The Careful Reader
The Hudson Review published an essay by Brooke Allen in their Spring 2017 issue.
"Jonathan Swift and His Times–Again," is a review of Jonathan Swift– The Reluctant Rebel by John Stubbs. Allen writes: "Stubb's primary focus seems to be on placing Swift within his historical and social context, re-creating as closely as possible the world within which he lived and worked...[He is] exhaustively insistent upon providing detail, whether or not it is truly relevant. It occurred to me that such thoroughness might stem from an uncertainty...of just how much history his readers might actually know," she continued. "Nowadays a biographer can take absolutely nothing for granted. So what is a socially conscientious biographer to do, particularly for a figure as embroiled in party politics and contemporary incident as Swift was?"
Despite this excess of detail, however, Allen maintains that "the careful reader will be indebted to Stubbs for such context, however lavish it may be...This kind of careful consideration and subtle thought comes up often enough for Stubb's book to be well worth perusing, provided the reader is truly interested in both Swift and early Augustan England."
The Hudson Review was founded in 1948 and has published work by Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Joyce Carol Oates, among many others. Howard Nemerov and Stanley Edgar Hyman, both former Bennington faculty, and Liam Rector, founder of the Bennington Writing Seminars, have also previously published work with the Review.
Allen has been a contributing writer for The Hudson Review since 1999. She is also a contributing editor for the film section.