The Curse of Party: Swift's Relations with Addison and Steele

The Curse of Party: Swift's Relations with Addison and Steele

The Curse of Party: Swift's Relations with Addison and Steele

The Curse of Party: Swift's Relations with Addison and Steele

Excerpt

To Swift's contemporaries the most significant aspect of his relations with Addison and Steele was his bitter quarrel with them over politics. After his so-called "conversion" to the Tories in 1710, Swift's friendship with the two Whig writers was doomed by the "curse of party," as he himself called it. It was in this light that informed persons viewed the matter at the time. In fact, during the heated warfare between the two parties in 1714, this private dispute became a matter of public interest and comment, and Swift's "desertion" of Addison and Steele was taken by the Whigs as a symbol of his general political apostasy. This contemporary emphasis on politics as the core of the difficulty among the three men is both obvious and accurate; the weight of any modern study of their relations must necessarily lie in the area of political opinions and party maneuvers.

Yet it would be a serious oversight to let the matter rest at that. However mawkish we may find his judgment, Thackeray's contrast of Swift's "savage indignation" with Addison's "lonely serenity" and Steele's "natural tears" serves to remind us that the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.