Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Grub Street

*Grub Street. Minor district of London near the northwest edge of the old walled city in the vicinity of Moorfields. Daniel Defoe, who was a master of popular writing at the time, lived nearby, and the region became the symbol for the new commercial writing that supported writers who did not have noble patrons. Swift satirizes these writers as Grubaean Sages. Since Covent Garden, as well as the merchant centers of the city, are close by in greater London, these hack writers of Grub Street can also be attacked as prostitutes of literature, associated with the brothels in Covent Garden and as superficially commercial in their work in other ways as well. Although Swift himself created some brilliant hack writing which was very popular, he took great pride in the support he enjoyed from his noble patron Sir William Temple.

*Gresham College

*Gresham College. Educational institution located in the grand London mansion of Sir Thomas Gresham, who bequeathed the house to the city; a group of practical “Greshamists” started the scientific group that became the Royal Society of London. Partly because of its location in Gresham House and hence its commercial associations with Moorfields and with the city, the new science of the Royal Society comes under attack by Swift for its airy superficiality and its beating of the tub of self-promotion.

*Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam)

*Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam). Government lunatic asylum at Moorfields. Continuing his case for guilt by association...

(The entire section is 642 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Clark, John R. Form and Frenzy in Swift’s “Tale of a Tub.” Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1970. Focuses on the artistry of Swift’s satire, exploring A Tale of a Tub as “a work of mimetic art.” Argues that Swift carries out his satiric intent with great originality while staying within the tradition.

Harth, Phillip. Swift and Anglican Rationalism. The Religious Background of “A Tale of a Tub.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961. Rejects arguments that A Tale of a Tub has a unity that fuses the two objects of its satire, religion and learning, in one coherent whole. Learned investigation of the religious background.

Paulson, Ronald. Theme and Structure in Swift’s “Tale of a Tub.” New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1960. Emphasizes the moral import of A Tale of a Tub, stressing Swift’s penetrating insight into the nature of evil; pleads a case for Swift as an artist who gave A Tale of a Tub a “unified structure.”

Smith, Frederik N. Language and Reality in Swift’s “A Tale of a Tub.” Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1979. Finds in A Tale of a Tub two styles of language that coincide with two ways of knowing the world. Swift rejects the “intellectualized” approach in favor of the “experience-oriented.”

Swift, Jonathan. A Tale of a Tub and Other Works. Edited with an introduction by Argus Rossand and David Woolley. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Excellent, easily available paperback edition with illuminating introduction. Bibliography, chronology of A Tale of a Tub, notes, glossary, and appendices.