Publication Date

Spring 2005


School of Communication


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was intellectually before his time. His insights into the human condition reveal a belief in the not-hopeless corruption of humanity. To capture this state of the human condition, he used two key symbols: wind and machine. These two symbols represent the two sides of the dialectical argument into which Swift forces his readers. What guide should direct humanity-enthusiasm and emotional stimulation (wind) or reason and "objective" systems (the machine)? Preoccupied with these two ideas, Swift uses his scatological satires to level all of humanity. Swift forces his readers onto their knees in the mud and mire and only after moving them toward repenting of all vain pride does Swift allow his audience the redemption of laughter.