Jonathan Swift
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Jonathan Swift

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Born in 1667, Jonathan Swift was an Irish writer and cleric, best known for his works Gulliver s Travels, A Modest Proposal, and A Journal to Stella, amongst many others. Educated at Trinity College in Dublin, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity in February 1702, and eventually became Dean of St. Patrick s Cathedral in Dublin. Publishing under the names of Lemeul Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, and M. B. Drapier, Swift was a prolific writer who, in addition to his prose works, composed poetry, essays, and political pamphlets for both the Whigs and the Tories, and is considered to be one of the foremost English-language satirists, mastering both the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. Swift died in 1745, leaving the bulk of his fortune to found St. Patrick s Hospital for Imbeciles, a hospital for the mentally ill, which continues to operate as a psychiatric hospital today. Jonathan Swift(1667 1745), a poet, satirist, and clergyman, published many satirical works, among them A Modest Proposal. Robert DeMaria, Jr. is Henry Noble McCracken Professor of English at Vassar College. He has published widely on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature.
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Featured Article: The top 100 classics of all time


Before we whipped out our old high school syllabi and dug deep into our libraries to start selecting contenders for this list, we first had to answer the question, "How do we define a classic?" The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might guess, though there’s a lot to be said for the old adage, "You know it when you see it" (or, in this case, hear it). Of course, most critically, each of our picks had to be fabulous in audio. So dust off your aspirational listening list—we have some amazing additions you don’t want to miss.

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