Swift’s Journal to Stella

  • Virginia Woolf


In any highly civilised society disguise plays so large a part politeness is so essential, that to throw off the ceremonies and conventions and talk a ‘little language’ for one or two to understand, is as much a necessity as a breath of air in a hot room. The reserved, the powerful, the admired, have the most need of such a refuge. Swift himself found it so. The proudest of men coming home from the company of great men who praised him, of lovely women who flattered him, from intrigue and politics, put all that aside, settled himself comfortably in bed, pursed his severe lips into baby language and prattled to his ‘two monkies’, his ‘dear Sirrahs’, his ‘naughty rogues’ on the other side of the Irish Channel.


Trout Stream Violent Outburst Simple Pleasure Intense Affection Perfect Friend 
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  1. F. E. Ball (ed.) The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift (London, 1914), vol. IV, p. 167.Google Scholar
  2. A. C. Guthkelch and D. Nichol Smith (eds.), A Tale of a Tub, (Oxford, 1958), pp. 259ff.Google Scholar
  3. Temple Scott (ed.), The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. (London, 1908), vol. VIII, p. 303.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan & Co. Ltd. 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia Woolf

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