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Jonathan Swift: Poems Selected by Derek…
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Jonathan Swift: Poems Selected by Derek Mahon

by Jonathan Swift

Other authors: Derek Mahon (Editor)

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In his first poems Swift himself is genuinely baffled by the complexity of moral action. Helpless to do otherwise, he confounds his own peculiar vices with his general defense of virtue and only primitively recognizes that the resulting poems reflect his own mixed state much more powerfully than they achieve any conscious end. With maturity, however, he comes to recognise in his own mixed reactions to the world a central statement of human identity--a demonstration that, system-makers to the contrary, no moral situation can ever be simple for man. Having achieved this recognition, he is able to create a body of verse that transforms his own failures into lessons by exhibiting those failures along with the vices he attacks. In maturity, Swift grows so proficient in writing such verse that he himself seems finally to transcend the moral dilemma that his verse dramatises.

The loss of place, causes, friendships, love, and life itself become in Swift's verse occasions not for a proud and removed stoicism but rather for that triumphant act of mind by which he finds his meaning in his suffering and offers that meaning to us through his art.
  antimuzak | Oct 23, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Swiftprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mahon, DerekEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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