Jonathan Swift and Popular Culture Myth, Media and the Man
Ann Kelly's provocative book breaks the mold of Swift studies. Twentieth century Swift scholars have tended to assess Jonathan Swift as a pillar of the eighteenth-century 'republic of letter', a conservative, even reactionary voice upholding classical values against the welling tide of popularization in literature. Kelly looks at Swift instead as a practical exponent of the popular and impressario of the literary image. She argues that Swift turned his back on the elite to write for a popular audience, and that he annexed scandals to his fictionalized print alter ego, creating a continual demand for works by or about this self-mythologized figure. A fascinating look at print culture, the commodification of the author, and the history of popular culture, this book should provoke lots of discussion.