Oven-Ready Children

Clare Bucknell

  • Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel by John Stubbs
    Viking, 752 pp, £19.99, November 2016, ISBN 978 0 670 92205 5

One of Jonathan Swift’s first published poems was a piece of 18 lines called ‘A Description of the Morning’. It was printed anonymously in an April 1709 edition of the Tatler, which in its original incarnation took an interest in literary criticism, history and philosophy as well as society gossip. Richard Steele, the magazine’s editor and a friend of Swift’s, puffed the poet and his work in an introduction. This new writer, he said, deserved to be read and admired because he had ‘run into a Way perfectly new, and describ’d Things exactly as they happen’.

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[*] Thomas Keymer reviewed Damrosch’s Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World in the LRB of 17 April 2014.