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SEMINAR - Swift and The Historical Content in Gullivers Travels As the text is complex and has two and half centuries of fierce criticism with regards to Swifts character and the content of the text and its meaning it has been necessary to reduce the seminar topic too a manageable section In this seminar I will be discussing one aspect of Swift and the text Gullivers Travels that of the historical content and its focus and its indirect relation to the question To what extent Swift was a critic of the EnlightenmentThe answer is a complex one as is Johnathan Swift and the text In order to make the answer more comprehensible I have broken up this seminar into two main areas of discussion under the subheadings- 1- The Historical and Biographical factors that influenced Swift in his life 2- The Historical Content and its Focus in the text 1- The Historical and Biographical factors that influenced Swift in his life Swift was born and brought up in comparative poverty in Ireland this meant that he grew up among an unstable society torn by fundamental political and religious differences His father died several months before he was born and his parents marriage had been by his own later account rather imprudent So he was brought up in modest circumstances depending on his Uncle who later paid for him to get an education Swift had direct and personal experience of revolutionary instability of a kind few of his English contemporaries would have had His father and Uncle had settled in Ireland as late as the restoration being thus among the newest most rootless of the alien English racial and religious minority The peasants life in Ireland which had a large population had a profound affect on Swift due to the severe degradation suffered and in Spencers words the savagery of the peasant commented on in View
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