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Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)

Books by this author: Selected Poems
  • About
  • Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin in 1667 and attended Dublin University (now Trinity College, Dublin) gaining a BA in 1686. He was in the process of studying for a Masters when the Irish political climate in the wake of the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 forced him to decamp to England. There he became the secretary and personal assistant of the diplomat Sir William Temple at Moor Park. Whilst at Moor Park Swift met and became tutor to a servant's daughter named Esther Johnson, then a child of 8, who under Swift's nickname 'Stella' became a regular figure in his mature poetry.

    He finally completed his Masters at Hertford College, Oxford in 1692 before returning to Ireland and taking holy orders in 1694. This was short-lived however and he returned to England, and Moor Park, in 1696 where he began writing the satirical tract The Battle of the Books, published in 1704 along with A Tale of a Tub.

    Around this time he began to establish friendships among members of the London literary intelligentsia including the poets Alexander Pope and John Gay, among whom was founded the notorious Martinus Scriberlus Club in 1713.

    In 1726 Swift published the lengthy prose satire Gulliver's Travels, which won him international renown and was translated into three languages. Yet throughout his career as a satirist and pamphleteer he continued to write poetry, publishing some 280 known poems in his lifetime.

    Swift died in 1745. In his last will and testament he bequeathed a large amount of his fortune to the funding of a hospital for the mentally ill.

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