Доклад опубликован в рамках III Областной научно – практической конференции учащихся на английском и немецком языках «Культурное наследие стран изучаемого языка», посвященной 350-летию Дж. Свифта, 25 февраля 2017.
Grishin Roman, Gymnasium № 6, Krasnoarmeysk
Teacher: Sychova Lydmila Kamilevna
The 19th October is a remembrance day of Jonathan Swift, the world-known writer, who surprised his contemporaries and is still surprising us with his life and books. This master writer had become famous with his satiric creations such as «A Tale Of A Tub», «Gulliver's Travels» and pamphlets, for example, the most well-known «A Modest Proposal», which exposes the worst sides of a single man and the whole mankind as well. His compositions are still topical even nowadays.
Jonathan Swift was born in Ireland, in 1667. His father had moved there with his family before the birth of his son in search of a better life. Just from the very beginning, Jonathan faced challenges and problems.
His mother went to England, while John was left in Ireland with his uncle. Rich relatives sent the boy to school at the age of four. After finishing the school in 1682, Swift went to the university, where he got a degree of philosophy bachelor and a strong hostility to science.
After that Swift himself left for England, where he was employed as a secretary of an influential grandee, Sir William Temple, who noticed his talent and let John use his great library and visit the meetings of noble people, and even helped to continue his education in Oxford, where Swift got his master degree in 1692.
The writer himself considered his stay in Temple's manor as the happiest time in his whole life, despite the difference between him and Sir William. Here Swift had talks with educated people and learnt some interesting facts about the high society life. That was a priceless experience for the future master of satire.
That was the beginning of the path of this great writer.
The story I am going to tell you had its beginning right there, in the manor. Jonathan Swift was to educate young Esther Johnson, the housekeeper's daughter. He liked his pretty and clever pupil and as the years passed by, their friendship grew into something greater. He gave his beloved a poetic name Stella which, just like Esther, means «the Star».
In the year 1699 Temple passed away, and Swift had to leave the manor. He could earn some money only in one way – he had no choice but to become a priest. He was employed in a remote Irish village of Laracore. Stella followed him.
It is interesting that in catholic Ireland Swift was an Anglican priest. While he was preaching, no one was in the church: only a guard sat in a corner, napping. He often just locked the church and left for London.
In the capital he soon became famous as an unbettered satiric. They called Swift «The Crazy Irish Pope» but soon he became an object of countless thoughts.
All those years Stella stayed in Dublin because of her bad health. Swift visited her sometimes, but, what was more important, he wrote her letters every day. After about 50 years they were published as a novel «Journal To Stella» and greatly succeeded.
I'd like to tell you a bit more about «The Journal».
Dr Williams, a fellow at St Peter's College, said: 'Swift had an intriguing life – he wrote classic and enduring satires about the religion and politics of his day, but they revealed little about his own feelings. These letters provide a window into his personal life which will fascinate anyone who likes Gulliver's Travels or A Tale of Tub.
'It is wonderful to be able to open these letters up to the general public in a new edition, and to be able to use modern technologies to reveal more of the text than has been visible before. The letters are written in a tiny, compressed hand, but now we can see more of Swift's hidden words than ever before. She added: 'Until now, scholars thought that prudish eighteenth-century editors had crossed out the most intimate parts of Swift's letters to preserve his reputation. What I have discovered is that Swift himself lightly crossed out those parts of the letters before he sent them.
I think the effect was intended to be a kind of 'now you see me, now you don't' guessing game with his reader. The woman he was writing to needed to undress the text before she could fully enjoy it. This disguising of affectionate endearments is clearly a part of a secret code of intimacy that characterizes the Journal as a whole, which uses baby language and a series of special names to emphasize the closeness between Swift and his reader.'
Dr Williams argued that the letters could only fully be understood if they are read out aloud, because Swift developed a special baby language via to address the woman. In this 'little language' he attempted to imitate the speech of small children by changing the consonants in familiar words. He writes 'I expect a Rettle vely soon; & that MD is vely werr, and so Nite dee MD' [I expect a letter very soon, and that my dears are very well, and so night dear my dear] or 'I am sorry for poo poo ppt, pray walk hen oo can.' [I am sorry for poor poor poppet, pray walk when you can].
As we can see, despite that he was a glum man, he was very gentle and loved his Star just like a boy.
Stella carefully kept all his letters, but some lines started to worry her later.
By that time Jonathan was already well-known as a man with a bright mind, so it didn't take long for a rich widow to notice him and convince to make her a favor.
A rich widow Vanhomreigh asked the famous Swift to teach her daughter whose name was by the weird confidence Esther too. She was an ardent and exalted young woman and immediately fell in love with her teacher. At first Jonathan ignored her feelings and wrote Stella about those lessons without a second thought.
Esther Vanhomreigh worshipped her teacher and, frankly speaking, Swift liked that. He considered Esther as a person with a perfect taste and a noble soul, and in addition, she was beautiful and clever. He gave her another poetic name – Vanessa. He dedicated poems to her and met her every day. But he didn't write Stella about it anymore.
Eventually Swift became frightened of the young lady's passion. He left everything behind and fled to Dublin in order to stay faithful to Stella.
It seemed that since then his life should have come back to normal. But... Young Vanessa's love was so strong that she moved to Ireland and bought a manor not far from Dublin to be closer to her idol. Swift started paying her friendly visits and she warmly greeted him. But her feelings were something more than a simple friendship.
«You say that I don't need to worry and we'll keep on meeting as often as you will be able to. I am sure that I'd have undergone a torture on the rack easier then these killing words of yours...» – the young woman wrote to Swift.
Vanessa was in a state of suspense for eight years. But when she finally knew that Swift wasn't even married to Stella, she took the risk and wrote a letter to her. She asked her to tell: what kind of relations were there between her and Jonathan?
Swift was furious when he was informed about the letter. Poor Vanessa was scared, when he breached in her house. Her idol threw the letter at the table and left with slamming the door. She understood everything.
Soon Jonathan and Stella got married. Young, rich and beautiful Esther Vanomreigh couldn't confront sick friend of Swift's youth. "He can be forgiven for everything because of all that he had sacrificed to this woman" – William Thackeray wrote. Esther-Vanessa didn't make it out from the stress. She died in a month.
Stella lived five years longer than Vanessa.
So thatis how the two women with the same name and the same endless love to Jonathan Swift influenced his life. I think that this story is really touching and looks just like a perfect plot for a drama film or a bestseller novel. If I were a writer or a film director, I would definitely write a book or make a film based on this beautiful love story.