This collection of critical thinking situates the satire of Jonathan Swift within both its eighteenth-century contexts and our modern anxieties about personal identity and communication. Augustan satire at its most provocative is not simply concerned with the public matters of politics or religion, but also offers a precise medium in which to express the paradox of ironic detachment amidst deep conviction.

The critics chosen for this volume demonstrate the complexity of Swift's work. Its four sections explore matters of authorial identity, the relation between Swift's writing and its historical context, the full range of his comments on gender, and his deployment of metaphor and irony to engage the reader. Swift has often been regarded as a writer who anticipated many twentieth-century cultural preoccupations, and this volume provides an opportunity to test just how modern he actually was. It also provides an answer to those who would wish to simplify his writing as that of Tory and misogynist. The theoretical perspectives of the contributors are lucidly explained and their critical terms located in the wider contexts of contemporary theory in the introduction and headnotes. The volume places Swift historically within the philosophical and religious traditions of eighteenth-century thought.

chapter |19 pages


Edited ByNigel Wood

part Part One|63 pages

Reading and Identity

chapter 1|18 pages

Swift’s Tory Anarchy*

ByEdward Said

chapter 3|14 pages

Extract from Jonathan Swift and the Vested Word*

ByDeborah Baker Wyrick

part Part Two|85 pages

Text and Context

chapter 4|20 pages

Scriblerian Self-Fashioning*

ByBrean S. Hammond

chapter 5|20 pages

Text, ‘Text’, and Swift’s A Tale of a Tub *

ByMarcus Walsh

chapter 6|15 pages

The Authority of Satire*

ByEverett Zimmerman

chapter 7|13 pages

Extract from Swift’s Landscape *

ByCarole Fabricant

chapter 8|12 pages

The Grotesque Satiric Body*

ByPeter Stallybrass, Allon White

part Part Three|61 pages

The Female Monster

chapter 9|7 pages

Flesh and Blood: Swift’s Sexual Strategies*

ByCarol Houlihan Flynn

chapter 10|14 pages

Feminism and the Augustans: Some Readings and Problems*

ByPenelope Wilson

chapter 11|29 pages

Swift among the Women*

ByMargaret Anne Doody

part Part Four|48 pages

Writing and Meaning