Books: The Hating Dean

SWIFT—Carl Van Doren—Viking ($3). One of the greatest writers of the language, Jonathan Swift has never had an adequate biographer. Carl Van Doren's book about him will not be the best or t he last, but it is a reminder of what a subject has been so long neglected. Critic Van Doren has not attempted an exhaustive account, writes without footnotes or scholarly impedimenta. Swift is less a narrative biography than an interpretation of character.

The human centre of Swift's life—his relations with "Stella"' and "Vanessa"'— has always been a mystery, is not cleared...

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