Swift: An Introduction

Swift: An Introduction

Swift: An Introduction

Swift: An Introduction

Excerpt

I trust that the purpose of this short study of Swift will be sufficiently clear from my title and table of contents. No attempt has been made to treat of Swift's career in anything approaching full detail. My object has been, rather, to suggest the forms, the contours, which can now be discerned in his life and his achievement. What is discerned is a matter, of course, of who does the discerning. Occasionally, no doubt, I shall be found speaking for myself. It would be surprising if this were not so, since I have lived with Swift for a good many years and have arrived at certain views concerning both his art and various episodes in his personal life which must naturally colour many of the things I have to say. But though the personal element may perhaps be greater than I imagine, it is inconsiderable by any reckoning, for what I have given in these pages is substantially a résumé of modern scholarship and criticism concerned with Swift. Unfortunately it has not been possible for me to indicate all of the books, articles, and reviews upon which I have drawn or which I have somehow had in mind while working out various sections of this study--the bibliography which stands at the end is a highly selective one, intended not as a record but as a help to the general reader; and the footnotes have had to be confined to the most specific kind of references. But I am sure that my fellow scholars and critics will understand the spirit in which I have worked and the method I have here been following. I shall be happy if they will dismiss as error or obtuseness on my part anything they take exception to, if only they will acknowledge their own very considerable title to the things that seem essentially right. (I may point out that in the 1953 reprint of my longer study, The Mind and Art of Jonathan Swift, which first . . .

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