Contemporary Studies of Swift's Poetry

Contemporary Studies of Swift's Poetry

Contemporary Studies of Swift's Poetry

Contemporary Studies of Swift's Poetry

Synopsis

Individually the seventeen essays in this volume reflect the particularity of Swift's verse, while together they suggest the patterns of his thought and attest to his artistic achievement. Written by some of the most noted scholars of Swift, these essays are responses to specific challenges in the poet's work, and represent our current understanding of Swift's canon and its relation to the forms of Augustan poetry.

Excerpt

In the fall of 1975, several of us who had found Swift’s poetry increasingly attractive began to wonder how many of our colleagues shared our experience. On the evidence of recent publication, it appeared that interest in Swift’s verse was higher than at any time since the poet’s death, but none of us knew how extensive, deep, or shapely that interest might be. In order to find out, David M. Vieth took responsibility for chairing a Special Session on Swift’s poetry at the 1976 annual meeting of the Modern Language Association. The response to that Session was overwhelming, generating such a rich mixture of topics and viewpoints as to make subsequent Sessions appropriate at both the 1977 and 1978 MLA meetings. As a result of those meetings, it now seems right to take stock of where we have been, to consider what we have learned, and to make some predictions.

These goals are ambitious ones to aim at in the first collection of essays devoted exclusively to Swift’s poetry, but the essays collected in this volume have special histories. Nearly all of them have been presented in both oral and written form to the one hundred or so Swiftians gathered for each Special Session. Consequently, many have been modified since their presentation to reflect the diverse opinions, suggestions, and objections they encountered. In addi-

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