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This book is written by a famous Irish poet, pamphleteer, satirist and wit of Augustan Age, best remembered for "Gulliver's Travels". "The Tale of a Tub" was Swift's first major satirical work. Queen Anne deemed it to be blasphemous and it is believed to have adversely affected Swift's chances for ecclesiastical preferment in England. The book comprises three related sketches: the Tale itself, an energetic defense of literature and religion against zealous pedantry; The Battle of the Books, a witty addition to the scholarly debate about the relative merits of ancient versus modern literature and culture; and A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit, a satire of religious fanaticism. Swift explains in the preface that the title comes from sailors tossing a tub overboard to distract a whale that might attack their ship.