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"Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin in 1667 after his father's death. He was educated at Kilkenny Grammar School and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was censured for offences against discipline and had to obtain his degree by 'special grace'.
"Swift was ordained in Ireland in 1695 and was given a prebend at St Patrick's, Dublin, where he was later made dean. An ardent pacifist who loathed cruelty, imperialism and war, he wrote many pamphlets on religion and war and during the course of frequent visits to London did much to try and improve the political situation in Ireland. The details of his daily life in London are recounted in a series of intimate letters to Esther Johnson, published as Journal to Stella. He was also very close to Esther Vanhomrigh, whom he met in 1708, and his final rupture with her in about 1723 may have hastened her death. The story of their love-affair is related in Swift's poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa'.
"Swift's masterpiece, Gulliver's Travels, appeared in 1726. It was an overnight success, but soon triggered heated debate and, to this day, it has remained extremely controversial. Gulliver's Travels was the only one of his publications for which Swift received any payment (ú200) and like much of his work, it was published anonymously.
"Throughout his life, Swift suffered from a form of vertigo and his illness became very marked in about 1738. As a result of his increasing dementia, he was declared 'of unsound mind' in 1742 and guardians were appointed to manage his affairs. He died in 1745."
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.penguin.co.uk/Penguin/Authors/587.html). Accessed 29 April 1997.
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