A political biography of Jonathan Swift /
by David Oakleaf.
London : Pickering & Chatto, 2008.
ix, 266 p.
1851968482 (hbk.), 9781851968480 (hbk.)
More Details
London : Pickering & Chatto, 2008.
1851968482 (hbk.)
9781851968480 (hbk.)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-04-01:
Oakleaf (Univ. of Calgary) makes an important contribution to this series, setting a standard of careful research and general excellence. He illuminates Swift's political life by examining how his treatment of political issues was wide-ranging: sometimes he supported the Tory position, other times the Whig. Though the author makes clear that Swift's political stance was not tied to a party, he argues that Swift's conservative religion, his Irish identity, and the immanence of war in the 18th century strongly influenced Swift's championship of liberty. Tracing Swift's emphasis on truth as he saw it, even when his views resulted in estrangement from friends, Oakleaf focuses on A Tale of a Tub and Swift's contributions to various vehicles of political and social propaganda, culminating in Gulliver's Travels, his masterwork. This reviewer found Oakleaf's handling of Swift's Irish concerns in The Drapier Letters and A Modest Proposal particularly significant. With its extensive notes and bibliography, this clearly developed study will be a boon to scholars. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. H. Kealy Immaculata University
Review Quotes
'Oakleaf makes an important contribution to this series, setting a standard of careful research and general excellence ... with its extensive notes and bibliography, this clearly developed study will be a boon to scholars. Recommended.'
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2009
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Description for Reader
Eighteenth-Century Studies, Irish Studies, Political History, Literature
Main Description
Now most famous as the author of "Gulliver's Travels", Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was one of the most important propagandists and satirists of his day. Modern readers have difficulty placing him on the political spectrum. He rejected political parties as factions but supported the Whigs and then the Tories. He defended the exclusive privileges of (Anglican) Church of Ireland, yet he was an eloquent champion of liberty. Insisting he was English, he became a celebrated Anglo-Irish patriot. This study seeks to contextualize Swift within the political arena of his day.Swift's politics reveal two profound influences. War and his Irish upbringing shaped the High Church but pro-Revolution political stance that gave him points of contact with both Tories and Whigs without identifying him with either. Struggling to define himself politically without compromising his independence, Swift expressed passions more extravagant than his positions. Usually angered by a human situation rather than animated by an ideology, he invented memorable voices under the pressure of events. They reveal as much about his developing relationship to the political fray as his particular statements about the Church, the Glorious Revolution, or Ireland. That is why Swift's politics still command our attention.
Table of Contents
Introduction: 'The Church Had Never Such a Writer'p. 1
Swift, War, and Ireland: 'An Heap of Conspiracies, Rebellions, Murders, Massacres, Revolutions, Banishments'p. 13
Courting the Favour of the Great: A Discourse and A Tale of a Tubp. 31
'An Entire Friend to the Established Church': Churchman among the Statesmen and Witsp. 65
The Echo of the Coffee House and the Voice of the Kingdom: Propagandist for a Peacep. 95
'Do I become a Slave in Six Hours, by Crossing the Channel?': The Dean, the Drapier and Irish Politicsp. 141
Conclusion: 'Upon this Great Foundation of Misanthropy'p. 183
Notesp. 203
Works Citedp. 239
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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