First published in 1984, this biography gives an account of Jonathan Swift’s political ideas and provides a critical commentary on his major works. With its emphasis on Swift as a political writer, the title offers a revision of the prevailing view of Swift’s politics and its application in the study of his works. Alan Downie argues that in terms of the party politics of the day Swift is neither a Whig nor Tory. Swift thought of himself as an ‘Old Whig’, and said he was ‘of the old Whig principles, without the modern articles and refinements’. Downie shows how Swift’s writings consistently make political points about society’s deviation from an ideal. As Swift’s views on morality, religion and politics are so closely linked, an understanding of his political ideas is vital; this reissue provides a detailed analysis of this aspect of Swift’s writings and views, and as such will be of great interest to any students researching his satire.

part |70 pages

Days of Deference, 1667–1700

chapter |12 pages


chapter |14 pages


chapter |25 pages

Moor Park

chapter |17 pages

Swift and the Church

part |127 pages

Friend of the Great, 1701–1714

chapter |14 pages

Swift and the Whigs

chapter |25 pages

A Tale of a Tub

chapter |23 pages

Vicar of Laracor

chapter |29 pages

Swift and the Tories

chapter |34 pages

Dean of St Patrick's

part |142 pages

Hibernian Patriot, 1714–1745

chapter |24 pages


chapter |25 pages

Swift and Ireland

chapter |12 pages

Swift and Walpole

chapter |26 pages

Gulliver's Travels

chapter |22 pages

A Man of Rhimes

chapter |14 pages

A Driv'ler and a Show?