Abstract

This article examines Jonathan Swift’s use of second-person pronouns and his direct addresses to a ‘Reader’, surveying his works and closely examining passages from A Tale of a Tub and Gulliver’s Travels . Data relating to pronoun distribution across Swift’s corpus are analysed in the broader context of the historical development and eighteenth-century deployment of the pronouns. The analysis demonstrates the close interaction of these pronouns with Swift’s other modes of address to his imagined readers, and his exploitation of their surprisingly complex range of connotations. A more accurate understanding of their potential and nuance is shown to be central to a fuller perception of Swift’s satiric method, especially in those passages involving dramatic and ironic play with the notions of author, reader, and their constructed textual relationship.

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