Magazine article The Spectator

Surprising Literary Ventures

Magazine article The Spectator

Surprising Literary Ventures

Article excerpt

THE BENEFIT OF FARTING (1722)

by Jonathan Swift

The Benefit of Farting was published in pamphlet form in 1722, ostensibly by one Don Fartinando Puff-Indorst, Professor of Bumbast at the University of Crackow (a 'crack' being 18th-century slang for a fart).

Its real author, however, was Jonathan Swift, though you will search in vain through biographies to find any reference to the fact.

That The Benefit of Farting was a real emanation of the Dean of St Patrick's is hardly to be doubted, since it appeared in the fifth edition of his Miscellanies of 1736, when the author himself was still alive. And it is, in its way, very characteristic: the preoccupation is not merely scatological but religious and political, and the title itself is a parody of 'The Benefit of Fasting', a chapter in The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650) by the most celebrated religious writer of the previous century, Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Connor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dublin. …

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