Jonathan Swift Long Fiction Analysis
It must be noted that Jonathan Swift’s “fictions” are nothing like conventional novels. They seldom detail the “adventures” of a hero or even a protagonist and never conclude with a character’s romantic achievement of goals or fulfillment of desires. Indeed, Swift is the great master of fictionalizing nonfiction. His satires always purport to be something factual, humdrum, diurnal, unimaginative: a treatise, a travel diary, an annotated edition, a laborious oration, a tendentious allegory, a puffed-out “letter to a friend.” Extremist Protestant sects condemned fiction, and “projectors” and would-be investigators in the dawning age of science extolled the prosaic, the plodding, the scholarly, the methodical, and the factual. At the same time, urban population growth and the rise of the middle class created a growing new audience, and printing presses multiplied in accordance with demand. Many “popular” and best-seller art forms flourished: sermons, true confessions, retellings (and second parts) of hot-selling tales and political harangues, news items, hearsay gossip, and science all became jumbled together for public consumption, much of which led to spates of yellow journalism. Throughout his life Swift rebelled against such indelicacies and depravities, and his satiric procedure included the extremist parody of tasteless forms—reductio ad absurdum. It was by such means that Swift secured his fame as an author.
(The entire section is 2563 words.)
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