This book explores the impacts, particularly on their writing, of the serious illnesses of Swift and Pope, alongside their respective understandings of health issues and within their period context.
Both Swift and Pope spent most of their lives suffering from serious illness, Ménière’s Disease (Swift) and Pott’s Disease (Pope). This was at a time when medical understanding of these conditions was minimal. This book examines the effects of illness on each writer’s relations with doctors, treatment, and medicine more widely, and how far and in what ways their own experiences affected their writing. The book explains the contemporary medical context and subsequent specialist knowledge of the illnesses, and places each alongside both writers’ attempts to come to terms with their suffering, not least with respect to the different forms and styles of their works. Each writer’s extensive correspondence is drawn on, as well as a range of texts.
What was the relationship between Jonathan Swift, author of Gullivers’s Travels, and his own experience of contemporary Anglo-Irish travel?
This new investigation shows how his family history, his politics, his writing life and also his mysterious relationship with two women were both predetermined by and enabled by geography. The Irish Sea made Swift into a restless and necessary traveller capable of living in the space between an imperial England and a colonised Ireland but never fully at home in any one place.