In 1710-11, Jonathan Swift penned thirty-three issues of the Tory Examiner, the leading ministerial paper at the end of Queen Anne’s reign. This essay revisits the story of Swift’s instalment as Mr Examiner and his stepping down from that role. Scholars have argued that Swift served as Mr Examiner at the request of Robert Harley, who wanted him to moderate the paper’s High Tory tone, and that as the paper began to move back toward the political right, Harley dismissed Swift. Critics have had little to say about the pre- and post-Swift phases of The Examiner, but reading Swift’s contribution within the context of the whole enterprise raises questions about these long-standing assumptions of Harley’s management of the paper. The Examiner of later 1711-14, moreover, functions as a complement to Swift’s polemical contributions to ministerial defence and Tory unity. The notion that Harley was responsible for removing Swift turns out to seem implausible. There are excellent reasons to see The Examiner as the more radically Tory Henry St John’s project – and thus to rethink Swift’s complicated and obscure relationship with the Ministry during the last years of Queen Anne’s reign.
This new volume of Reading Swift assembles 26 lectures delivered at the Seventh Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift in June 2017, testifying to an extraordinary spectrum of research interests in the Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin, and his works. Reading Swift follows the tried and tested format of its predecessors, grouping the essays in eight sections: biographical problems; bibliographical and canonical studies; political and religious as well as philosophical, economic, and social issues; poetry; Gulliver’s Travels; and reception studies. The élan vital, which has been such a distinctive feature of Swift scholar-ship in the past thirty-five years, is continuing unabated.
Assembling thirty-five lectures delivered at the Sixth Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift in June 2011, this new volume of Reading Swift testifies to an extraordinary spectrum of research interests in the Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin, and his works. As in the successful earlier volumes, the essays have been grouped in eight sections: biographical aspects (W. B. Carnochan, John Irwin Fischer, Clive T. Probyn, Abigail Williams); bibliographical and textual studies (Ian Gadd, James E. May); A Tale of a Tub (J. A. Downie, Gregory Lynall and Marcus Walsh, Michael McKeon); historical and religious issues (Christopher J. Fauske, Christopher Fox, Ian Higgins, Ashley Marshall, Nathalie Zimpfer); Irish vistas (Sabine Baltes, Toby Barnard, Andrew Carpenter, D. W. Hayton, James Ward); poetry (Daniel Cook, Kirsten Juhas, Stephen Karian, Dirk F. Passmann and Hermann J. Real, James Woolley); Gulliver’s Travels (Barbara M. Benedict, Allan Ingram, Ann Cline Kelly, Melinda Alliker Rabb); and reception and adaptation (Gabriella Hartvig, Clement Hawes, Heinz-Joachim Müllenbrock, Tim Parnell, Peter Sabor, Nicholas Seager, Howard D. Weinbrot). Clearly, the élan vital, which has been such a distinctive feature of Swift scholarship in the past thirty years, is continuing unabated.