The Satire of 18th Century England presented by Lilliput.

Essay by sayuriCollege, Undergraduate November 2003

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The career of Swift is one of the magnificient chapters of English literature. To understand his works we should know some important events of his life, which may have influenced him and also the political background without which Gulliver would not have been born.The life of Jonathan Swift spanned a time of significant religious and political change in England and Europe.

Both the monarchy and the absolute power of the Roman Catholic Church were in decline in the 16th and 17th centuries, during and after the European Enlightenment. On the other hand, the power of the upper middle class, in particular the banking and merchant class, was on the rise. The result was political and social instability and upheaval and endless political blickering it caused. (Kenneth Brodey, 52-54.)

In 1667, Jonathan Swift was born to an upper-class British family living in Dublin, Ireland. His father had died before he was born; his mother abandoned him and returned to England.

Swift was raised by a wealthy uncle. Having been educated at Trinity college in Dublin, Swift was given a post as secretary to a noted Whig statesman, Sir William Temple. This enables him to live in England. He was not only on the move between Ireland and England but between two political parties as well.

In 1700, Swift begins his career as a political journalist, writing in behalf of Whig and Tory causes. Swift switched parties from the Whigs to the Tories. In England the Tories were in power at that time, and the writings of Swift on their behalf earned him a place in the political spotlight.

It is probable that the idea of Gulliver came into the mind of Swift when he and his Tory fellow writers formed what later came to be known as the Scriblerus Club...