Swift and Others, accurately titled, is more a collection of essays than a monograph on Jonathan Swift. The back cover describes it as about “the impact” of Swift “and the penetration of his ideas, personality and style, on major writers of the English Augustan tradition”—a misleading characterization.

Each of the twelve chapters is provocative in its own right, and the essays are certainly strong enough to be published as a miscellany, but they do not hang together. The principal connection is methodological: the chapters all depend on the richly rewarding comparative close reading of which Claude Rawson has proved himself a master. Part 1 includes one chapter, “The Typographical Ego-Trip from ‘Dryden’ to Prufrock,” in which Rawson returns to a subject that has long preoccupied him: “the mock-editorial phenomenon” (11), particularly the importance of A Tale of a Tub to the...

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