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JONATHAN SWIFT

1667-1745
Irish

"Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest people uneasy is the best bred in the room. "

Jonathan Swift was born on 30 November 1667 in Dublin. His father, Jonathan Swift Senior, died seven months before his birth. His mother was left without private income to support her family, and therefore returned to England leaving her son with her wealthy brother-in-law.

Swift studied at Kilkenny Grammar school and then Trinity College, Dublin, where he received his B.A. and an M.A. In 1688, he moved to England to the household of Sir William Temple, where he worked as a secretary and met Esther Johnson, whom he called Stella. Unhappy in his position, he was ordained as a priest in the church of Ireland, and in 1694 he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim. Stella moved to Ireland to live near him and followed him on his travels to London. Their relationship was a constant source of gossip. According to some speculation, they were married in 1716. Stella died in 1728 and Swift kept a lock of her hair among his papers for the rest of his life.

Before the fall of the Tory government in 1714, Swift hoped that his services would be rewarded with a church appointment in England. However, Queen Anne appeared to have taken a dislike to Swift and thwarted these efforts. The best position his friends could secure for him was the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin. With the return of the Whigs, Swift's best move was to leave England and he returned to Ireland in disappointment.

From 1713 to 1742 Swift was the dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral. During this time he began writing his master piece Gulliver’s Travels and in 1726 he took the manuscript to London to be published anonymously. After publication it was an immediate success and also appeared in French, German and Dutch translation in 1727. Swift died in Dublin on 19 October 1745, and was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson's side, in accordance with his wishes.

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