Journal to Stella Author:Jonathan Swift When Jonathan Swift began writing the series of letter-diaries now known as the Journal to Stella on 2 September 1710, he was a forty-three-year-old Irish country parson, and little more than that. In fact Swift had to wait until the publication of Gulliver's Travels (1727) in his sixtieth year before he won real literary fame. The woman for who... more »m Swift wrote the Journal to Stella, Esther Johnson, died shortly after Gulliver appeared, and probably never knew the scale of its triumph.
Readers of these letters will find neither the guardedness of a public man, or the obstreperousness of a great literary cham. The Journal to Stella is the document of a public coup, and of an intimacy. The coup is Swift's infiltration of the highest political circles, managed despite his personal lack of wealth, influence or office. The intimacy is Swift's devoted, childish, loving, enduring, yet hesitant attachment to Stella. The journal is quite different from the grand epistles Swift would later exchange with Pope, Gay and Bolingbroke, always with the likelihood of wider circulation or piratical publication in mind. Although Swift moved very near to the centre of political power during the years it covers, 1710-1713, the Journal takes its tone from a long-established and very particular friendship. The letters are gentle, curious, flirtatious, oblique and often spectacularly silly.« less