The collected letters of Jonathan Swift D.D., Irish dean and celebrated author of Gulliver's Travels, have long been esteemed with the best to have emerged from eighteenth century England, an age distinguished for the excellence of its letters. In the half century from 1690 to 1740 some two hundred and thirty contemporaries, in all walks of life, thought to preserve his autographs: among them were his literary friends, his printers and publishers, politicians of the day in England and Ireland, his ecclesiastical superiors and other clergy, his friends of the nobility, and closer friends and relatives. He also diligently kept many of their replies. Together these project a marvellously animated panorama not only of his own life, but of his varied acquaintance, and the scenes of London, Dublin, and rural Ireland through a deeply interesting historical era. This entirely new edition prepared by a recognized authority presents over 1500 letters, derived from the earliest authentic texts in manuscript or print, and provides the most comprehensive commentary to date, based upon published and unpublished research of the last thirty years.
David Woolley was born in Shanghai, China, 30 August 1924, and was educated in Japan and Australia. He first read Gulliver's Travels in 1944, and has made a study ever since of the esteemed author's writings in prose and verse, in manuscript and print. An orchestral musician's itinerant life enabled him to examine firsthand this legacy of original documents in many parts of the world. He supervised publication of the Poetical Works (Oxford, 1967), edited a partial revision of volumes IV and V of the published Correspondence (Oxford, 1972), and (with Angus Ross) edited the 'Oxford Authors' Jonathan Swift (1984). He introduced Swift, Temple, and the DuCros Affair (Los Angeles, 1986), and has contributed research articles to the learned journals since 1970. In 1987 upon retirement he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Monash University, Victoria, and now lives in Perth, Western Australia.