullivers Travels (Calla Editions) Jonathan Swift 160660063X 9781606600634 Gullivers Travels (Calla Editions)   Gullivers Travels (Calla Editions)
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Gullivers Travels Jonathan Swift 1975773837 9781975773830 Gullivers Travels   Gullivers Travels
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