Jonathan Swift: An Annotated Bibliography
Swift has been written-upon extensively. The "further readings" in the Oxford selection (pp. 695-98), though quite brief, cover major criticism. Irvin Ehrenpreis's three-volume biography includes a wealth of information about Swift and about intellectual and historical backgrounds, as well as richly informed discussions of individual works, but its length detail makes it daunting. J. A. Downie's Jonathan Swift: Political Writer (1984) is broader than its title suggests and provides a lively and accessible biography. Other general studies I have found useful include Donaghue, Reilly (below), Rosenheim, and Steele. Oliver Ferguson, Swift and Ireland is indispensible for the Irish works. Useful editions of Gulliver's Travels containing critical essays include those of R. A. Greenberg (New York: Norton, 1970) and Christopher Fox (New York: Bedford, 1994).This bibliography samples works not included in the Oxford Swift (and hence some very significant works on Swift are not included here, and some of the collections referred to here are listed there). I do not comment on works I have not seen recently and have sometimes relied on Rodino's bibliography and on reviews for some annotation. The list emphasizes works we will read (including Gulliver's Travels) and recent studies illustrating a range of approaches.
Bogel, Federick V. "The Difference Satire Makes: Reading Swift's Poems." Theorizing Satire: Essays in Literary Criticism, ed. Brian A. Connery and Kirk Combe. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995. 43-53.
---. "Irony, Inference, and Critical Uncertainty." Yale Review, 69 (1979-1980): 503-519. [The uncertainties created by irony; A Modest Proposal is the major example.]
Bony, Alain. "Call Me Gulliver." Poetique 14 (1973): 197-209. [Gulliver travels through imaginary lands, and therefore the real targets of Swift's satire are his readers. An excellent essay but very French (also the language in which it is written).]
Booth, Wayne C. A Rhetoric of Irony. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1974. [Pp. 101-123 discuss the mixture of three voices in A Modest Proposal.]
Bredvold, Louis I. "The Gloom of the Tory Satirists." In James A. Clifford and Louis A. Landa, eds., Pope and his Contemporaries: Essays Presented to George Sherburn. Oxford, 1949. Pp. 1-19. [A classic essay describing the essential conservatism of Swift and others.]
Browning, J. D., ed. Satire in the Eighteenth Century. New York: Garland, 193. [Contains various essays on Swift, separately listed.]
Carnochan, W. B. "The Consolations of Satire." In Clive T. Probyn, ed. The Art of Jonathan Swift. New York: Barnes and Noble; London: Vision Press, 1978. Pp. 19-42. [Revealing look at controlled aggression in various works.]
---. Lemuel Gulliver's Mirror for Man. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1968. [Tension between the satire's duality of feeling and Swift's fear of uncertainty. Swift's satire against Locke. Swift's modernity.]
---. "Swift's Tale: On Satire, Negation and the Uses of Irony." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 5 (1971): 122-144. [Irony resolves the paradox posed by negation.]
Castle, Terry. "Why the Houyhnhnms Don't Write: Swift, Satire, and the Fear of the Text." Essays in Literature 7 (1980): 31-44. [They don't because language is unreliable and meaning unstable. Reprinted in Palmeri (below).]
Clifford, James L. "Gulliver's Fourth Voyage: 'Hard' and 'Soft' Schools of Interpretation." In Larry S. Champion, ed. Quick Springs of Sense: Studies in the Eighteenth Century. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1974. Pp. 33-49. [Analysis of the critical controversy of the 1950s and 1960s; the key difference is Houyhnhnms--good in hard, flawed in soft schools.]
Cook, Richard I. Jonathan Swift as Tory Pamphleteer. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 1967. [Swift's political tracts and historical writings as addressed specifically to the squierarchy.]
DePorte, Michael V. Nightmares and Hobbyhorses: Swift, Sterne, and Augustan Ideas of Madness. San Marino, Cal.: Huntington Library, 1974. [Useful on A Tale of a Tub.]
Downie, J. A. "Political Characterization in Gulliver's Travels." Yearbook of English Studies 7 (1977): 108-20. [Swift is generally an "old Whig," but Tory on church affairs. His satire is generally rather than specifically political.]
---. Robert Harley and the Press: Propaganda and Political Opinion in the Age of Swift and Defoe. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1978. [Swift's political writings from 1710 to 1714 as part of Harley's propaganda stable. See pp. 131-148 on "the Peace Campaign."]
---. "Swift's Politics." Proceedings of the First Munster Symposium on Jonathan Swift. Ed. J. Hermann and Heinz J. Vienken. Munich: Fink, 1985. [Extends and updates Downie's position on Swift's politics.]
Dyson, A. E. "Swift: The Metamorphosis of Irony." Essays and Studies, N.S. 11 (1958): 53-67. [Irony as an attitude exploring "the world's essential unmendability."]
Ehrenpreis, Irvin. "The Meaning of Gulliver's Last Voyage." Review of English Literature, 3 (1962): 18-32. [The Houyhnhnms are not a human ideal.]
---. "Personae." In Carroll Camden, ed., Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature: Essays in Honor of Alan Dugald McKillop. Chicago, 1963. 25-37. [Influential attack on misapplications of the concept of a "persona."]
Eilon, Daniel. Faction's Fictions: Ideological Closure in Swift's Satires. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1991. Argues that "Swift's work is consistently concerned with the tyrannical powers of the group ethic. . . . Swift observed the way in which value systems establish themselves within particular constituencies, insulate themselves from challenge by creating their own private languages . . . , and enforce a rather sinister kind of orthodoxy by exploiting peer pressure and the threat of ostracism."]
Elliott, Robert C. The Shape of Utopia: Studies in a Literary Genre. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1970. [Houyhnhnmland an impossible Utopia, Brobdingnag a possible one.]
---. "Swift's Satire: Rules of the Game." ELH, 41 (1974): 413-428. [A good guide to reading the complexities of the satire.]
---. "Swift's Tale of a Tub: An Essay in Problems of Structure." PMLA, 66 (1951): 441-455.
England, A. B. "The Perils of Discontinuous Form: A Description of the Morning and Some of Its Readers." Studies in the Literary Imagination, 17.1 (Spring,1984): 3-15.
Fabricant, Carole. Swift's Landscape. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1982. [The political, social, and intellectual implications of place in Swift.]
Feingold, Richard. "Swift in his Poems: The Range of his Positive Rhetoric." In Rawson (1983) 166-202.
Fischer, John Irwin, Donald C. Mell, Jr., and David M. Vieth, eds. Contemporary Studies of Swift's Poetry. Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 1981. [In addition to the essays separately listed here, those of England (on "Cadenus and Vanessa"), Gilmore (on "Strephon and Chloe"), Mell (on satiric mimesis), and Uphaus (on irony) are particularly recommended.]
Fisher, Alan S. "Swift's Verse Portraits: A Study of his Originality as an Augustan Satirist." SEL, 14 (1974): 343-356. [Swift's satire reminds us of the uncertainty of evaluation.]
Fitzgerald, Robert P. "The Structure of Gulliver's Travels." Studies in Philology, 71 (1974): 247-263. [Gulliver's uneasy accommodation of an ambivalent society.]
Francus, Marilyn. The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift's Satiric Prose. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1994. [Chapters on early influences, on Swift's satiric rhetoric, and on the problems of preserving and interpreting meaning.]
Goldgar, Bertrand A. The Curse of Party: Swift's Relations with Addison and Steele. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1961. [Swift's change in politics and its influence on his personal connections.]
Greene, Donald. "On Swift's 'Scatological' Poems." Sewanee Review, 75 (1967): 672-689. [The poems as Christian acceptance of human imperfection.]
Guskin, Phyllis J. "Intentional Accidentals: Typography and Audience in Swift's Drapier Letters." Eighteenth-Century Life. 6.1 (Oct 1981): 80-101.
Hammond, Eugene R. "In Praise of Wisdom and the Will of God: Erasmus' Praise of Folly and Swift's Tale of a Tub. Studies in Philology, 80.3 (Summer, 1983): 253-276.
Harth, Phillip. "The Problem of Political Allegory in Gulliver's Travels." Modern Philology 73 (1976): S40-47. [In a supplemental issue of MP Harth argues that the Gulliver's Travels cannot be read as a consistent political allegory, as Absalom and Achitophel can.]
Higgins, Ian. Swift's Politics: A Study in Disaffection. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. [Argues, contra Downie and others, "the consonance of Swift's texts with militant Jacobite and Tory literature." Exemplies a present trend of Jacobite revisionism.]
Jaffe, Nora Crow. The Poet Swift. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1977. [Introductory view, best in its close readings.]
Johnson, Maurice. The Sin of Wit: Jonathan Swift as a Poet. Syracuse, 1950. [Perceptive pioneering study.]
Johnson, Maurice. "Swift's Poetry Reconsidered." In John H. Middendorf, ed. English Writers of the Eighteenth Century. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1971. [Patterns in Swift's verse; indications of an undefinable biographical presence.]
Jones, Gareth. "Swift's Cadenus and Vanessa: A Question of 'Positives.'" Essays in Criticism, 20 (1970): 424-440. [A close reading emphasizing the poem's subversions.]
Kallich, Martin. "Swift and the Archetypes of Hate: A Tale of a Tub." Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. Ed. Harold H. Pagliaro. Vol. 4. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975. 43-67.
Kelly, Ann Cline. Swift and the English Language. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988. [A more focused, clearer, but limited study of language than that of Wyrick (see below).]
Kinahan, Frank. "The Melancholy of Anatomy: Voice and Theme in A Tale of a Tub." JEGP, 69 (1970): 278-291. [The various speakers of Tale cannot be differentiated.]
Kropf, C. R. "Literary Persona and Role Theory." Enlightenment Essays, 5.3-4 (Fall-Winter, 1974): 14-25. [Against extremes of persona and biographical criticism.]
Leavis, F. R. "The Irony of Swift." In Determinations (1934). Rpt. in Greenberg. [A famous and controversial argument on Swift's pervasive negativity.]
Lock, F. P. "Swift and English Politics, 1701-1714." In Rawson (1983) 127-150.
---. Swift's Tory Politics. London: Duckworth, 1983. [Lock and Alan Downie are locked in an unyielding debate regarding Swift's Whig or Tory politics, though both would agree that they are not specific in Gulliver's Travels.]
Mackie, Erin. "The Culture Market, the Marriage Market, and the Exchange of Language: Swift and the Progress of Desire." Theorizing Satire: Essays in Literary Criticism, ed. Brian A. Connery and Kirk Combe. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995. 173-92.
Mayhew, George P. "Swift's Bickerstaff Hoax as an April Fools' Joke." Modern Philology, 61 (1964): 270-280.
Monk, Samuel. "The Pride of Lemuel Gulliver." Sewanee Review, 63 (1955): 48-71. [A classic essay, often reprinted, arguing that Gulliver is Swift's prime example of pride.]
Montag, Warren. The Unthinkable Swift: The Spontaneous Philosophy of a Church of England Man. London: Verso, 1994. [Swift's contradictions were a product of the gap between the collapse of absolutism in 1688 and the emergence of a modern state after 1714. Includes long chapters on Tale and Travels.]
Noggle, James. The Skeptical Sublime: Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. [Includes a chapter on "Civil Enthusiasm in A Tale of a Tub."]
Nokes, David. Jonathan Swift. Oxford Univ. Press, 1985. [A prize-winning biography, attractively written but oddly old-fashioned.]
Nokes, David. "Swift and the Beggars." Essays in Criticism, 26 (1976): 218-235. [Swift's sermons reveal views not unlike those of the modest proposer.]
Oakleaf, David. "Trompe l'oeil: Gulliver and the Distortions of the Observing Eye." University of Toronto Quarterly, 53.2 (Winter 1983-1984): 166-180.
Palmeri, Frank, ed. Critical Essays on Jonathan Swift. New York: G. K. Hall, 1993. [Reprints previously published essays; particularly interesting ones include Doody on Swift and women poets, Castle on writing (see above), all four essays on Gulliver's Travels, and Pollak, Fabricant, and Paulson on Swift's poetry.]
Patey, Douglas Lane. "Swift's Satire on 'Science and the Structure of Gulliver's Travels." ELH 58.4 (1991): 809-39. [An important study of Swift's critique of science.]
Paulson, Ronald. The Fictions of Satire. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1967. [Pp. 129-222 on Swift; satiric tactics in the absence of a normative commentator.]
Phiddian, Robert. Swift's Parody. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. [A deconstructive look at "the blank at the centre of the parodies where the Modern author has attempted to assume the voice of authority and failed" that reveals (if that is quite the word) "the disturbing possibility of various Swifts, whose self-shroudings and incomparable self-fashionings cannot be subdued."]
Price, Martin. "Swift in the Interpreter's House." In Browning (1983) 100-115.
Probyn, Clive T. "Gulliver and the Relativity of Things: A Commentary on Method and Mode, with a Note on Smollett." Renaissance and Modern Studies 18 (1974): 63-76.
---. "Realism and Raillery: Augustan Convention and the Poetry of Swift." Durham University Journal, n.s. 39 (1977): 1-14. [Swift's creation--and later betrayal--of intimacy with his audience.]
Pullen, Charles. "'The Greatest Art is to Hide Art': Satire and Style in Jonathan Swift." In Browning (1983) 70-82.
Quinlan, Maurice J. "Swift's Use of Literalization as a Rhetorical Device." PMLA, 82 (1967): 516-521. [Ironic contrasts of literary and metaphorical meanings.]
Quintana, Ricardo. "Gulliver's Travels: Some Structural Properties and Certain Questions of Critical Approach and Interpretation." In Rawson (1983) 282-304.
Rawson, C. J., ed. The Character of Swift's Satire: A Revised Focus. Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 1983. [Previously published essays by various authors, separately listed.]
---. "The Character of Swift's Satire: Reflections on Swift, Johnson, and Human Restlessness." Rawson (1983) 21-82.
---. Gulliver and the Gentle Reader: Studies in Swift and Our Time. London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973. [Previously published essays (by Rawson) on central critical issues; see especially "Order and Cruelty."]
---. "The Injured Lady and the Drapier: A Reading of Swift's Irish Tracts." Prose Studies, 3,i (May 1981): 15-43. [The coherence of Drapier's Letters with other works.]
---, ed. Jonathan Swift: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1995. [Not seen, but the series in which it appears features collections of previously published essays by various authors.]
Reilly, Patrick. Jonathan Swift: The Brave Desponder. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.
Rembert, James A. W. Swift and the Dialectical Tradition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.
Rodino, Richard H. "Varieties of Vexatious Experience in Swift and Others." Papers on Language and Literature, 18.3 (Summer, 1982): 325-347.
Rogers, Pat. "Form in A Tale of a Tub." Essays in Criticism, 22 (1972): 142-160. [The Tale reveals empty forms.]
Rogers, Pat, ed. Jonathan Swift: The Complete Poems. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1983. [The most useful and accessible edition.]
Saccamano, Neil. "Authority and Publication in the Works of 'Swift.'" The Eighteenth Century-Theory and Interpretation 25 (1984): 241-62. ["Despite the desire to assert to authority of his testimony, the author of the Tale has ironically banished himself from his text." Therefore, "the authority of the author may well seem indistinguishable from the cant of publication." A thoughtful consideration of the problems of Swift's presence in the text.]
Said, Edward. "Swift as Intellectual." The World, the Text, and the Critic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.
---. "Swift's Tory Anarchy." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 3 (1969): 48-66. [Writing itself is Swift's subject--a dialectic of anarchy and order.]
Schakel, Peter J., ed. Critical Approaches to Teaching Swift. New York: AMS Press, 1992. [Critical essays addressed to real or imagined teaching situations. Schakel's bibliographical introduction is fuller than this one but not very critical. Useful essays (mostly new) include those by Probyn on poststructural approaches (particularly good on style and voice), Downie on politics, Rodino on interpretations of Gulliver's Travels, Traugott on irony in A Tale of a Tub, Rawson and Rosenheim on A Modest Proposal, and England on Swift's poetry.]
Scouten, Arthur H. "Swift's Poetry and the Gentle Reader." In Fischer and Mell (1981) 46-55. [The need to distinguish between Swift's public and private poems.]
Scouten, Arthur H. and Robert D. Hume. "Pope and Swift: Text and Interpretation of Swift's Verses on his Death." Philological Quarterly, 52 (1973): 205-231. [The authentic text of the poem supports an ironic reading of the eulogy.]
Simms, J. G. "Ireland in the Age of Swift." In McHugh and Edwards (1967) 157-175. [A good general treatment.]
Slepian, Barry. "The Ironic Intention of Swift's Verses on His Own Death." Review of English Studies, 14 (1963): 249-256. [Controversial argument that Swift's self-eulogy is ironic.]
Smith, Frederick N. "The Double Binds of Gulliver's Travels." Studies in the Literary Imagination, 17,i (Spring 1984): 35- 47.
---. "An Epistemology of Fictional Failure: Swift's Tale of a Tub and Beckett's Watt." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 15 (1974): 649-72.
Speck, W. A. "From Principles to Practice: Swift's Party Politics." In Vickers (1968). [Careful analysis of Swift's political positions.]
Stout, Gardner D., Jr. "Speaker and Satiric Vision in Swift's Tale of a Tub." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 3 (1969): 175- 199. [The speaker is Swift acting out the falsities of moderns.]
Swearington, James E. "Time and Technique in Gulliver's Third Voyage." Philosophy and Literature, 6,i-ii (1982): 45-61.
Todd, Dennis. "Laputa, the Whore of Babylon, and the Idols of Science." Studies in Philology, 75 (1978): 93-120. [Science judged by religious norms is hopeless.]
Traugott, John. "A Tale of a Tub. In Rawson, (1983) 83-126. [Full but accessible analysis; the mad voices reflect universal aspects of thought.]
Tuveson, Ernest. "Swift: The View from within the Satire." In H. James Jensen and Malvin R. Zirker, Jr., eds. The Satirist's Art. Bloomington and London: Indiana Univ. Press, 1972. Pp. 55-85. [Swift's combination of manipulative perspective and emotional intensity.]
Vieth, David. Essential Articles for the Study of Swift's Poetry. Hamden: Archon, 1984.
Vieth, David. "The Mystery of Personal Identity: Swift's "Verse on his own Death." In Louis L. Martz and Aubrey Williams, eds. The Author in his Work: Essays on a Problem in Criticism. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1978. [Useful largely for its overview of the conflicting critical opinions concerning the poem.]
Waingrow, Marshall. "'Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift'." SEL, 5 (1965): 513-518. [Response to Slepian's reading of the poem as irony; Swift's self-praise is sincere.]
Wasiolek, Edward. "Relativity in Gulliver's Travels." Philological Quarterly, 37 (1958): 110-116. [Relativity, drawn from Berkeley, is central to Swift's satire.]
Watt, Ian. "The Ironic Tradition in Augustan Prose From Swift to Johnson." In Earl Miner, ed. Stuart and Georgian Moments: Clark Library Seminar Papers on Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century English Literature. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1972. Pp. 161-188.
Williams, Kathleen. Jonathan Swift and the Age of Compromise. Lawrence: Univ. of Kansas Press, 1958. [Particularly good on Book III of Gulliver's Travels.]
Wooley, James. "Autobiography in Swift's Verse on his Death." In Fischer and Mell (1981) 112-122. [Evidence from Swift's letters supports a sincere reading of Swift's self-eulogy.]
Wyrick, Deborah Baker. Jonathan Swift and the Vested Word. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. [Criticism as punning on the metaphorical possibilities of dress and language: investigations, divestitures, vested interests, transvestations, and investments. Written in critspeak but nonetheless an important study.]
Zimmerman, Everett. Swift's Narrative Satires: Author and Authority. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1983. [Swift's narrator, claiming authority, seeks self-aggrandizement, and the authority for meaning shifts to the reader.]Return to EN604 Syllabus