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John Stubbs

Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel

W.W. Norton

This new, lengthy biography of Anglo-Irish writer and satirist Swift is likely to be the standard work for quite a while. Most people’s acquaintance with Swift doesn’t get much past Gulliver’s Travels or A Modest Proposal, two works more quoted than actually read. Stubbs takes his time with his subject, weaving Swift’s life and works into a detailed tapestry of English and European history and politics, pausing occasionally to reflect on its effect on Swift the writer. He also delves into Swift’s religious life (he was a devout Anglican cleric), a strong influence on his personality, politics and writing.

– Bruce Collier
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