Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel

Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel

by John Stubbs


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A rich and riveting portrait of the man behind Gulliver’s Travels, by a “vivid, ardent, and engaging” (New York Times Book Review) author.

One of Europe’s most important literary figures, Jonathan Swift was also an inspired humorist, a beloved companion, and a conscientious Anglican minister—as well as a hoaxer and a teller of tales. His anger against abuses of power would produce the most famous satires of the English language: Gulliver’s Travels as well as the Drapier Papers and the unparalleled Modest Proposal, in which he imagined the poor of Ireland farming their infants for the tables of wealthy colonists.

John Stubbs’s biography captures the dirt and beauty of a world that Swift both scorned and sought to amend. It follows Swift through his many battles, for and against authority, and in his many contradictions, as a priest who sought to uphold the dogma of his church; as a man who was quite prepared to defy convention, not least in his unshakable attachment to an unmarried woman, his “Stella”; and as a writer whose vision showed that no single creed holds all the answers.

Impeccably researched and beautifully told, in Jonathan Swift Stubbs has found the perfect subject for this masterfully told biography of a reluctant rebel—a voice of withering disenchantment unrivaled in English.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393239423
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/28/2017
Pages: 752
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

John Stubbs studied English at Oxford and Renaissance literature at Cambridge, where he completed a doctorate. His book John Donne was awarded the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award and was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award. John lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Read by Derek Perkins.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

A Note on the Text xi

Introduction 1

1 Ireland and the Civil Wars 17

2 Upbringing 48

3 Abuses of Learning and Religion 80

4 The Temples and the Tub 116

5 Recovering Esther 179

6 Drifting with Whigs, 1702-1709 223

7 Recruited by Tories, 1710-1714 266

8 The Phantom Academy 328

9 Small Dominions 377

10 Bursting Bubbles 414

11 Dean Gulliver 471

12 Indecency and Indignation 538

13 The Last of the Gold 586

14 Sanctuary 611

Abbreviations 641

Notes 643

Further Reading and Reference 703

Acknowledgements 713

Index 717

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