Jonathan Swift and Popular Culture Myth, Media and the Man

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Ann Kelly's provocative book breaks the mold of Swift studies. Twentieth century Swift scholars have tended to assess Jonathan Swift as a pillar of the eighteenth-century 'republic of letter', a conservative, even reactionary voice upholding classical values against the welling tide of popularization in literature. Kelly looks at Swift instead as a practical exponent of the popular and impressario of the literary image. She argues that Swift turned his back on the elite to write for a popular audience, and that he annexed scandals to his fictionalized print alter ego, creating a continual demand for works by or about this self-mythologized figure. A fascinating look at print culture, the commodification of the author, and the history of popular culture, this book should provoke lots of discussion.