Cadenus and Vanessa: The Self-Conscious Muse

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Readers have always viewed Cadenus and Uinessa as an uncomfortable poem.
    Much of the unease surrounding the text, even now, concerns the ten-line passage in which the speaker ever so coyly hints at the sexual union of Swift and Esther Vanhomrigh: "But what Success Uinessa met, / Is to the World a Secret yet." Lord Orrery, among others, interpreted this as an attack on Esther's honour, whereas more recent critics have dismissed it as a non-conclusion. This essay revisits the textual, critical, and emotional issues long associated with the passage. In particular, it suggests that Swift attempts to deconstruct the inefficacy of conventional love-language and, in its place, outlines a fortifed rhetoric of friendship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReading Swift
    Subtitle of host publication Papers from the Sixth Münster Symposium on Swift
    EditorsKirsten Juhas, Hermann J. Real, Sandra Simon
    Place of PublicationMunich
    PublisherWilliam Fink
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Print)9783770554300
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


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