A Tale of a Tub and Other Works

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This volume contains the three works which together make up Jonathan Swift's early satiric and intellectual masterpiece, A Tale of a Tub: the Tale itself, The Battel of the Books, and The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit. Incorporating much new knowledge, this 2010 edition provides the first full scholarly treatment of this important work for fifty years. The introduction discusses publication, composition, and authorship; sources, analogues and generic models; reception; and religious, scientific and literary contexts (including the ancients and moderns controversy). Detailed explanatory notes address many previously unexplained issues in this famously rich and difficult work. Texts have been fully collated and edited according to modern principles and are accompanied with a textual introduction and full textual apparatus. Illustrations include title pages, the eight engravings from the fifth edition, and original designs for these engravings. Extensive associated contemporary materials, including Edmund Curll's Key and William Wotton's Observations, are provided.

This volume includes: The Battle of the Books, and The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit, both which accompanied A Tale of a Tub on its first publication in 1704.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Some of the most important publishing events take place quietly … one of the landmark publications for me was the appearance of … A Tale of a Tub and Other Works … It's heartening to know, not just that one of our greatest writers is finally being given the editorial treatment he deserves, but that such a quixotically ambitious publishing series can still be contemplated in the digital age.' Jonathan Coe, The Guardian
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Marcus Walsh is Kenneth Allott Professor of Literature at the University of Liverpool.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations

General Editors' preface



List of abbreviations


1 The works included in this volume

2 A Tale of a Tub, The Battel of the Books and A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit

3 Other early texts acknowledged by Swift

4 Other materials relating to the Tale

A Tale of a Tub 1

The Battel of the Books 137

A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit 165

Swift's editorial matter for Temple's posthumous publications 189

Letters Written by Sir W. Temple (1700) 191

Miscellanea. The Third Part (1701) 197

Letters to King (1703) 201

Memoirs. Part III (1709) 205


A Letters between Swift and Benjamin Tooke, 29 June and 10 July 1710 211

B 'Observations upon the Tale of a Tub' William Wotton Wotton, William 215

C Complete Key to the Tale of a Tub Edmund Curlls Curlls, Edmund 231

D Materials from Miscellaneous Works (1720) 253

E Swift's Moor Park reading list 271

Textual introduction 275

1 Textual policy 275

2 Bibliographical information 283

3 List of sigla 290

4 Emendations to the copy text 291

5 Line-end hyphenation 295

6 Historical collation 297

7 Historical collation of the fifth edition 1710, 1751 duodecimo Works, and the Hawkesworth (1755) and Faulkner (1756) editions 308

Explanatory notes 315

Notes to A Tale of a Tub 315

Notes to The Battel of the Books 464

Notes to A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit 508

Notes to Swift's editorial matter for Temple's posthumous publications 533

Bibliography 535

Index 570

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