Explorations of the Brain, Mind and Medicine in the Writings of Jonathan Swift

  • Marjorie Perlman Lorch

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) was one of the most celebrated political satirists of his age. However, embedded in his writing are numerous astute observations on the mind and brain. Today, Swift is perhaps best remembered as the literary author of Gulliver’s Travels (1726). However, to his contemporaries he was considered a leading commentator on the politics of England’s relations with Ireland, and a significant spiritual head of the Church as the Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin for over 30 years (from 1713 to the time of his death in 1745). An underlying theme that runs throughout many of his political and satirical writings (e.g. the Tale of a Tub, The Battle of the Books, The Legion Club) was an interest in madness and mental states. This chapter considers the numerous original insights and reflections on neuroscientific topics in Swift’s writings.


Eighteenth Century Primary Progressive Aphasia Lunatic Asylum Literary Author Medical Friend 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Perlman Lorch
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Languages, Linguistics and Culture, Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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