Jonathan Swift

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9780091791964: Jonathan Swift

Poet, polemicist, pamphleteer and wit, Swift is best known as the author of "Gulliver's Travels". In this biography, Victoria Glendinning investigates the main events and relationships of Swift's life and provides a portrait set in a tapestry of controversy and paradox.

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Jonathan Swift, satirical writer, clergyman, author of Gulliver's Travels, didn't like dirt or dirty people. His friend, Thomas Sheridan, described him as "one of the cleanliest men that ever lived." His writing is full of scatological references and his verse reveals a disgust at the fact that women have bodily functions. It is this kind of visceral detail in which biographer Victoria Glendinning is interested. This is popular biography rather than an academic account of Swift's politics, writing and professional life. Taking a series of key characteristics/observations, the author builds chapters around them, drawing in the relevant material without adhering to strict chronology. The result is a "character portrait", which is a useful way of trying to get to grips with Swift, a man who evades easy analysis as his writing is so loaded with humour and political bias. Glendinning believes that you can't find Swift in his work so she seeks him out in private places; in letters to and from his young girlfriends, Stella and Vanessa, and in his relationships with powerful thinkers and writers of the time such as Alexander Pope. She finds a man full of contradictions--the sceptical clergyman, the Englishman in Ireland, the non-committal lover. Through suggestive detail and intelligent conjecture, Glendinning brings into focus England's most celebrated satirist. -- Hannah Griffiths

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Glendinning, Victori
Published by Random House Uk (1998)
ISBN 10: 0091791960 ISBN 13: 9780091791964
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