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Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) the greatest satirical spirit of the age.

1. A life of torture and loneliness. 2. Jonathan Swift as pamphleteer. 3. Gullivers travels Swifts most enduring work. 1. J.Swift was born of English parents in Dublin on November 30, 1667. From early childhood the future writer would have learned what is estrangement and loneliness: his father died before his birth and the boy inherited only his name, while his mother poverty made her leave Dublin for the native town of Leicester. The young Jonathan started his education at Kilkenny Grammar School. After graduation at the age of 14 he went to Trinity College. His academic career was far from being brilliant. The young man felt vocation for literature and history rather than theology. For a decade (1689 - 1699) Swift worked as a private secretary to Sir William Temple. It was during this period that he read extensively and polished his writing. It was at Moor Park, Temples house in Surrey that Swift tried his hand at writing poetry. Here he also met Esther Johnson, the 14 years younger daughter oh the housekeeper, who will remain among the greatest friends for the whole life, and whom Swift will immortalize in Journal to Stella. In 1692 Swift took his Master of Arts degree and 3 years later he got the place of vicar at a little church in Kilroot, Ireland, but after a year (1696) he returned to Moor Park, where he continued to work till Temples death (1699). In the early part of his career Swift was a Whig, but around 1710 he turned into an active supporter of the Tories and wrote a number of great political pamphlets. In 1713 Swift, Pope and a group of Tory intellectuals (Gay, Parnell, Dr.Arbuthnot, Congreve, R. Harley) founded The Scriblerus Club, to criticise bad taste and irrational thinking. The result of such activity included Gullivers travels as well as Popes Dunciad and John Gays Beggars Opera. After Queen Annes death (1714), Swift decided upon a self-imposed exile in Ireland, to avoid recrimination of the new Whig administration. During his life Swift was deeply involved in the fight of Irish people against English exploitation. Swift had a restless and lonely life, which ended in pain and madness. In 1738 his mind failed (the memory and reason were gone) and the last 7 years he was completely deaf. His sufferings came to an end on October 19, 1745 in Dublin. 2. Swifts 1st prose satire The Battle of the Books was written between the years 1696 1698. His patron, Sir William Temple found himself on the side of ancients in the controversy of the Ancients versus Moderns. His opponents ridiculed him copiously. Swift invents an incident in St. James Library, where the ancient books thrown away by the librarian strive against injustice. Swift avoids taking either side; he would not tell the reader who won the

battle. (He drops the narrative at a certain moment, pretending that the old manuscript that he decided to publish lacks the final part.) Yet, some of the images and symbols allude to Swifts sympathy with the ancient authors. The writer ridiculed the claims of the contemporary men of letters to be as great as ancients. Dryden is presented in an armour that is too big in size and much too heavy for him, an explicit allusion to his smaller literary force. On the other hand, 2 insects, the Spider and the Bee represent the 2 groups of writers. The Moderns had surpassed the Ancients in Mathematics and the Spiders web illustrates a perfect application of this kind of knowledge. Besides this the Spider is proud of being able to spin his web out of himself similarly, Moderns try to write their stories without taking into account classical values and traditions. The authors sympathy is with the Bee, which goes straight to nature and makes honey and wax, which stand for sweetness and light. Another pamphlet is an antireligious satire - A Tale of a Tub. The title seems to have a double meaning: 1) It suggests a kind of nonsense story told as a joke; the word tub here alludes to the idea expressed in the proverb: Empty vessels make the grates sound. 2) In the preface Swift mentions the old nautical custom: if a whale follows the vessel, the seamen throw an empty tub into the water to divert the whales attention from the ship. Some literary interpreters consider that the empty tub symbolizes religion as something which diverts people from other aspects of life. The allegorical story brings together 3 brothers: PETER representing the Roman Catholic Church, MARTIN representing Anglican Church and JACK Calvinist Protestant dissenters. Each one had inherited from their father a coat (Gospel) with specific instructions how to wear and look after it. The main requirement was to add no ornament to the dress. Thus Swifts ironic history of the development of Christianity is built on a number of suggestive cloth details. The same kind of imagery is used as an effective way of punctuating human pride. The author gives instructions how to identify various titles and positions in the society by certain composition of clothes and dresses: If one of them be trimmed up with a gold chain and a red gown, and a white rod, and a great horse, it is called a Lord Mayor; if certain ermines and furs be placed in a certain position, we style them a Judge, and so an apt conjunction of lawn and black satin we entitle a Bishop. In the Tale of a Tub Swift spoke in the name of reason against pride and fanaticism. At the same time he was a stout defender of Anglican Church as the only right position for an Englishman. Thus it is Peter and Jack who are attacked in Tale of a Tub. But satire is a genre hard to deal with. It is liable to escape from the authors control and expand criticism outside the writers intention. In the case of this work the destructive satire was focused on some modern religious doctrines.

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