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275 years ago - Gulliver's inventor, Jonathan Swift, was a bitter and evil satirist
Gulliver's inventor, Jonathan Swift, was a bitter and evil satirist
With shocking comparisons, he showed his contemporaries their own idiocy and probably also exposes Trump. The notorious satirist died 275 years ago.
"People are even more repulsive than they are." This is one of the unsurpassed pointed sentences of the British-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). His four-part main work «Gullivers Reisen» (1726) is one of the classic children's books. However, deprived of their wicked satire tips. On the third trip, Gulliver meets totally crazy scientists in the country of Balnibarbi. One wants to draw sun rays from cucumbers, another wants to burn ice to gunpowder. Swift makes fun of the Royal Society Academy.
His fourth journey takes Gulliver to noble and sensible horses with the Wieher name "Houyhnhnms". They keep “yahoos”, human caricatures, as pets and work animals. Never, according to Gulliver, has he "seen such a disgusting animal." This verticalization of humans shows Swift's special talent in the synthesis of derision and fantasy. Gulliver tells his Houyhnhnms "master" about home and reads the riot act to his contemporaries. They reach deep into today. Because we humans have apparently not changed much.
About raising children against famine
Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin in 1667. He grew up fatherless. His mother left him to a nurse and later to a foster father in England - as a second-class child. The rebellious satirical genius Swift only received his bachelor's degree “by grace”. He became a country pastor in Ireland, then dean (chief pastor) in Dublin. The pastor outraged the misery in Ireland, which starved England through perfidious trade laws and usurious tariffs.
The title of his most famous satire is unsuspiciously "A modest proposal on how to prevent the children of the poor from becoming a burden on their parents or the country, and how they can rather be a benefit for the public". Swift describes the famine in Ireland in the guise of a well-meaning contemporary. He allegedly adopts the idea of a philanthropist, "that a young, healthy, well-nourished one-year-old child is a very tasty, nutritious and digestible food, regardless of whether it is steamed, roasted, baked or cooked."
Impoverished parents would become baby breeders, mothers would become human cows - that would give the best prospects of profit! Because tender children's meat is said to be far superior to piglet meat in terms of taste and therefore also economically.
Swift, an Anglican pastor by profession, once faithfully referred to the devil as the father of lies. But his students would have surpassed him. In “The Art of Political Lies” the author writes: “A political liar only needs a short memory; Depending on the various occasions that arise in each lesson, he must deviate from himself and be able to conjure up both sides of the contradiction. He forgets his lies with an unparalleled generosity and consequently contradicts himself within the next half hour. He never considered whether a proposal or an assertion was right or wrong, only whether it would be appropriate at the present moment or in the society present to agree or reject it. "
Can't you think of a prominent head of state? Trump is always lying. The Washington Post has meticulously noted over 20,000 lies since he took office. Why do people believe him? Swift: "If a lie is believed for an hour, it has served its purpose." By trying to believe Trump's lies, his followers are lying to themselves.
He lived with two women at the same time
The man with the very sharpest pen also wrote tender, playful lines for Esther Johnson, which he called "Stella". In addition, there was secretly "Vanessa", Esther No. 2 Vanhomrigh. Both would have liked to have married the handsome and famous man. He couldn't make up his mind, they say. Or was impotent or latently gay. These are such daring retrospective diagnoses. Perhaps Swift didn't want to choose between Esther and Esther? In any case, the women suffered. They died before him in 1728 and 1723. He suffered there. After Stella's death, rode a horse, pardon, Houyhnhnm, disturbed 500 miles back and forth across Ireland.
Age caught him cruelly. With severe inner ear disease, deafness and blindness, gout. A stroke left him silent for three years before his death in 1745. Early on he wrote the saying for his gravestone: "Here rests the body of Jonathan Swift, where wild bitterness can no longer tear his heart." He donated his fortune to an "insane hospital".
Jonathan Swift has been called a misanthrope. Mistake. Satirists want a better world. Swift was a moralist. With a grimace. Goethe's contemporary Johann Gottfried Herder wrote: "In the gesture of a misanthropist through cold reason he was an active friend of humanity."
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