Who was Jonathan Swift? Bruce Arnold's provocative book examines this enigmatic figure in the light of his relationships - with his lover Esther Vanhomrigh ('Vanessa'), his ward Esther Johnston ('Stella'), and his many great male friends: Congreve, Temple, Bolingbroke, Harley, Pope, Addison, Thomas Sheridan, and others. Though often caricatured as a bitter misanthrope, Swift can only be properly understood if we recognize his love of humanity and his capacity for friendship. Arnold traces this theme from Swift's youth in Ireland and his literary and political apprenticeship at Moor Park in Surrey, and on through the years of greatness - the brilliant satires and pamphlets, the Church diplomacy at the Court of Queen Anne, and the great writings of his maturity: the Drapier's Letters, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. Here, for the first time, Swift's long and varied life is illustrated through contemporary engravings of the places he lived in, the people he knew, and the leading figures who defined his age.

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