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Thomas Keymer: Muddy Texts, 25 January 2024

Reading It Wrong: An Alternative History of Early 18th-Century Literature 
by Abigail Williams.
Princeton, 328 pp., £30, November 2023, 978 0 691 17068 8
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... to malicious attempts to incriminate their author (who gleefully collected them all). As Abigail Williams points out in her fine history of readerly misprision, Pope’s Rape of the Lock (1714) is one of the few 18th-century satires still deemed accessible enough for classroom anthologies and survey courses. But the poem also endlessly ...

Carry up your Coffee boldly

Thomas Keymer: Jonathan Swift, 17 April 2014

Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 573 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 16499 2
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Parodies, Hoaxes, Mock Treatises: ‘Polite Conversation’, ‘Directions to Servants’ and Other Works 
by Jonathan Swift, edited by Valerie Rumbold.
Cambridge, 821 pp., £85, July 2013, 978 0 521 84326 3
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Journal to Stella: Letters to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, 1710-13 
by Jonathan Swift, edited by Abigail Williams.
Cambridge, 800 pp., £85, December 2013, 978 0 521 84166 5
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... coolly wrote) ‘a driveller and a show’. Journal to Stella, now in focus as never before in Abigail Williams’s magisterial edition, is a title first given decades later to Swift’s letters to Esther Johnson; the title stuck, typecasting the correspondence as an intensely private piece of romantic intrigue. Yet most of the letters were also ...

Salem’s Lot

Leslie Wilson, 23 March 1995

... The Crucible. It began when the minister’s nine-year-old daughter, Betty Parris, and her cousin, Abigail Williams, complained that they were being tormented by invisible beings. Three local women, convicted of bewitching them, named other witches; then more girls – as well as adults of both sexes – accused their neighbours of conspiring with the ...

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