Note: I actually read the now-defunct Oxford Authors Series version from 1984 (pictured at right), but the texts are identical….
Jonathan Swift lived from 1667-1745 and wrote a heck of a lot of dense, now-obscure work. I’m not going to lie to you and say that this wasn’t the slog that it surely was. Whether it was I who dragged this squat, ugly tome through the past seven months, or it me—is now, finally, moot. Cos it’s over, free at last, free at last!
If you ever took those period-survey English lit courses in uni, did you, too, dread those volumes, published by Norton and Riverside, that squished the whole era into one fat book with tiny margins and tinier type? Well, the Oxford Authors/Major Works series is a similar kind of pig, sporting a bit of lipstick perhaps, but with lots of bacon*/scholarly apparatus. Good, nourishing fare, if/when you hungry. But hardly appetizing.
If Leo Damrosch’s excellent, witty Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World provided the precipatative amuse-gueule for this eat-a-thon, it was John Stubbs’ exquisite Michelin-grade skills (cf. Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel) who kept me in the room, ever-returning to the endless buffet for yet still more helpings, and who made it all digestible for yours truly, an evident Mr. Creosote here.
I’d likely dine and dash, but you know me…and what’s more, the waiter just brought over that “waffer-thin-mint”, the The Complete Poems. See you in 6 months (if I don’t explode)!
*Not only are pigs perhaps smarter than my border collies, none were harmed in the making of this “review”. I won’t stop you from eating them, but. And: bacon-eating vegans, I see you!