Jonathan Swift

William Dampier – The Buccanneer who became Explorer of Australia

William Dampier – The Buccanneer who became Explorer of Australia

On September 5, 1651, British explorer and natural historian William Dampier was probably born. He was the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. He has also been described as Australia‘s first natural historian. William Dampier – From Buccaneer to Explorer William Dampier was the son of a farmer and took part in two voyages to Newfoundland and Java before joining…
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The Satirical and Discursive Poetry of Alexander Pope

The Satirical and Discursive Poetry of Alexander Pope

On May 21, 1688, English poet Alexander Pope was born. Pope is regarded as one of the greatest English poets, and the foremost poet of the early eighteenth century. He is best known for his satirical and discursive poetry, including The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, and An Essay on Criticism, as well as for his translation of Homer. “Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night; God said “Let Newton…
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The Wonderful Worlds of Jonathan Swift

The Wonderful Worlds of Jonathan Swift

On November 30, 1667, Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and cleric Jonathan Swift was born. He is probably best remembered for his satire “Gulliver’s Travels” and is regarded as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, who originally published all of his works under pseudonyms. “Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” — Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, preface…
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Benjamin Franklin and the Invention of the Lightning Rod

Benjamin Franklin and the Invention of the Lightning Rod

On June 15, 1752, Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity and invented the lightning rod through his experiments with kites. Early Years of Benjamin Frankflin As you might know for sure, Benjamin Franklin was not only an enthusiastic scientist, inventor, and author, but also one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His roots lay back in Boston, where he was born in 1706 as the son of a chandler. He was…
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John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

On April 29, 1667, Scottish physician, satirist and polymath John Arbuthnot was baptized. He is best remembered for his contributions to mathematics, his membership in the Scriblerus Club (where he inspired both Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as well as Alexander Pope), and for inventing the figure of John Bull. He published Of the Laws of Chance (1692), the first work on probability published in English, being his translation of a work by…
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