Containing thirty-one lectures deliv-ered at the Fifth Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift in May 2006, this volume testifies to the broad spectrum of research interests in the Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin, and his work. The essays have been grouped in nine sections: theoretical approaches (A. C. Elias, Jr, Melinda Rabb); bio-graphical problems (W. B. Carno-chan, João Fróes); bibliographical and textual studies (James E. May, Stephen Karian, James McLaverty); A Tale of a Tub (Marcus Walsh, Allan Ingram, Frank T. Boyle); historical, religious, and political issues (Sean Connolly, Ian Higgins, Howard D. Weinbrot, Toby C. Barnard, Valerie Rumbold); poetry (Clive T. Probyn, John Irwin Fischer, Dirk F. Passmann and Hermann J. Real; James Wool-ley); Swift and Ireland (Joseph McMinn, Sabine Baltes, Sean Moore); Gulliver’s Travels (Ann C. Kelly, Serge Soupel, Clement Hawes, J. A. Downie); and Reception and Adapta-tion (Peter Sabor, Sabine Wendel, Flavio Gregory, Gabriella Hartvig, Michael Düring).
Although Swift was an avid, and adversarial, reader at all times of his life, three major reading periods stand out in his career: the first when at Trinity College the young Jonathan, tired of the curricular tedium there, began to neglect his “Academical Studyes” and “turned himself to reading History and Poetry;” the second when, as Sir William Temple’s secretary at Moor Park in the latter half of the 1690s, the newly ordained clergyman “devoted eight hours a day to the prosecution of his studies,” and the third in the early 1720s when the mature Dean having embarked on the composition of Gulliver’s Travels interspersed his masterpiece with the fruits of much reading.
At Moor Park, from January 1696 to January 1697, Swift “kept an Account one Year of the Books he read.” This ‘Account,’ a total of thirty-seven titles by thirty-six authors, survives in a transcript made by the Revd John Lyon and bound in at the beginning of Lyon’s copy of John Hawkesworth’s Life of the Revd Jonathan Swift, D.D. The authors here present a list of the identified titles in a basic bibliographical format and with descriptive labels as to language, subject, and scope. They conclude that Lyon’s ‘Account,’ allegedly a transcript of Swift’s holograph, is actually an inflated list containing titles presumably not read at Moor Park in 1697/8 but added at some later stage.