Jonathan Swift: Our Dean (Hardback)
  • Jonathan Swift: Our Dean (Hardback)
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Jonathan Swift: Our Dean (Hardback)

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£95.00
Hardback 840 Pages / Published: 04/04/2016
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Jonathan Swift: Our Dean (along with its companion, Jonathan Swift: Irish Blow-in) aspires to be the most accurate and engaging critical biography of Jonathan Swift ever. It builds on the thorough research of Irvin Ehrenpreis's highly regarded 1962-1983 three-volume biography, but re-interprets Swift's life and works by re-assessing his 1714-1720 repudiating the pretender while remaining friends with many who did not, by acknowledging that he likely had a physical affair with Esther Vanhomrigh between 1719 and 1723, by questioning whether in any sense he was a misanthrope, by noting his real care for Esther Johnson in her final illness, and by emphasizing the mutual love between Swift and his caretakers during his final difficult years.

Publisher: University of Delaware Press
ISBN: 9781611496093
Number of pages: 840
Weight: 1524 g
Dimensions: 238 x 157 x 53 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is the companion volume to Hammond's Jonathan Swift: Irish Blow-In (2016), which covers the first half of Swift's life, and together the two constitute a full biography of the private and public personae of Swift. Divided into five chronological sections, the present volume covers the period from the defeat of the Tory government in 1714 to Swift's death in 1745. Hammond examines the climax of his subject's career, giving considerable space to both the political climate and Swift's major literary output of the 1720s: The Drapier's Letters, Gulliver's Travels, and A Modest Proposal. Hammond explores Swift's private life, specifically his relationships with Esther Vanhomrigh and Esther Johnson, along with the colonial scene in Ireland that provoked much of his commentary. Tracing both Swift's indignation and his capacity for friendship, Hammond offers a carefully researched view of Swift that unites the critic and satirist with the man of faith who cared for the poor and exercised his talent in opposition to the abuse of power. Hammond's biographical treatment of Swift is a significant resource for serious scholars of the 18th century. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. * CHOICE *
This is a remarkable book. It gives us a comprehensive biography that supplies a sense of both Swift's daily life and the intellectual contexts in which he wrote his major and minor works. Ehrenpreis's three-volume Swift (1963-85) was a major advance, but suffered from its Freudian psychology and unsupported claims about Swift's sexuality, relationships, and aspirations-which Hammond politely but bluntly challenges. Hammond's Jonathan Swift compellingly presents its subject as first and foremost a civic activist, a man who wrote to live rather than living to write. This biography is important and persuasive, deeply learned, careful, and engaging. It will be a landmark in Swift studies. -- Ashley Marshall, Associate Professor of English, University of Nevada, Reno
Since the publication of the third and final volume in Irvin Ehrenpreis's Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age (1983), several biographies of Swift have appeared, attempting to correct Ehrenpreis's narrative or his character of Swift, but all have been derivative and slanted. Professor Hammond has produced the first new biography that adds to the biographical record and that Swift scholars must consult. By avoiding the extensive digressions in Ehrenpreis's Swift, and by scrutinizing and rejecting testimonies (including some by the elderly Swift) that passed distortions, falsehoods, and improbabilities into the historical record, Hammond has written the most coherent, fluent, and proportional narrative of Swift's life, constructing a plausible characterization that most scholars will recognize as a true portrait of the complex genius and outsider born in Dublin in 1667 and buried there in 1745. Hammond's interpretation and re-creation of Swift's life stresses the man's own aspirations, feelings, and values, characterizing Swift as a "civic activist" who wished "to make history, and record it." After reading this biography, with its thesis that "Principled behavior, whether in or out of public station, was what he lived for, and why he wrote," Swift may stop rolling over in his grave. -- Jim May, Penn State University, Editor, The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer

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