Jonathan Swift is known today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the classic satiric fantasy. But during his lifetime, Swift was famous as a major political and religious figure and as a national hero who fiercely protested English exploitation of his native Ireland.
In a discussion of his new book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, Harvard’s Leo Damrosch shows how Swift’s public version of his life — the one accepted until recently — was deliberately misleading.
Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature emeritus at Harvard. In May 2011 he spoke at the Library about his book on Alexis de Tocqueville.