Jonathan Swift : Political Writer
First published in 1984, this biography gives an account of Jonathan Swift’s political ideas and provides a critical commentary on his major works. With its emphasis on Swift as a political writer, the title offers a revision of the prevailing view of Swift’s politics and its application in the study of his works. Alan Downie argues that in terms of the party politics of the day Swift is neither a Whig nor Tory. He never called himself a Tory, and yet he is constantly called one by his modern critics. Swift termed himself an ‘Old Whig’, and said he was ‘of the old Whig principles, without the modern articles and refinements’. Downie shows how Swift’s writings consistently make political points about how society is deviating from an ideal. As Swift’s views on morality, religion and politics are so closely linked, an understanding of his political ideas is vital; this reissue provides a detailed analysis of this aspect of Swift’s writings and views, and as such will be of great interest to any students researching his satire.