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Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was an Anglo-Irish writer, best remembered for his satires, including Gulliver's Travels and A Modest Proposal. Swift was also a priest of the Anglican Church of Ireland and later became Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

Swift was born on Dublin, but his father had died before the birth and so Swift was raised by an uncle. The uncle later sent Swift to Kilkenny College and Trinity College in Dublin. In 1688, Swift moved to London where he became the secretary and personal assistant to Sir William Temple, a retired diplomat.

In 1690, he fell ill with an illness that would plague him for the rest of his life, now known to have been Meniere's disease, a disorder of the inner ear. In 1702, he received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, and soon after gained a growing reputation as a writers. A political falling out with Queen Anne led to his exile to Ireland, where he began an active pamphlet-writing career that advocated many Irish causes, including A Modest Proposal (1729).

It was during this time that Swift wrote his masterpiece, Gulliver's Travels (1726). Increasing illness marked the final years of his life. He suffered a stroke in 1742, rendering him unable to speak. Many accounts claim that he suffered from insanity in his final years. He died in 1745, leaving his fortune to found St. Patrick's hospital for the mentally ill, an institution that still exists.

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