"Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is an inexhaustibly intriguing figure in the literary and political history of England and Ireland. Best known as the author of Gulliver's Travels, he was an ordained clergyman whose enemies thought he did not believe in God. He became a legendary dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin whose ambition for church preferment in England was perpetually frustrated. For four short, intoxicating years he was the intimate of Queen Anne's chief ministers, as well as their publicist and propagandist - a "spin doctor" before the term was invented. His private life was intense and enigmatic. Two younger women, whom he called Stella and Vanessa, moved to Ireland to be close to him. He made both of them unhappy."--BOOK JACKET. "Poet, polemicist, pamphleteer, and wit, Swift is the master of shock. His furious satirical responses to the corruption and hypocrisy he saw around him in private and public life have every relevance for our own times. His black imagination, and his preoccupation with the foulness that lies beneath the thin veneer of artifice and civilization, gave a new adjective - Swiftian - to the lexicon of criticism."--BOOK JACKET. "Like his Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, Swift is a problem in perspective and scale. Victoria Glendinning has taken a literary zoom lens to illuminate this proud and intractable man. She investigates at close range the main events and relationships of Swift's life, providing a portrait set in a tapestry of controversy and paradox."--Jacket.