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I only knew (or cared,really) of Jonathan Swift as the author of Gulliver's Travels - but John Stubbs work was recommended to me as a sterling example of the biographer's art. I found it a most pleasurable reading experience and an excellent life study.
Gary— From Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel
A rich and riveting portrait of the man behind Gulliver’s Travels, by a “vivid, ardent, and engaging” (New York Times Book Review) author.
One of Europe’s most important literary figures, Jonathan Swift was also an inspired humorist, a beloved companion, and a conscientious Anglican minister—as well as a hoaxer and a teller of tales. His anger against abuses of power would produce the most famous satires of the English language: Gulliver’s Travels as well as the Drapier Papers and the unparalleled Modest Proposal, in which he imagined the poor of Ireland farming their infants for the tables of wealthy colonists.
John Stubbs’s biography captures the dirt and beauty of a world that Swift both scorned and sought to amend. It follows Swift through his many battles, for and against authority, and in his many contradictions, as a priest who sought to uphold the dogma of his church; as a man who was quite prepared to defy convention, not least in his unshakable attachment to an unmarried woman, his “Stella”; and as a writer whose vision showed that no single creed holds all the answers.
Impeccably researched and beautifully told, in Jonathan Swift Stubbs has found the perfect subject for this masterfully told biography of a reluctant rebel—a voice of withering disenchantment unrivaled in English.