Jonathan Swift

 

Jonathan Swift 1667 – 1745) was an Irish cleric, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift published all of his works under pseudonyms — such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier — or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire; the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

 

On October 19, 1745, Swift died. He was laid out in public view for the people of Dublin to pay their last respects.  The bulk of his fortune was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, originally known as St. Patrick’s Hospital for Imbeciles, which opened in 1757, and which still exists as a psychiatric hospital.


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From LibriVox:

1.  Gulliver's Travels - Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, is a novel by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travelers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is widely considered Swift's magnum opus and is his most celebrated work, as well as one of the indisputable classics of English literature.

2.  Tale of a Tub -  A Tale of a Tub was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697, that was eventually published in 1704. It is arguably his most difficult satire, and perhaps his most masterly. The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of "digression" and a "tale" of three brothers, each representing one of the main branches of western Christianity. A Tale was long regarded as a satire on religion itself, and has famously been attacked for that, starting with William Wotton. The "tale" presents a consistent satire of religious excess, while the digressions are a series of parodies of contemporary writing in literature, politics, theology, Biblical exegesis, and medicine. 

3.  A Modest Proposal - Jonathan Swift almost defines satire in this biting and brutal pamphlet in which he suggests that poor (Catholic) Irish families should fatten up their children and sell them to the rich (Protestant) land owners, thus solving the twin problems of starving children and poverty in one blow. When the “Proposal” was published in 1729, Swift was quickly attacked, and even accused of barbarity – the exact state the “Proposal” was written to expose.