Biography of Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift is an Irish satirist writer. He is known for his works “The Journey of Gulliver”, was dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Early years

The Irish writer-satirist Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667 in Dublin, Ireland. His father, also called Jonathan Swift, was a small judicial officer. He died two months before the birth of his son. Left without income, Swift’s mother exerted all her energy to provide her newborn baby. In addition, Swift was very painful. Later it was discovered that he suffered from Meniere’s disease – a disease of the inner ear, which is accompanied by nausea and hearing impairment. In trying to give his son the best education, Swift’s mother gives it to Godwin Swift, the brother of her deceased husband, a member of the respected lawyer and judging community of Gray’s Inn. Godwin Swift sends his nephew to study at the Kilkenny Gymnasium, which was probably the best in Ireland

at that time.

However, he quickly found himself a friend in the face of William Congreve, the future poet and playwright.

At the age of 14, Swift entered a bachelor’s degree at Trinity College, Dublin University. In 1686, he received a bachelor’s degree in humanities and continued his studies to obtain a master’s degree. But in Ireland, riots broke out, and the King of Ireland, England and Scotland was soon deposed. This civil revolution was called the “Glorious Revolution” in 1688 and it prompted Swift to move to England and there to start all over again. His mother helped him get a job as a secretary with the esteemed English statesman, Sir William Temple. For 10 years, Swift worked at Mun Park in London as Temple’s assistant, carrying out assignments related to politics, and also helped with the research and publication of his own essays and memoirs.

Swift’s life in Mun Park also brought him a sign with the daughter of Temple maid, Esther Johnson, she was only 8 years old. When they first met, she was 15 years younger than Swift, but despite the age difference,

they became beloved for the rest of their days. As a child, he was her mentor and teacher, and gave her the nickname “Stella”. Upon Esther’s attainment of adulthood, they maintained a fairly close but ambiguous relationship that lasted until Johnson’s death. There was a rumor that they were married in 1716, and Swift kept all the time with a lock of hair Johnson.


During his ten years at Temple, Swift returned twice to Ireland. On a voyage in 1695, he fulfilled all the necessary requirements and accepted the Church of England. Under the influence of the Temple, he also began to write, first a short essay, and then, later, a manuscript for the book. In 1699 Temple died. Swift finishes editing and publishing his memoirs – there has been some discussion with some members of the Temple family – and then reluctantly accepts the post of secretary and chaplain of Count Berkeley. But after a long journey to the estate of Count Berkeley, Swift was informed that all positions on his post were already taken. Disheartened, but resourceful, he focused on his cleric qualifications and found work in a small community 20 miles from Dublin. The next 10 years he is engaged in gardening, preaches and watches over the house given to him by the church. He also begins to write again. His first political pamphlet was called “Discourses on Disputes and Disagreements between Athens and Rome.”

In 1704 Swift anonymously publishes the work “The Tale of the Barrel” and the pamphlet “The Battle of the Books.” “Barrel,” which became quite popular among the public, was severely condemned in the Church of England. Allegedly, he criticized religion, but in fact Swift only parodied pride. Nevertheless, his works earned him a reputation in London, and when in 1710 the Tories came to power, they asked Swift to become the editor of their conservative weekly. After some time he completely immersed himself in the political environment and began to write one of the most harsh and famous political pamphlets, including such as “Allied Behavior” and “Attack on the Whigs”. Dedicated to the inner circle of the Tory government, Swift expounds his personal thoughts and feelings in a variety of letters to his beloved Stella.

Last years

When he saw that the Tories would soon be overthrown, Swift returned to Ireland. In 1713 he was appointed dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He still maintained contact with Esther Johnson, it was also documented that he had a romantic relationship with Esther Vanhomri. Courtship for her inspired him to the long and legendary poem “Cadenus and Vanessa”. Also there were rumors that he had a relationship with the famous beauty Anna Long.

While serving in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Swift begins to work on his, later, the most famous work. In 1726, with the completion of the manuscript, he traveled to London and took advantage of the help of several friends who anonymously published his “Travels to some remote countries of the world in four parts: the composition of Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon and then a captain of several ships” – which is more known as “Gulliver’s Travels”. The book instantly became incredibly successful and did not come out of print from the very first publication. The most interesting is that most of the plot events have to do with the historical facts that Swift himself once experienced during a strong political upheaval.

But not for long it was possible to celebrate success, because Swift’s long-standing love – Esther Johnson – is seriously ill. She dies in January of 1728. Her death pushes Swift to write “The Death of Mrs. Johnson.” Soon after her death many of Swift’s close friends died, including John Gay and John Arbuthnot. Swift, who was always supported by the people around him, became completely bad.

In 1742, Swift suffered a stroke and lost the ability to speak. And on October 19, 1745, Jonathan Swift dies. He was buried next to Esther Johnson in the central nave of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.


“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”

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Biography of Jonathan Swift