Publishing posthumous Swift: Deane Swift to Walter Scott

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Abstract

Outwardly dismissive of George Faulkner's Dublin Works (1735), Jonathan Swift seemed hopeful that his London-based booksellers, Benjamin Motte and Lawton Gilliver, would raise a monument edition of his works in his name. However, Motte died in 1738, and no plans appeared to be in place when Swift himself died seven years later. In 1755, John Hawkesworth, man of letters and member of Johnson's circle, finally superintended through the press the first of seven distinct stages of a significantly expanded edition. It included an extended biography for the first time, along with a tranche of new materials, much of which he culled from revised printings by Faulkner and others over the next quarter of a century. Deane Swift, a junior cousin of the poet, damned the Hawkesworth collection as 'the vilest that ever was yet published'. 'He must then have written either from conjecture or misinformation', he continues, 'and therefore what he wrote was many times false and sometimes ridiculous. In short, he published an edition of an Author whose writings he neither did, nor, for want of opportunities, could understand.' Thomas Sheridan the Younger, son of one of Swift's closest allies in Dublin, wrote to the bookseller William Strahan on 5 June 1784, seeking his aid in producing an improved edition: 'I have long beheld with indignation the shameful manner in which the Works of Dr. Swift have been published, which are now swelled to the enormous bulk of xxv volumes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJonathan Swift and the Eighteenth-Century Book
EditorsPaddy Bullard, James McLaverty
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter11
Pages214-230
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781139060899
ISBN (Print)9781107016262 (hbk)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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Cook, D. (2013). Publishing posthumous Swift: Deane Swift to Walter Scott. In P. Bullard, & J. McLaverty (Eds.), Jonathan Swift and the Eighteenth-Century Book (pp. 214-230). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139060899, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139060899.016