A Tale of a Tub

Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)

A Tale of a Tub was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697, that was eventually published in 1704. It is arguably his most difficult satire, and perhaps 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 western Christianity. A Tale was long regarded as a satire on religion itself, and has famously been attacked for that, starting with William Wotton. 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 made Swift notorious, and was widely misunderstood, especially by Queen Anne herself who mistook its purpose for profanity." "It effectively disbarred its author from proper preferment within the church," but is considered one of Swift's best allegories, even by himself. It was enormously popular, but Swift believed it damaged his prospect of advancement in the Church of England. (Summary by Wikipedia)

Genre(s): Satire

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Introduction and Preface Edmund Bloxam
Play 01 Section 1 Edmund Bloxam
Play 02 Section 2 Edmund Bloxam
Play 03 Section 3 Edmund Bloxam
Play 04 Section 4 Edmund Bloxam
Play 05 Section 5 Edmund Bloxam
Play 06 Section 6 Edmund Bloxam
Play 07 Section 7 Edmund Bloxam
Play 08 Section 8 Edmund Bloxam
Play 09 Section 9 Edmund Bloxam
Play 10 Section 10 Edmund Bloxam
Play 11 Section 11 Edmund Bloxam
Play 12 Section 12 Edmund Bloxam