The Drapier's Letters, by Jonathan Swift

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Post by OwenCook » July 30th, 2017, 7:37 pm

Many apologies if I'm not doing this right (it's my first time suggesting a book for LibriVox), but I'd really love to see us take on Jonathan Swift's Drapier's Letters. This was a series of pamphlets, mostly pseudonymously published, in which Swift condemned a scheme to flood Ireland with debased copper coinage, which all and sundry (including the Irish Parliament) feared would drive gold and silver coinage, which had real value, out of the country. The patent which made this scheme possible was obtained by purchase (bribery?) from George I's mistress with the connivance of England's unscrupulous and all-powerful prime minister, Walpole. So Swift was taking on incredibly powerful interests, braving threats of retribution (one of his letters was burnt by the public hangman and rewards offered to reveal the writer's identity), mobilizing the whole country behind his cause ... until at last he triumphed and the patent was done away with. Here we have all of Swift's legendary acid wit and keen satirical analysis directed against immediate, real-world grievances. It's these Letters that established Swift as the foremost of Irish patriot of his day.

Also see the Wikipedia article for further background.

The letters themselves are definitely in the public domain, since they were written in 1724-1725. They were first published in a collected edition in 1734, while Volume VI of Swift's Collected Works, which furnishes the Project Gutenberg text, is from 1903. Now, I believe the editor (Temple Scott) lived until 1939, in which case the footnotes, introduction, etc., should also be public domain in a Death + 70 years country, which I think is what Ireland is. (And it would really be great if Irish readers had a chance to read this work.)

Thanks for your consideration!

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Post by philchenevert » July 31st, 2017, 7:42 pm

Yes, you have done it eminently right. Thanks for the s uggestion. :thumbs:
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