Wednesday 3 February 2010

Swift Wit

Jonathan Swift was perhaps the greatest satirist who ever lived-I love him to bits! Here are just a few of my favourite quotations:

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

It is useless to try to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

There is nothing in this world constant but inconstancy

I first read Gulliver’s Travels in a bowdlerised children’s version when I was about seven years old. It wasn’t until I was at school that I read the full version, and –oh, my – what a revelation that was, how biting the satire, how uncompromising in its bleak and pessimistic view of humanity. He wields irony and humour in the way that some people wield weapons, cutting to the heart of things with the sharpest of thrusts. In the English language he has few equals.


  1. Another writer who is a class all of his own. I read Gulliver's Travels as a child as well before the real thing in a bowdlerized illustrated giant hardback for kids. He shared a close and enduring friendship with one Alexander Pope. The letters between (not the mention the poems) are a delight to peruse.