History events at the IHR

What Jonathan Swift Did in Libraries

05 March 2013, 17:30 - 19:30

Event Type: Seminar


Dr Paddy Bullard (University of Kent)


Jonathan Swift had strong opinions about the ordering, classification and preservation of books in libraries; about their value as commodities, keepsakes or gifts; and about libraries as sites of literary conflict, cultural allegiance and display. This paper examines Swift’s richly documented library catalogues, the 100-or-so books from that library that are still locatable today, and his surviving marginal annotations and abstracts. It reads this archival evidence against Swift's comments on libraries in his satirical works, most memorably in ‘A full and true account of the battle fought last Friday, between the ancient and the modern books in St. James’s library’, the second of three satires in the Tale of a Tub volume (1704), and in part 2, chapter 7 of Gulliver’s Travels (1726).

Venue: The Jessel Room (Senate House, first floor)

Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU 


Related Events: History of Libraries History