Jonathan Swift

(30 November 1667 - 19 October 1745)
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Works in ECPA

alphabetical listing / listing in source editions

Source editions

  • Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745. Miscellanies in PROSE and VERSE [poems only]. London: printed for John Morphew, near Stationers Hall, 1711. [14],416p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T39454)
  • Barber, Mary, ca. 1690-1757. Poems on Several Occasions [poems only]. London: Printed for C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1734. xlviii,283,[7]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T42622; DMI 519; Foxon p. 45)
  • Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744. Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745. Bounce to Fop: An heroick epistle from a dog at Twickenham to a dog at court. By Dr. S----t. [London]: Dublin, printed, London, reprinted for T. Cooper, 1736. 11,[1]p. ; 2⁰. (ESTC T5522; Foxon B326; OTA K023014.000)

Biographical note

Jonathan Swift, the son of an English lawyer, Jonathan Swift (1640-67), and his wife Abigail, née Erick (1640-1710), was born in Dublin in 1667. He was educated at Kilkenny College and in 1682 entered Trinity College, Dublin. After graduating, he moved to England and became secretary to the retired diplomat Sir William Temple (1628-1699). The daughter of Temple's housekeeper, Esther Johnson (1681-1728), was the addressee of his "Stella" poems. Swift pursued a career as a clergyman, he obtained an MA from Oxford and a DD from Trinity College, Dublin, and held various posts in Ireland throughout his life. Swift also began editing Temple's writings after his death in 1699 and edited several volumes of his works. His anonymous early prose works and political pamphlets brought him into contact with Addison, Steele, and Ambrose Philips. Some of his early poems were published in The Tatler. He made the acquaintance of the members of the Scriblerus Club before returning to Ireland as Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, in 1714. Swift continued to visit London regularly to meet with Pope, Gay, Congreve, and others. This led to a joint publication with Pope of their Miscellanies (1727/8). Swift left England for the last time in 1727 and resumed his political and literary writing. After the death of "Stella" in 1728, and the loss of his good friends Gay and Arbuthnot in 1732 and 1735 respectively, Swift's mental health began to deteriorate. His poetic writing of this period has been regarded as voyeuristic and misanthropic. From 1741 his affairs were managed by guardians, and he was relieved of his duties in 1742. Swift died in 1745 and was buried in St. Patrick's.


DMI 2215; ODNB 26833; NCBEL 233, 1054-91; DLB 95


  • Smith, Margaret M. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Vol. III, 1700-1800 . London: Mansell, 1986-1997. Pt. 4 Sterne-Young. 15-91. Print. 4 volumes.


  • Davis, Herbert, ed. Swift. Poetical Works. London: OUP, 1967. Print.
  • Rawson, Claude and Ian Higgins, eds. The Essential Writings of Jonathan Swift. New York: Norton, 2009. Print.
  • Rogers, Pat, ed. Jonathan Swift: Complete Poems. Harmondsworth: Penguin, and New Haven: Yale UP, 1983. Print.
  • Williams, Harold, ed. The Poems of Jonathan Swift. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958 [1st ed. 1937]. Print. 3 volumes.
  • Williams, Harold, ed. The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963-5. Print. 5 volumes.
  • Woolley, David, ed. The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D.. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1999-2014. Print. 5 volumes.


  • Nokes, David. Jonathan Swift: A Hypocrite Reversed. A Critical Biography. Oxford: OUP, 1985. Print.


  • Kelly, Ann. Selected Bibliography: Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). c18 Bibliographies On-Line. Ed. Jack Lynch. Rutgers University, Newark, 14 Jul. 2000. Web. 20 Jan. 2012.

Reference works


  • Barnett, Louise K. Swift’s Poetic Worlds. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1982. Print.
  • Berwick, Donald M. The Reputation of Jonathan Swift, 1781–1882. New York: Haskell, 1965. Print.
  • Cook, Daniel. Reading Swift's Poetry. Cambridge: CUP, 2020. Print.
  • Doody, Margaret Anne. Swift among the Women. Yearbook of English Studies 18 (1988): 68-92. Print.
  • Ehrenpreis, Irvin. Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age. London: Methuen, 1962–83. Print. 3 volumes.
  • England, A. B. Energy and Order in the Poetry of Swift. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 1980. Print.
  • Fischer, John Irwin, and Donald C. Mell, eds. Contemporary Studies of Swift's Poetry. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1981. Print.
  • Jaffe, Nora Crow. The Poet Swift. Hanover, NH: UP of New England, 1977. Print.
  • Johnson, Maurice. The Sin of Wit: Jonathan Swift as a Poet. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1950. Print.
  • Mell, Donald C., ed. Pope, Swift, and Women Writers. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1996. Print.
  • Pollack, Ellen. The Poetics of Sexual Myth: Gender and Ideology in the Verse of Swift and Pope. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985. Print.
  • Rawson, Claude, ed. The Character of Swift's Satire: A Revised Focus. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1983. Print.
  • Rawson, Claude, ed. Jonathan Swift: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1994. Print.
  • Schakel, Peter J. The Poetry of Jonathan Swift. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978. Print.
  • Scouten, Arthur H., and Robert D. Hume. Pope and Swift: Text and Interpretation of Swift's Verses on his Death. Philological Quarterly 52 (1973): 204-231. Print.
  • Vickers, Brian, ed. The World of Jonathan Swift:Essays for the Tercentenary. Oxford: Blackwell, 1968. Print.
  • Vieth, David M., ed. Essential Articles for the Study of Swift’s Poetry. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1984. Print.
  • Williams, Kathleen, ed. Swift: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge, 1970. Print.
  • Woolley, James D. Swift’s Later Poems: Studies in Circumstances and Texts. New York: Garland, 1988. Print.