The JOURNAL TO STELLA consists of the letters of Jonathan Swift to Esther Johnson. Begun in 1710 and ending in 1713, they mark the long period of separation when Swift was deeply involved in the literary and political affairs of London. Esther Johnson was the woman whom Swift first knew as a child, whom he educated, whom he befriended, and with whom he fell in love. The journal is not, however, in any sense of the word a collection of love letters. The relationship of Swift and Stella was an intellectual one, and the journal is about the ideas and experiences which linked them. It is a great document of life in Augustan London, and of the early life of its author.
The letters are first of all a very detailed picture of Swift’s fortunes in the capital. He wrote of his friendships with men such as Harley and St. John, who controlled, for a brief time, the government of the nation. Swift was an adviser and friend to these men, and the journal reveals to what extent he was in their company, how deeply he enjoyed their confidence, and how much they relied on his judgment. It indicates too the exact nature of the day-to-day issues about which they consulted. The central matter was the establishment of a Tory system of government, and of this Swift has a good deal to say. Some of the events mentioned in the letters, in fact, come up in disguised form in the later GULLIVER’S TRAVELS.
Swift was one of the champions of the Tory...
(The entire section is 1493 words.)
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