chapter  13
20 Pages

Jonathan Swift: The Satirist as Philosopher

ByPeter J. Stanlis

since jonathan swift’s publication of Gulliver’s Travels (1726), so many important historical changes have occurred in shaping the modern world in its philosophical views of reality and the moral nature of man and the nature and function of religion, politics, civil society, and taste in literature, that it may be very difficult for modern readers to understand his techniques as a satirist. Perhaps the most important single impediment for some modern readers to overcome is the contemporary assumption, held almost universally as an unquestioned belief, that human nature is “naturally good,” that the moral virtues in mankind are innate rather than acquired.