MISS Online: The death of Swift’s printer John Harding

Tuesday 17th November, 2020 at 6:30pm (AEDT) on Zoom
Dr. Craig Pett, journalist and researcher
The death of Swift’s printer John Harding: new evidence that implicates Swift

John Harding, the printer of the seditious Letters written by Jonathan Swift under the pseudonym ‘M.B. Drapier’, died five months after his imprisonment in November 1724. It has been assumed that he died from jail fever, which is an assumption that consigns his death to the realm of ‘accident’ and which leaves Swift’s reputation unquestioned. This paper presents never-before-seen evidence suggesting that Harding, who had been due to appear in court, was the victim of a vicious beating ordered by the Lord Lieutenant, John Carteret, Swift’s friend, and carried out with tacit knowledge on Swift’s part. The evidence is seen by returning to the primary sources and discarding the assumption that Swift was without fear through these events. It is evidence that is clear and unmistakable and which overturns long-entrenched beliefs about the character of this canonical writer. 

Craig Pett works in the educational publishing industry, as well as an independent journalist and researcher. Craig was the runner-up in the 2018 Thawley Spectator Australia essay competition. That essay as well as two subsequent articles appeared in The Spectator Australia and can be found on his blog. One of his research areas is eighteenth-century studies, in particular the Dublin printing scene during the years of Jonathan Swift’s Irish career. Craig studied law at The University of Adelaide and practised for a few years in Adelaide before moving to Melbourne. The title of his PhD thesis was “I am no inconsiderable Shop-Keeper in this Town. Swift and his Dublin Printers of the 1720’s: Edward Waters, John Harding and Sarah Harding”.

The seminar will start at 6:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Melbourne); 8.30pm New Zealand Daylight Time (Wellington); 7:30am Greenwich Mean Time (Dublin)

For zoom details RSVP: melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com.
For queries contact: melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com or dianne.hall [at] vu.edu.au



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