Close
Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Search
Your Shopping Basket
Total number of items: 0
Sub total: £0.00
Go to Checkout
Our Birmingham Shop
Our Bristol Shop
Animators Survival Kit

Jonathan Swift's 'secret code of intimacy' unveiled by research

31st January 2011

New analysis of intimate letters written by Jonathan Swift to two women has shed light on the private life of the Gulliver's Travels author.

Dr Abigail Williams, of the faculty of English language and literature at the University of Oxford, used digital image analysis to examine letters that the writer sent to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley.

The expert studied lines that had been crossed out and has developed a new theory as to why they were censored. Dr Williams believes that Swift himself scored through the lines, not a later censor, as a way of flirting with the two women.

'I think the effect was intended to be a kind of 'now you see me, now you don't' guessing game with his readers. The women he was writing to needed to undress the text before they could fully enjoy it,' she commented.

Dr Williams also argued that other elements of the letters, such as Swift writing in a form of baby language by changing the consonants in familiar words and giving the women nicknames, is further evidence of his use of a 'secret code of intimacy'.

Swift's notable works include A Tale of a Tub, Battle of the Books and the satire A Modest Proposal, which suggested Irish peasants could alleviate their poverty by selling their children as food for the rich.
 

Latest Blog
Tom Fort asks which Writer Best Depicted the Reality of the English Village
28/04/2017

Tom reviews some much-loved novels set in English villages and asks where we go for the most realistic depiction.

Philippa Gregory Looks Back on Thirty Years of Writing Historical Fiction
27/04/2017

Read an extract from Philippa Gregory's Foreword to the 30th anniversary edition of her first published novel, Wideacre.

Foyles' Find Your Way Through ... Depression
24/04/2017

How the tv series 13 Reasons Why and Prince Harry's revelations about his own mental health have both sparked important debates about teen wellbeing.

View all Blog Entries
Twitter
Show/Hide Tweets
© W&G Foyle Ltd