SWIFT, Jonathan

(1667 - 1745)
“Books, the children of the brain”

Jonathan Swift was a noted 18th century Irish author and satirist.  Having been educated at the foremost Irish college of his day, he found early employment in England as the personal assistant to a retired diplomat, Sir William Temple who introduced Swift to those in power.  Over several years the young Swift was to mix with members of the ruling Whigs and the nascent Tory Party, and this early brush with the politicians of his day encouraged his leanings towards satire.  He became an Anglican priest in 1695 and was able to earn a small living as such, when other employment failed him.  He started writing whilst working for Temple, and his first pamphlet was published at the beginning of the new century.     In 1704, Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books. Tub, which although widely popular, was harshly disapproved of both by the Church of England and Queen Anne, who refused Swift’s preferment due to the blasphemy she perceived in his work.   In 1710 the Tories asked him to become editor of the Examiner, their official paper, and so he became fully immersed in the political landscape and began writing some of the most cutting and well-known political pamphlets of the day.  During this period Swift started work on what was to become his greatest literary triumph and landmark in the early development of the novel.  Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World, in four parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon and then a captain of several ships, generally known as Gulliver’s Travels, showed a keen satire of courts, political parties, statesmen and even the philosophy of the rationalist intelligentsia to which Swift belonged.  The book is undoubtedly the most famous and popular of Swift’s works, the secret of its success being the writer’s vivid imagination held in place by a rigid logic, as once the premise of Gulliver’s world is accepted, then the rest of his experiences follow naturally.    First published in November 1726, it was an immediate hit, with a total of three printings that year and another in early 1727.  The book has rarely been out of print and the popularity of the story is reflected in the number and quality of illustrators who have created their own interpretations of the tale.   Swift died when he was 78, having written his own epitaph which states that he lies  “where savage indignation can no longer tear his heart.” – a fitting memorial for a man of such fierce intelligence and biting wit.

 

Please scroll down to see our current stock first editions and illustrated copies of Swift's work.


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 Jonathan SWIFT

Books by this author

Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World

SWIFT, Jonathan

£125,000.00

Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World

SWIFT, Jonathan

£25,000.00

Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World

SWIFT, Jonathan

£65,000.00