A Tale of a Tub: The Battle of the Books; The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit, by Jonathan Swift, Edited by Frank H Ellis
Regarded as one of the two or three great prose satires in English. It was written for the most part about 1696, but was not published till 1704. The author wittily dedicated it to Prince Posterity.
Samuel Johnson, who did not like Swift, said that A Tale of a Tub exhibits a vehemence and rapidity of mind, a copiousness of images, and vivacity of diction such as he afterwards never possessed or never exerted.
And in his old age looking over the Tale, Swift called out to Mrs. Whiteway, - Good God! What a genius I had when I wrote that book! Harold Bloom says that A Tale of a Tub is one of the handful of totally original works in the language.
This new edition presents the work as an amazing comic book which puts it in a class with Rabelais' Pantagruel. Both of these works became banned books, greatly increasing the sales. In this edition for the first time the Narrator of the text is discovered to be an authentic comicpathetic character, with cropped ears, ill-cured syphilis, and suicidal impulses, waiting to be admitted to Bedlam, the new insane asylum, as a terminal patient.
This edition is also the first to recognize that the text of A Tale of a Tub is a mosaic, composed of quotations from other texts, which incidentally accounts for the necessity of many end notes.