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June 19 , 2007

A Tale of a Tub


A Tale of a Tub was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697 and published in 1704. It is probably his most difficult satire, and possibly his most masterly. The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of "digression" and a "tale" of three brothers, each representing one of the main branches of Christianity.The "tale" presents a consistent satire of religious excess, while the digressions are a series of parodies of contemporary writing in literature, politics, theology, Biblical exegesis, and medicine. The overarching parody is of enthusiasm, pride, and credulity. At the time it was written, politics and religion were still linked very closely in England, and the religious and political aspects of the satire can often hardly be separated. The work was published anonymously, and Swift's cousin Thomas later claimed to have written it. It was enormously popular, but Swift believed it damaged his prospect of advancement in the Church of England.

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A Tale of a Tub

Though the author has written a large Dedication, yet that being addressed to a Prince whom I am never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person, besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded or thought on by any of our present writers; and I being wholly free from that slavery which booksellers usually lie under to the…

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