Master of Surprises, 1712–28

  • Ann Cline Kelly


At the beginning of the period covered by this chapter, Swift had become a notorious figure through anti-Tory propaganda published by the Whigs. The Whig Swift fascinated readers with his insouciant disregard of the proprieties expected of an Anglican priest. In a typically ambivalent and provocative move, Swift responded to Whig caricatures by styling himself as an Augustan and at the same time giving proof that the Whig canards were not exaggerated. After the Tories fell from power and Swift moved back to Ireland to occupy the Deanery of St. Patrick’s in 1714, he was virtually absent from print for almost six years. When Swift burst back on the scene around 1720, he started to plant the seeds of the stories that made him an enduring legend.


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  1. 4.
    Edmund Broadus, The Laureateship: A Study in the Office of the Poet Laureate of England, with Some Account of the Poets (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921), 62.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    [Arthur Mainwaring], The British Academy: Being a New-Erected Society For the Advancement of Wit and Learning: With Some Few Observations Upon Lt, facsimile reprint (London, 1712), 11 (included with Oldmixon, op. cit). A recent book, Ian Higgins’s Swift’s Politics: A Study in Disaffection (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), takes these Whig countercharges seriously and argues that Swift actually was a Jacobite.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 18.
    The Tryal and Condemnation of Don Prefatio d’Asaven (London, 1712), quoted in David Woolley, “‘The Author of the Examiner’ and the Whiggish Answer-Jobbers” in Swift Studies, 5 (1990), 108.Google Scholar
  4. 29.
    William Diaper, “An Imitation of the Seventeenth Epistle of the First Book of Horace, Address’d to Dr. Swift” (London, 1714) in The Complete Works of William Diaper, ed. Dorothy Broughton (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953), 92,11. 163–66.Google Scholar
  5. 32.
    See Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (New Haven, C.T., and London: Yale University Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  6. 49.
    Pat Rogers, “Notes,” Jonathan Swift, The Complete Poems, ed. Pat Rogers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 710. Patrick Delany’s “News from Parnassus” (1721), for example, dramatizes the gods’ selection of Swift as Apollo’s vice-regent on earth.Google Scholar
  7. 50.
    The poem is attributed both to Mary Barber and to Swift. It appeared in an undated quarto in Dublin and later in Mary Barber’s Poems on Several Occasions (Dublin, 1734). The issue of authorship is discussed by Oliver Ferguson, “The Authorship of ‘Appolo’s Edict,’” PMLA 70 (1955), 433–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 53.
    See An Annotated List of Gulliveriana 1721—1800, ed. and comp., Jeanne Welcher (Delmar, NY: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1988).Google Scholar
  9. 62.
    [Smedley], “The Preface,” Gulliveriana, viii–xx. The interpretation of the frontispiece is found in Hugh Ormsby-Lennon, “Classis? Under the Stage Itinerant,” Swift: The Enigmatic Dean, eds. Rudolf Freiburg, Arno Loffler, and Wolfgang Zach (Tubingen, Germany: Stauffenburg Verlag, 1998), 173–200.Google Scholar

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© Ann Cline Kelly 2002

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  • Ann Cline Kelly

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