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Twentieth-century Swift scholars have tended to assess Jonathan Swift as a pillar of the 18th century "republic of letter", a conservative, even reactionary, voice upholding classical values against the welling tide of popularization in literature. Anne Kelly looks at Swift instead as a practical exponent of the popular and impressario of the literary image. She argues that Swift turned his back on the elite to write for a popular audience, and that he annexed scandals to his fictionalized print alter ego, creating a continual demand for works by or about this self mythologized figure. This provocative book takes a look at print culture, the commodification of the author and the history of popular culture.
ANN CLINE KELLY has been writing on Jonathan Swift for thirty years. She is Professor of English at Howard University, and is author of Swift and the English Language (U. Penn). She also appeared in a recent documentary on Gulliver's Travels broadcast by The Discovery Channel/The Learning Channel as part of their Great Books Series.