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Cuento de una barrica / A Tale of a Tub (Letras Universales) (Spanish… (1704)

por Jonathan Swift

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4941239,221 (3.19)59
Published anonymously in 1704, this prose satire by the author of Gulliver's Travels presents a story of three brothers, each symbolizing a Christian sect, and an unrelated series of digressions. The "tale" portion centers on Peter, Martin, and Jack, who respectively represent Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and other dissenting Protestant sects. Charged with maintaining their coats -- the Christian faith -- exactly as issued, the brothers immediately proceed to make alterations. Jonathan Swift's historical allegory ridicules the conflicts between religious factions, and his digressions offer ironic views of contemporary trends in literature, politics, and theology. Swift's assault on the corruption of the ancient church and the fanaticism of reformers was widely misunderstood at the time of its publication, when England's religion and government were closely linked, causing the author endless problems with churchmen and politicians alike. Acerbic in style and exuberantly witty, A Tale of a Tub remains a powerful parody that ranks among the English language's best satires.… (más)
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satire on literature and religion
  ritaer | Jul 4, 2020 |
This is an utterly brilliant satire in the English branch of the Querelle Des Anciens et Modernes.

Swift starts out with a persona who is a Modern in allegiance who appears to be writing an allegorical defense of the Church of England. His plan is to alternate chapters of the story with digressions on various topics (which is hardly unheard of; the book owes a lot to Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy). But the author is, to anticipate the terminology of Pope, a Dunce, and the book falls apart progressively as it proceeds, because the bases of the persona's methodology and views of the world do not hold together.

Swift was to reuse this model of a persona different from the author again; the Drapier's Letters, Gulliver's Travels, and "A Modest Proposal" use the same basic model to different ends. (Gulliver in particular is a Modern who cannot interpret what he sees.) Pope borrowed it occasionally, notably in the "To Augustus", but it was Swift who remained its entire master.

The Battle of the Books is a more minor work, very much on the same theme, but using mock-epic, and directly reflects Swift's defence of Sir William Temple. (It also marks the emergence of Bentley as a major butt of the Augustan satirists). ( )
  jsburbidge | Nov 2, 2019 |
When I put this on my TBR pile for 2019 I did not realize what a chore this would be. I loved A Modest Proposal for wit and humor but this early and most intense satire by Jonathan Swift was a real drag. The author is writing a satire and from what I can decern, is about Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinism. It is also intermixed with satire of critics and modernism. Yes, modernism of the 1600s. I am sure this is included in 1001 Books you must Read because Swift is surely a pioneer and probably the greatest satirist of all time. However, this is more an essay than a novel. Interspersed is the story of three brothers; Peter (catholic) Martin (Martin Luther) and Jack (John Calvin). I enjoyed those parts the most. The style that this is written in is also apart of the parody and I am sure that if I were to read this as part of college course or a learned group, there would be much to find. Mostly I found this book great for getting 40 winks. ( )
  Kristelh | Feb 17, 2019 |
In this short work the master of satire satirizes most of the important parts of eighteenth century society: religion, politics, and even writing itself. Three brothers, Peter (representing St. Peter and Catholicism), Martin (representing Martin Luther and Protestantism), and Jack (representing John Calvin and the Church of England), are left with coats and specific instructions for caring for their coats in their father's will. When following their father's instructions to the letter becomes inconvenient for them, they start to creatively interpret the will. Peter eventually becomes wealthy, and his brothers criticize him for excluding them and decide to be more faithful in following their father's instructions. Martin very carefully removes as many of the adornments he has added to his coat as he can without damaging it, then leaves the rest in order to preserve the original coat. Jack rips all of the extra adornments off but destroys the original coat in the process. Mixed in between parts of the story are a series of digressions that satirize a variety of different topics.

I found this piece to be both fun to read and hard to read at the same time. Swift's language and usage are just different enough from contemporary English that it makes him difficult to understand, and the fact that satire is often deliberately obtuse didn't help. Nevertheless, I was able to keep up with most of what he was saying, and I really appreciate Swifts's skill as the master of satire. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
250) A Tale of a Tub Jonathon Swift
★★

This is complicated story with one central story line that of 3 brothers Martin, Peter and Jack who represent the 3 major divisions of Christianity. They are given a fine coat (Christianity) each by their father (God) when he dies and instructions not to change it unless it is within the terms of his will (The Bible) as you can guess this doesnt suit young men about town and before long the will has been used to justify changing the coats our of recognition. (most of this information was provided by Wikipedia)

As if this wasnt enough for the modern reader to take in each section about the brothers is interspersed with ramblings about nearly every object under the sun, including writers, critics and book sellers.

This is apparently the first literary parody ever recorded and as such deserves its place on the list however I could happily live without having read it, at its time it was probably widely understood by the readers but I felt so removed from what Swift was trying to parody that I was slowly losing the will to live the further into the book I got.

( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
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Published anonymously in 1704, this prose satire by the author of Gulliver's Travels presents a story of three brothers, each symbolizing a Christian sect, and an unrelated series of digressions. The "tale" portion centers on Peter, Martin, and Jack, who respectively represent Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and other dissenting Protestant sects. Charged with maintaining their coats -- the Christian faith -- exactly as issued, the brothers immediately proceed to make alterations. Jonathan Swift's historical allegory ridicules the conflicts between religious factions, and his digressions offer ironic views of contemporary trends in literature, politics, and theology. Swift's assault on the corruption of the ancient church and the fanaticism of reformers was widely misunderstood at the time of its publication, when England's religion and government were closely linked, causing the author endless problems with churchmen and politicians alike. Acerbic in style and exuberantly witty, A Tale of a Tub remains a powerful parody that ranks among the English language's best satires.

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