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Title: The sentiments of a Church-of-England man : a study of Swift's politics
Author: Higgins, Ian
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1989
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This contextualist study re-examines the contested critical question of Jonathan Swift's political character. It is concerned with the historical meaning of Swift's texts and attempts to recover their original political impact. Politically-literate contemporaries claimed to read Jacobite Tory politics in Swift's texts. Rather than dismiss the judgement of Swift's contemporaries, this study asks whether there is anything about Swift's political writing in polemical context that could have led contemporaries to construe the politics of his texts as Jacobite Tory. The conclusion this study reaches is that aspects of Swift's political rhetoric are consonant with Tory and Jacobite polemic. While contesting current conceptions of Swift as a Whig, this study offers a partial revision of that scholarship which describes Swift as a non-Jacobite Tory. The thesis is based on an analysis of Swift's prose, poetry and correspondence and contemporary (mainly printed) sources books, pamphlets, poems on affairs of state and newspapers. Some new or neglected polemical contexts and analogues for Swift's works are suggested. Chapter 1 considers some of the problems and contested issues in interpretation of Swift's political biography and writing. Chapter 2 witnesses Swift's combination of High Church attitudes with a radical political critique of Whig establishment. Swift is read in juxtaposition with Jacobite Tory authors such as George Granville, Lord Lansdowne. Chapter 3 relocates A Tale of a Tub in historical context to reveal the satire's relation to High Church Tory polemical languages. Chapter 4 discusses the disaffected Tory aspect of Gulliver's Travels. Chapter 5 attempts to register the complexity of the textual evidence of Swift's attitude to Jacobitism. Detailed attention is given to his politically-revealing attitudes to the Dutch. A coda briefly describes Swift's discontent with the Revolution settlement, examines this Church-of-England Man's sentiments on the crucial ideological issue of resistance, and suggests the importance of Hugo Grotius in Swift's political thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Council ; La Trobe University. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature