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Jonathan Swift was an Irish author and satirist. Best known for writing Gulliver's Travels, he was dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.
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In 1699, Temple died. Swift completed the task of editing and publishing his memoirs—not without disputes by several of Temple's family members—and then, grudgingly, accepted a less prominent post as secretary and champlain to the Earl of Berkeley. After making the long journey to the Earl's estate, Swift was informed the position had been filled. Discouraged but resourceful,
he leaned on his priestly qualifications and found work ministering to a pea-sized congregation just 20 miles outside of Dublin. For the next 10 years, he gardened, preached and worked on the house provided to him by the church. He also returned writing. His first political pamphlet was titled A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome.
In 1704, Swift anonymously released A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books. Tub, although widely popular with the masses, was harshly disapproved of by the Church of England. Ostensibly, it criticized religion, but Swift meant as a parody of pride. Nonetheless, his writings earned him a reputation in London, and when the Tories came into power in 1710, they asked him to become editor of the Examiner, their official paper. After a time, he became fully immersed in the political landscape and began writing some of the most cutting and well-known political pamphlets of the day, including The Conduct of the Allies, an attack on the Whigs. Privy to the inner circle of Tory government, Swift laid out his private thoughts and feelings in a stream of letters to his beloved Stella. They would later be published as The Journal to Stella.
When he saw that the Tories would soon fall from power, Swift returned to Ireland. In 1713, he took the post of dean at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Although he was still in contact with Esther Johnson, it is documented that he engaged in a romantic relationship with Esther Vanhomrigh (whom he called Vanessa). His courtship with her inspired his long and storied poem, "Cadenus and Vanessa." He is also rumored to have had a relationship with the celebrated beauty Anne Long.
While leading his congregation at St. Patrick's, Swift began to write what would become his best-known work. In 1726, at last finished with the manuscript, he traveled to London and benefited from the help of several friends, who anonymously published it as Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships—also known, more simply, as Gulliver's Travels. The book was an immediate success, and hasn't been out of print since it's first run. Interestingly, much of the storyline points to historical events that Swift had lived through years prior, during intense political turmoil.
Not long after the celebration of this work, Swift's longtime love, Esther Johnson, fell ill. She died in January 1728. Her life's end moved Swift to write The Death of Mrs. Johnson. Shortly after her death, a stream of Swift's other friends also died, including John Gay and John Arbuthnot.
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