Gullivers travels into s.., p.22
Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.22Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1667, and died in 1745.His parents were English. His father died before he was born, and hismother was supported on a slender pittance by his father's brother. Hewas educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and all through his early lifewas dependent on the generosity of others. His college career was nothighly creditable, either from the point of view of manners, morals, orlearning. After leaving college, he travelled through England on foot,and found employment with a relative of his mother's, Sir WilliamTemple, in whose house was a noble library; and for two years Swift madeup for some of his shortcomings by studying diligently therein. He wentto Oxford in 1692, took a degree and was ordained in 1694. He was givena parish in Ireland, which he soon resigned, returning to the home ofSir William Temple, where he remained until the death of the latter in1699.
Temple left Swift a legacy, and confided to him the editing andpublishing of his works. This task completed, Swift went again toIreland to another parish, and threw himself into politicalpamphleteering with great effect, one of the results of his exertionsbeing the securing of freedom from taxation for the Irish clergy. Hesubsequently became Dean of St. Patrick's in Dublin, and for a periodachieved great popularity owing to his powerful political writings.
While in what he called his "exile" he wrote _Gulliver's Travels_, whichwas at first published anonymously, the secret of the authorship beingso closely guarded that the publisher did not know who was the author.Dr. Johnson characterized it as "A production so new and strange that itfilled the reader with admiration and amazement. It was read by the highand low, the learned and the illiterate." In this work, Jonathan Swiftappears as one of the greatest masters of English we have ever had; asendowed with an imaginative genius inferior to few; as a keen andpitiless critic of the world, and a bitter misanthropic accounter ofhumanity at large. Dean Swift was indeed a misanthrope by theory,however he may have made exception to private life. His hero, Gulliver,discovers race after race of beings who typify the genera in hisclassification of mankind. Extremely diverting are Gulliver's adventuresamong the tiny Lilliputians; only less so are his more perilousencounters with the giants of Brobdingnag.... By a singular dispensationof Providence, we usually read the _Travels_ while we are children; weare delighted with the marvellous story, we are not at all injured bythe poison. Poor Swift! he was conscious of insanity's approach; herepeated annually Job's curse upon the day of his birth; he died amadman.
There are numerous biographies of Swift; but probably the bestcharacterization of the man and his life, rather than of his books, isto be found in Thackeray's _English Humorists_, and a closer study ofthe man and his works in Leslie Stevenson's "Swift," in Morley's_English Men of Letters_. The other biographies of him are: Lord Orrery_Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift_, 1751; Hawkes,on his life, 1765; Sheridan's life, 1785; Forster's life, 1875(unfinished); Henry Craik's life (1882). The best edition of Swift'swritings and correspondence is that edited by Scott, 1824.
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