Bertrand A. Goldgar, the John N. Bergstrom Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at Lawrence University, has been named by the Cambridge University Press as a contributing editor to a landmark new edition of the works of Jonathan Swift.
The United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Board has awarded a grant of £553,661 over five years (approximately $1.02 million) to support the compilation of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, which will be published in 15 volumes between 2006 and 2011. The multi-volume edition will be the first scholarly edition of Swift’s collected works in 40 years and, according to the Cambridge University Press, will be the first ever to provide full textual and explanatory information for Swift’s texts.
Funding from the grant will support the creation of an electronic archive of all the authoritative texts of Swift’s prose and assist the general editors, Claude Rawson (Yale University), Ian Higgins (Australian National University, Canberra), and David Womersley (University of Oxford), in the preparation of the texts for the printed edition.
The Anglo-Irish author Swift, born in Dublin in 1667, is widely acknowledged as the foremost satirist in the English language. Best known, perhaps, for his novel “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726), which was intended as a satirical indictment of human nature, Swift wrote extensively, with an array of books, political pamphlets, prose, letters and poetry to his credit.
Goldgar’s contribution to the Cambridge edition, “Swift’s English Political Writing, 1711-1714,” covers Swift’s literary engagement in the politics of early 18th-century London. Although he formerly considered himself a Whig in terms of political philosophy, Swift joined the Tories in 1710 and edited the Tory Examiner for a year. A staunch defender of the Tory party and its leadership, Swift turned his biting satire against the Whigs and their policies, producing such influential political pamphlets as “The Conduct of the Allies” (1711), “Remarks on the Barrier Treaty” (1712) and “The Public Spirit of the Whigs” (1714).
In “The Conduct of the Allies,” Swift claimed that Whig self-interest was instrumental in needlessly prolonging the War of the Spanish Succession, a charge that is said to have led to the dismissal of the commander of the anti-French alliance, British general John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough.
A member of the Lawrence University faculty since 1957, Goldgar is an internationally recognized expert on 18th-century political satire and one of the world’s leading scholars on the life and work of “Tom Jones” creator Henry Fielding.
He is the author or editor of seven books, including “The Curse of Party: Swift’s Relations with Addison and Steele” (University of Nebraska Press, 1961); “The Literary Criticism of Alexander Pope” (University of Nebraska Press, 1965); “Walpole and the Wits: The Relation of Politics to Literature, 1722-1742” (University of Nebraska Press, 1976); “Henry Fielding, The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register-Office” (Wesleyan University Press, 1988); “Miscellanies by Henry Fielding, Esq., Volume 2” (Wesleyan University Press, 1993); “Miscellanies by Henry Fielding, Esq., Volume 3: Jonathan Wild” (Wesleyan University Press, 1997); and, most recently, “The Grub Street Journal, 1730-1733” (Pickering & Chatto, 2002), a four-volume edition with introduction and annotation. He also wrote the Afterword for “Plagiarism in Early Modern England” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).