Swift’s Satires on Modernism: Battlegrounds of Reading and Writing

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9781137311627: Swift’s Satires on Modernism: Battlegrounds of Reading and Writing

More than three centuries later, Jonathan Swift's writing remains striking and relevant. In this engaging study, Atkins brings forty-plus years of critical experience to bear on some of the greatest satires ever written, revealing new contexts for understanding post-Reformation reading practices and the development of the modern personal essay.

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About the Author:

G. Douglas Atkins is a Professor of English at the University of Kansas, USA. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books, including Reading T.S. Eliot: 'Four Quartets' and the Journey Towards Understanding; T.S. Eliot and the Essay; On the Familiar Essay: Challenging Academic Orthodoxies; and Literary Paths to Religious Understanding: Essays on Dryden, Pope, Keats, George Eliot, Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and E.B. White. He is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including NEH, the Mellon Foundation, and American Council of Learned Societies; has received several awards for teaching; and was the winner of the Kenyon Review's prize for literary excellence in nonfiction prose.

Review:

"It is very refreshing to find Swift discussed alongside more contemporary writers and genres. Stimulating and provocative, [this book] resonates beyond Swift himself to illuminate broader issues of the age, especially in its discussion of religion." - Jeffrey Smitten, Professor of English, Utah State University, USA

"Atkins provides a major resource to contemporary readers of 18th-century literature by considering Swift's major satires in the context of the post-Reformation 'priesthood of all readers' By connecting Swift's works with later authors, Atkins opens up an exploration of modern self-sufficiency, figured in the image of the spider, and illuminates Swift's satires on the intellectual, religious, and philosophical situations of his day. The allegory of the dispute between the 'scurrilous spider' and the bee, along with references to 19th- and 20th-century essays, creates a new space for discussing Swift's classic satires, especially A Tale of a Tub and 'A Modest Proposal.' This text provides a fresh look at discussions of Swift's position on reading and writing, especially on the introspective interpretations encouraged by the development of the personal essay. Atkins's work provides a valuable reference for the serious student of satire, and it belongs in libraries catering to specialists in 18th-century literature. Summing Up: Recommended." - Choice

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