Jonathan Swift and Adoption

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Jonathan Swift, by Charles Jervas, 1710




Swift's father died before he was born and his mother soon afterwards left him in Ireland to be raised by his uncle while she returned to England. (One version of his life states that his mother left for England when he was three months old; another says that she left when he was three or four years old, and that when he was a year old he was kidnapped by his nurse and not returned to his mother for three years.) He did not see her again until 1688.

He wrote Tales of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and most famously, Gulliver's Travels. When he died he left money for the construction of the world's first purpose-built mental hospital.


Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F.L. Cross. (London: Oxford University Press, 1957) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Dictionary of National Biography McMinn, Joseph. Jonathan Swift: A Literary Life. New edtion. (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991) (Macmillan Literary Lives) "Chronology: A Timeline of Events in the Travels, Swift's Life, and His Times." Available at: