Viking, 752 pages, €15.40
This month marks the 350th anniversary of the birth of the Dubliner, still considered to have been one of the all-time great satirists in the English language. This exhaustive biography looks at Swift’s many works of prose and poetry but it is in its study of the man himself where Stubbs’ research captivates the most.
The writer was a hugely complex figure with an ambivalent attitude to the country of his birth. He may not have seen himself as Irish, and appears to have had little interest in the Catholic peasantry and, yet, as dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, he was a constant thorn in the side of the British establishment and would regularly turn his vicious wit in their direction.