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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $19.50
  • September 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93065-8
  • 944 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

The Essential Writings of Jonathan Swift

Norton Critical Editions


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Jonathan Swift (Author), Ian Higgins (Editor, Australian National University, Canberra), Claude Rawson (Editor, Yale University)


This Norton Critical Edition is the fullest single-volume collection of Jonathan Swift's writings, encompassing not only the major prose satires—A Tale of the Tub, Gulliver’s Travels, and A Modest Proposal—but also a large number of other works, including his most important poems and political writings. The texts are accompanied by detailed explanatory annotations by Ian Higgins, thirty illustrations, and a full introduction by Claude Rawson. This is an indispensable edition for scholar and student alike.

“Contexts” features a generous selection of contemporary materials, among them Swift's letters, autobiographical documents, and personal writings.

“Criticism” provides readers with a wide chronological and thematic range of scholarly interpretations, divided into two sections. The first, “1745–1940,” includes assessments by Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Makepeace Thackeray, D. H. Lawrence, W. B. Yeats, F. R. Leavis, and André Breton, among others. The second, “After 1940,” is by subject and collects critical discussions of A Tale of the Tub, the poems, the English and Irish politics, and Gulliver’s Travels, by Hugh Kenner, Marcus Walsh, Irvin Ehrenpreis, Penelope Wilson, Derek Mahon, S. J. Connolly, George Orwell, R. S. Crane, Jenny Mezciems, Ian Higgins, and Claude Rawson.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.




    A Note on the Texts

    The Texts of The Essential Writings of Jonathan Swift


    1. A Tale of a Tub
    2. The Battle of the Books
    3. The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit
    4. An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity
    5. The Examiner, no. 16. November 23, 1710
    6. A Short Character of his Excellency Thomas Earl of Wharton


    1. A Meditation Upon a Broom-Stick
    2. Predictions for the Year 1708
    3. The Accomplishment of the First of Mr. Bickerstaff’s Predictions
    4. A Vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.
    5. The Last Speech and Dying Words of Ebenezor Eilliston from A Compleat Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation Directions to Servants

    III. WRITINGS ON IRELAND (1707–1737)

    1. The Story of the Injured Lady and The Answer to the Injured Lady
    2. Sermon, Causes of the Wretched Condition of Ireland
    3. A Letter to a Young Gentleman, Lately entered into Holy Orders
    4. A Letter to a Young Lady, On Her Marriage
    5. Drapier’s Letters I
    6. Drapier’s Letters IV
    7. A Short View of the State of Ireland
    8. A Modest Proposal
    9. A Proposal for Giving Badges to the Beggars


    V. POEMS

    1. Verses Wrote in a Lady’s Ivory Table-Book
    2. To Their Excellancies … The Humble Petition of Frances Harris
    3. Baucis and Philemon
    4. A Description of the Morning
    5. A Description of a City Shower
    6. Cadenus and Vanessa
    7. The Author upon Himself
    8. Mary the Cook-Maid’s Letter
    9. On Stella’s Birth-Day
    10. Phyllis, or The Progress of Love
    11. The Progress of Beauty
    12. The Progress of Poetry
    13. To Stella, Visiting me in my Sickness
    14. To Stella, who collected and transcribed his Poems
    15. Stella’s Birth-day
    16. To Stella on Her Birth-day
    17. A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a late Famous General
    18. The Progress of Marriage
    19. Stella’s Birth-Day. A great Bottle of Wine, long buried, being that Day dug up
    20. Stella at Wood-Park
    21. To Stella
    22. Prometheus
    23. Stella’s Birthday
    24. On Wood the Iron-monger
    25. A Receipt to Restore Stella’s Youth
    26. Stella’s Birth-day
    27. Clever Tom Clinch going to be hanged
    28. Holyhead. Sept. 25, 1727
    29. Irel.d
    30. Directions for Making a Birth-day Song
    31. A Dialogue between an eminent Lawyer and Dr. Swift Dean of St. Patrick’s
    32. Traulus
    33. The Lady’s Dressing Room
    34. A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed
    35. Strephon and Chloe
    36. Cassinus and Peter, a Tragical Elegy
    37. To Mr Gay
    38. Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D.
    39. To a Lady
    40. On Poetry: A Rapsody
    41. The Yahoo’s Overthrow
    42. The Legion Club



    1. From Journal to Stella, Letter VI: Swift to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, October 10, 1710
    2. From Journal to Stella, Letter XXXII: Swift to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, October 9, 1711
    3. Swift to Alexander Pope, September 29, 1725
    4. Swift to Alexander Pope, November 26, 1725
    5. Swift to Charles Wogan, July-August 2, 1732
    6. Swift to William Pulteney, Mary 12, 1775
    7. Of Mean and Great Figures
    8. Family of Swift
    9. Death of Mrs. Johnson
    10. Thoughts on Various Subjects
    11. Some thoughts on Free-thinking
    12. Thoughts on Religion
    13. Further Thoughts on Religion
    14. From William Wotton, “Observations upon The Tale of the Tub“ (1705)
    15. Alexander Pope, Poems on Gulliver’s Travels



    1. Henry Fielding [Obituary of Swift]
    2. Samuel Johnson [On A Tale of a Tub and Gulliver’s Travels]
    3. Samuel Johnson [Life of Swift]
    4. Samuel Taylor Coleridge [on Gulliver’s Travels]
    5. Samuel Taylor Coleridge [on Gulliver’s Travels]
    6. William Makepeace Thackeray [on Gulliver’s Travels and Swift’s last days]
    7. D. H. Lawrence [on Swift’s Celia]
    8. W. B. Yeats [on Swift, Georgian Ireland, and Stella]
    9. F. R. Leavis * “The Irony of Swift”
    10. André Breton [Swift and Black Humor]



    1. Hugh Kenner * [The Tale and the book]
    2. Marcus Walsh * “Text, ‘Text,’ and Swift’s Tale of a Tub
    3. Irvin Ehrenpreis * “The Battle of the Books”


    1. Peneople Wilson * “Feminism and the Augustans”
    2. Derek Mahon * [On Swift’s Poems]


    1. Ian Higgins * “Swift’s Politics”
    2. S. J. Connolly * “Swift and Protestant Ireland”


    1. George Orwell * “Politics vs. Literature”
    2. R. S. Crane * “The Houyhnhnms, the Yahoos, and the History of Ideas”
    3. Jenny Mezciens * “Utopia and the ‘Thing which is not’”
    4. Claude Rawson * “Swift’s ‘I’ Narrators”

    Jonathan Swift: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography