Jonathan Swift Biography

Jonathan Swift Biography

Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745) – Irish author and Journalist

A popular satirist, essayist, poet and cleric, Jonathan Swift is remembered for his exemplary literary works. He is one of the foremost prose satirist in English language. 

Born: November 30, 1667, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745, Ireland
Spouse: Esther Johnson (m. 1716)
Movies: Gulliver's Travels, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, More
Parents: Jonathan Swift, Abigail Erick

Birth Details

Born on November 30, 1667 in Dublin, Jonathan Swift was a popular Irish author and satirist. His father died before he was born and as a result he was raised by his three uncles.

Biography and Career

Education of Jonathan Swift was taken care of by his uncles. He went to Kilkenny School at the age of 6 which was considered as one of the best school in Ireland.

Swift went to Trinity College in Dublin for his further studies. He was an average student and thus when he relieved his degree in 1686, it was speciali gratia meaning “by special favor”. For advanced studies he continued at Trinity College but was forced to move to England because of political unrest.

Swift associated with Temple who was a diplomat and a writer who was preparing his memoirs. He worked with him as his secretary for about 10 years although their relationship was not very comfortable. The biggest advantage of this association was that Jonathan got an unlimited access to his vast and rich library. There he met Temple’s daughter Stella whom people believed Jonathan secretly married.

This was the time when Jonathan started his first job of serious writing with “A Tale of a Tub” which was published anonymously in 1704. This work was attributed to him later. Queen Anne considered this work of Swift blasphemous that adversely affected Swift’s chances for ecclesiastical preferment in England. Swift returned to Ireland in 1699 after the death of Temple where he was preferred for several posts in Irish Church. 

He wrote several essays and published them which increased his popularity in Ireland as well as England. He returned to England in 1710.

Here Swift was won over by Tories and he became the editor of the Tory publication. After the death of the Queen, the political tide turned and the Tory administration collapsed. After this event, Jonathan Swift returned to Ireland for good. He was considered for the post of deanery of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. He joined this position and continued on this post until the end of his life. 

Until 1720s, he wrote very little but after that he again stated showing immense interest in verse. The most famous works of Jonathan Swift are A Modest Proposal, Gulliver’s Travels, A Journal to Stella, The Battle of the Books, Drapier’s Letters, An Argument against Abolishing Christianity and A Tale of a Tub. He is believed to be a master in two styles of satires – Horatian and Juvenalian.

Jonathan Swift died on 19th October 1745 in Dublin, Ireland.

Quotes

“A lie does not consist in the indirect position of words, but in the desire and intention, by false speaking, to deceive and injure your neighbour.”
- Jonathan Swift

“A lie is an excuse guarded”
- Jonathan Swift

“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday.”
- Jonathan Swift

“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”
- Jonathan Swift

“As blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.”
- Jonathan Swift

“As love without esteem is capricious and volatile; esteem without love is languid and cold.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Bachelor's fare: Bread, cheese, and kisses”
- Jonathan Swift

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Books, the children of the brain.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Every dog must have his day.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Fine words! I wonder where you stole them”
- Jonathan Swift

“For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.”
- Jonathan Swift

“I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Invention is the talent of youth, as judgment is of age.”
- Jonathan Swift

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”
- Jonathan Swift

“I've always believed no matter how many shots I miss, I'm going to make the next one.”
- Jonathan Swift

“May you live all the days of your life.”
- Jonathan Swift

“May you live every day of your life.”
- Jonathan Swift

“My nose itched, and I knew I should drink wine or kiss a fool.”
- Jonathan Swift

“No wise man ever wished to be younger.”
- Jonathan Swift

“One of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid”
- Jonathan Swift

“Our passions are like convulsion fits, which, though they make us stronger for the time, leave us the weaker ever after”
- Jonathan Swift

“Power is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Reason is a very light rider, and easily shook off”
- Jonathan Swift

“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.”
- Jonathan Swift

“The greatest inventions were produced in the times of ignorance, as the use of the compass, gunpowder, and printing”
- Jonathan Swift

“The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.”
- Jonathan Swift

“There is nothing constant in this world but inconsistency.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Usually speaking, the worst bred person in company is a young traveler just returned from abroad”
- Jonathan Swift

“Venus, a beautiful, good-natured lady, was the goddess of love; Juno, a terrible shrew, the goddess of marriage; and they were always mortal enemies”
- Jonathan Swift

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”
- Jonathan Swift

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
- Jonathan Swift

“We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
- Jonathan Swift

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
- Jonathan Swift

“When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
- Jonathan Swift 


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