The Tolerance Project: A MFA

The Tolerance Project Archive homepage

The Tolerance Project Donors

Sandra Alland

Gary Barwin

Emily Beall

Joel Bettridge

Greg Betts

Christian Bök

Jules Boykoff

Di Brandt

Laynie Browne & Jacob Davidson

Kathy Caldwell

Angela Carr

Abigail Child

George Elliott Clarke

Stephen Collis

Jen Currin

Moyra Davey

Anonymous Donor

Thom Donovan

Sarah Dowling

Marcella Durand

Kate Eichhorn

Laura Elrick

Jennifer Firestone

Rob Fitterman

Jenna Freedman

Dina Georgis

Barbara Godard

Nada Gordon

Kate Greenstreet

Rob Halpern & Nonsite Collective

Lyn Hejinian

Susan Holbrook

Catherine Hunter

Jeff T. Johnson

Reena Katz

Bill Kennedy

Kevin Killian

Rachel Levitsky

Dana Teen Lomax

Dorothy Trujillo Lusk

Jill Magi

Nicole Markotic

Dawn Lundy Martin

Steve McCaffery

Erica Meiners

Heather Milne

K. Silem Mohammad

Anna Moschovakis

Erín Moure

Akilah Oliver

Jena Osman

Bob Perelman

Tim Peterson

Vanessa Place

Kristin Prevallet

Arlo Quint

Rob Read

Evelyn Reilly

Lisa Robertson

Kit Robinson

Kim Rosenfield

Paul Russell

Trish Salah

Jenny Sampirisi

Heidi Schaefer

Susan Schultz

Jordan Scott

Evie Shockley

Jason Simon

Cheryl Sourkes

Juliana Spahr

Christine Stewart

John Stout

Catriona Strang

Chris Stroffolino

Michelle Taransky

Anne Tardos

Sharon Thesen

Lola Lemire Tostevin

Aaron Tucker

Nicolas Veroli

Fred Wah

Betsy Warland

Darren Wershler

Rita Wong

Rachel Zolf

Office of Institutional Research

Communications & External Affairs

Emily Beall

Beall This poetic trace was used in:
Poem 4: Bissextile
Poem 10: The Policy on the Free Exchange of Ideas
Poem 20: done
Poem 34: Homophobic poseur buffoon +
narcissistic geometrical zip = nurture

Poem 35: Learning machines
Poem 38: "Child soldier"
Poem 39: A tongue listens to a war


the early history of the phonebook

from phonebook
Emily Beall

noodles, badges, junk. does the telephone make men more active or more lazy? the sob story of two generations, static materialized as either bell jars or leaky boots. disrepair, marginalia, torn hymnals—such evidence accrued despite the best efforts of lacy aprons. out on the town, home again, break the seal not for jam but for sand.


the preamble declared inventions indifferent. on course by other standards, men who master devices promote weakness. watery knees and ill-fit slippers, the air of mildew accrues among houses. each extension diminishes possibility, like hoarding rags in closet corners. who sees fit to weave will prove a disingenuous savior, strung up at will along lines and posts.


when moral education reaches equilibrium with material invention, the boll weevil will curl up in the boll and the nickel will drop in the slot. most days pasty convention flips rapidly through the pages, trading breeze for buccaneers. but when young organizers realize things, tacky holes will bore into books, leaving behind an afterimage of value.


war shortages unleash consumption, hampering labor unrest and demobilized communication. for example, Bell Canada for the first time, just to meet the man. with others, carrying capacity extends to follow the party line. at eight, at ten, many gatherings are a sequence of overhearing and near-misses. total call from seven minutes in twenty to one in twenty-nine.


a flamboyant unveiling, appropriate to the late theater of science. theater of gathering, theater of moist conduction, there at the noise-maker. in Quebec, the audience of bishops and priests cross over Quebec. thou art so near and yet so far! here’s glow, throws gust: stood up singing back into the box.


practice leads novel uses by today’s standards. novelized entrepreneurs promote novelties: long-distance healing, weather scores, get the boats out. two canals of chance dictate water tables in rural areas. linger for the lullaby until the trains arrive, at which point all lead candidates disperse.


businessmen first and most often. multiplication of power, man of the hour, he telephones himself against time. delicately a sixth-sense creeps in, fanning psychological moments and competitors alike. disappeared are the shady entrails of intuition and the aspirated note of compassion. above the board, order and emergency increase simultaneously.


through circulars, through ads, through notices on directories, subscribers instruct operation and metaphor. advising deftly and sparing no use of dial holes, the conversation manifests curtly on all levels. such material infrastructure speaks of saturation by rain and handshake, intoned directly into the receiver with the waxed moustache safely aside.


fairly against the ear with an upward motion, the lobe snuggles comfortably into the cavity. as a cushion against ulterior sounds, others caution prompt cranks. receiving mechanical instruction can lead to legal action if abusers edit the Golden Rule. profanity caught in the junction, direct chastisement arrives only to unravel precision and chafe tongues.


appropriating script conversations, the vulgarity “hello” was turned inside out for a moniker. thus “hello-girls” dangle shiny teeth and leg plugs in unison. such operations raise less subtle questions: which caller signals an end becomes the etiquette of the “second sex,” while the former breaches eavesdropping to preserve current. reasons of privacy belie open connections: when the ring comes, everyone in the community takes down the receiver.


tinkerers build illegal lines while farmers experiment with a barbed-wire system. daughters motivate daytime operations, shuttling back and forth between the nearest gown. inferior breakdowns obviate postponement and buffer poor sounds. servicing frequent complaints, even banjo-playing can monopolize town fines. check the interminable length of bumptiousness and exaggeration, currents literally running along metallic fences.


the next best thing to personal contact, atmospheric techniques focus on consequence. the stove won’t cook while the signs shift. subscribe to distances of thought and relatives only to discover the true worth of a ghost. Your Voice Is You if and only if your friends seek out your name in the directories.

from telegraph to supplant. language reveals its ancestry: measured in message units, propositions surprise. communiqués call for context denying “visiting” as trivialization. the psychological effects of frivolous conversation repress sociability—or so goes the page of telegraphy. for the most part did not fit understanding of dissident laundrymen. reflecting women, social mindedness perceives plausible comment despite the alarm of decades.



Tale of a Tub Publication History

Oxford DNB 1696--Although there is no mention of its gestation this is the place and the period, in the second half of 1696, during which his first book, A Tale of a Tub, was conceived and written, notably the allegory of the three brothers representing Roman Catholicism (Peter), Calvinism (Jack), and Anglicanism (Martin), as well as the attacks on ‘Moderns’ in philosophy, science, and textual scholarship in the five ‘digressions’
--apology dated June 3 1709

Teernick—May 10, 1704; fifth edition w/apology & notes 1710

1704—published anonymously in a volume
1705—fourth edition
1710—with apology and notes


1708 Author Unknown
The Ladies Diary: Or, the Womens Almanack, For the Year of our Lord, 1708. Being
Bissextile, or Leap-Year, Containing many Delightful and Entertaining Particulars, peculiarly adapted for the Use and Diversion of The FAIR-SEX. Being the Fifth Almanack ever Publish’d of that kind.

Title page:
--features playing-card like portrait of Queen Anne—four-part poem in her honor,
moving counterclockwise around the portrait. Anne conquers and unites—she brings us Union, Love, and Peace.

A Letter to the Author & Advertisement:
--first, letter: as a mode of advertisement. Geographical “paradoxes” from a “Sir,”
which J. Tipper promises to explain how “All these Particulars are very true”
--Advertisement: Theory of Navigation explained (easy) and with tables (reference)
--Advertisement: “Artificial Teeth” which you can’t tell aren’t real, help in speech &
looks too, long wearing

The Almanack Explained:
--Almanack or “Kalendar” 12pgs. Top—month, year, #of days
--then the age and quarters of the moon
--“Body of the Almanack properly so called in Three Columns:” days of month, letters
of week, useful particulars for each day of the month when they happen
--Particulars include: the times of marriage; difference of time between clock &
sundial—“The reason of this is known to them who understand Astronomy” ; “the First
and Second Lessons, or Chapters of the Bible that are to be read on each day” are added for the use of the Ladies of the Church of England

The Ptolemaick System of the Universe / The Copernican System of the Universe
--“before I proceed, it will not be amiss to explain the System of the Universe.
--lays out basics of each; goes on to talk about whats been seen through the telescope; personifies the planets as gentry; educational asides (Galileo who invented the telescope)
--useful facts such as period of each’s revolution; sun & his spots—funny, like covering
pimples—should women do this too?—on to Venus, of course
(Body of the Almanack)
--pretty much just as he says—marriage, morning & evening prayers
--headed by moon phases, bottom religious holidays—visual balance here, God w/this
other kind if divining
--holidays seem to have particular emphasis on prosteletisers; occasional mention of
--also, specific mentions of Queens Anne & Elizabeth—when they became Queen

(Reference page after Body)
--symbols of planets and “The Characters of the 12 signs”; marriage; four terms;
eclipses—doesn’t say much other than when & how visible

Receipts of Cookery, &c. (!)
--later called “Receipts of Cookery and Sawces
--meats, pies, and sweets

Beautifying Waters, Perfumes, &c.
--follows immediate after sauces, w/no break
--“A most excellent Wash, which takes away Spots, and wonderfully whitens the Hands
and Face”

The Second Part
--will get: the continued story of an unfortunate Courtier; how to protect yourself from
attacking Gallants; math questions & enigmas from last year explained; five more enigmas to be explained next year; the authors method of teaching math…&c.
--the story of “Cleanthes”, continued from author’s “Diary of 1705: many misfortunes
came before, lost two mistresses; a Gentleman but with a “roving Fancy”; he would “Imitating and Practicing in private before hand, what he designed afterward to undertake”; “he was resolved to wage an everlasting War against them” (that is the fair sex) because of what happened to him
--“with the Assistance of a Friend in the Peak, he thus Burlesques that Sacred Rite”
--intrigue more & more!—the poetry throws the gauntlet; the woman plots back—maid
goes and plants a story of infidelity found out—works, Cleanthes takes the bait & goes to
practice—gives up his hatred of women all at once
--his misfortunes have to do with his practicing; what happens next must wait till next

(Directions for the Education of Young Ladies)
--last time younger, had a book, daughters, now ladies at time of courtship
--addresses the “Hardship the fair Virgin is reduced to” –and does it in verse!
acknowledges inequality—verse: give women more freedom, or men less
--next goes on to lay out the “cunning Artifices which Designing Men take”
Wit & Beauty—offers typical verse, says its aimed at your “Weak-part.” makes you listen—but then makes you prey to the argument that beauty fades & carpe diem; acknowledges that “Nothing is more sure, than that Beauty is decayed by Time” but then why should it also be “sully’d by Dishonour?”
Gifts: softens w/gifts, then goes in for the kill w/huge flattery—including verses of such & his response to her reading of verse or a novel; also story of Attlanatia & the golden apples

(Math & Engimas)
--last year two math problems, one was falsey printed; last year four Engimas; gives
answers, says the answers to these new ones won’t be printed till next year
--lists who figured out the last enigmas
--says he’s accepting enigmas but only if you first discharge the postage!
--Arithmetecial questions, 1-5, 2-5 in verse!
--enigmas mostly to do w/natural phenomenon—wind & fire, etc

(Two last ads)
--author’s method for teaching mathematics; not just the book but tutor; music &
merchants accounts can be taught too
--art of reading; dictionary; herbal of physical plants; epigrams of Martial; weatherglasses
& spectacles of all kinds

1708 Partridge
Merlinus Liberatus: Being an Almanack for the Year of our Blessed Saviour’s Incarnation
1708 And from the Creation of his World, according to the best of Prophane History, 5657. But by the Account of Holy Scriptures, 5670…

Title Page:
Establishes hierarch of knowledge
--begins w/Latinized “merlinus liberatus” free Merlin?
--date by “Prophane” then “Holy” histories—setting the two at odds, while
ostensibly favoring the holy by putting it second, as final authority
--establishing social context: relation to “Popery & Arbitrary Gov’t” as freed from, by the King; relation to “Jacobite Plot”
Performing the necessities before getting to the sensational—sensational as “the filler material”: “Things fitting for such a Work” including planets, “a nativity of a violent death”
--Latitude & longitude of London; specific, chart-like; then the astrologer’s
location—he’s a “student” who can be sought out
Already an ambivalence—bible yet secular; gov’t yet religion; student yet authority; global yet local; factual yet storied

A catalogue of possibilities
--advertising medicine: mostly x & y, but also—long, long list, comes with
directions & therefore expertise; capacious yet gestures at specific
--for wholesale, not a sham, kindly provide you w/requested quantity
--advertising book about medicine, “the country physician” it’s a “collection” and
a “cabinet”—an anthology or assortment, a reference? tripartite— medicaments, observations, preparations; get it where author’s other books are sold
heterogeneous seems to be the norm; seems like the writers/sellers can’t be sure of their “target audience” so they cast a wide net; also more variety more likely to be useful ‘all the time’ or across a range of scenarios

Sunrise Chart:

Table of Kings:
Name, beginning of reign, length of reign, then 3 heroic couplets extolling the greatness of English kings over French
--already a heterogeneous page: heading; two-column page; each column has
three categories; footer with poetry

A General Tide-Table:
with instructions; with holidays—table on top; text w/instructions; table on bottom

A Table of the Terms and their Returns for the Year 1708:

Begin Monthly Almanack
Heterogeneous Page-Pattern
Full-page heading—“Month name” hath “XXX” days
Six lines of verse along very top; far right side of that verse two short columns
first page of month, columns only—ten—below heading & verse;
left third below heading/verse—six columns
right third below heading/verse—“monthly observations” text

On the Glorious Union of the Two Kingdoms by way of Introduction:
Begins with a full page of verse before months; runs along top of months six lines at a time, closing with December.
ambivalent wresting of the religious narrative into some more nature-based spiritualism—or is it the nature being wrested into the religion?
--Union of God & Nature
--“All Things agreed, agreed to make it great” thing—objects & issues, interesting
etymology (see OED)
--Bringing together of God & Nature like Anne’s brining together of two kingdoms
“Twas their being parted made the Borders bleed,
But holy Island did it, not the Tweed.”
I think this is a joke about Scottish wool?
--Nation: “Nation is all but Cant, the honest Man
Under each Elevation’s still the same.
Orion in the South doth not appear
To be more Glorious than the Northern Bear”
So, Nation is just a human division—doesn’t determen the goodness of the individual—nor does location, ala Orion vs. Ursula Major, different but not better/worse
***interesting path here: from Nation, to God, to the ‘Heavens’/material of divination
--Then, going back to a Milton-esque creation story, of the primordial goo—defined as lack of reason & lack of differentiated matter (fire, air, earth water), so again highlighting the divinical in the religious narrative “There like an Embrio their full Time they stay”
--Order still created by God’s word, and ostensibly God still has control over all senses of
fate—but it seems like they can kind of ‘get away’ if they want to
“Wish not for Greatness, nor lewd Fortune court,
She’ll play the Jilt, and thou will curse her for’t.”
“God he’s the Workman, we the Potters Clay.
Heav’n is his Throne, whence comes his just decrees
Of Fate, Chance, Providence, or what you please:
And what we Mortals Hate, or fondly Love,
Or Fear, depends on Providence above.”
--Then, further differentiation that lets these forces seem to get away
“The unseen Hand strikes hard upon our Will,
And moves our Appetites to Good or Ill.
If Ill, then certainly is our own
Fate throws the Dice, each Lot by Heaven’s sent,
Which neither Skill nor Prudence can prevent.”
So, fate does the choosing, then god does the delivery? We can’t prevent any of it, but especially if its bad—then it seems to be both the ‘lot’ itself and the individual’s fault
*** the metonymy makes it slippery!! so does the generalizing/naming
--Weather: fate is like weather
we get what we need when we need it, from God, so don’t try to hard to control
this stuff; and it’s all good
--But then metaphor breaks down: fate can be fickle, and the Titans of weather can “Raiseth new Ferments and destroys the old”—so then weather seems to start to
overpower God’s reason
--Then “I” comes in: we have free will, but our passions can upset the balance between
fate and will—argument has gotten really convoluted by this point—nothing comes in the stead of the metaphor to organize the argument, just a medley of different forces and different potential relationships between these forces and people
“Our Will (they say) is free; if so ‘twill do:
But where strong Passions sway, ‘twill not hold true.
All my Misfortunes then impute to me,
‘Cause I create the Mischiefs I forsee.”
our “will” is free—but it can’t be too free or else trouble
--CRUX: beginning with August
a. reality doesn’t live up to perception
b. how do we solve the contradiction of free will & God’s role
“If by Free Will in our own ways we move,
How are we bounded by that Power above”
c. weather & sun take on more power, the equinox and the rains seem to gain a
logic of their own
d. to say we’re free and can measure/calculate all is foolish;
our passions are driven by fate, too—so total Free Will is out
f. but can’t go to far: to say all is chance is to “injure the power of the deity”;
God moves the will
g. planets are far away, we only peep at them; similarly, we can only peep our
fate? we’re forced to draw lots of chance
h. so by the end of life, you have to think about what you had and wanted
i. God is Fate’s “elder brother”
j. ends w/restating of paradox: if there’s no fate, then there’s nothing to foresee
but if there is fate, then you can’t avoid it
At best, this verse is a series of cutesie mix & match of myths posing as a logical intellectual query; “about” the integration of God & Nature, staging the debate of ‘what is the use of predicting’ but goes around the myths w/o finding any resolve of the paradox


larger observations here
--heading: January hath XXXI days, etc
--first page of month’s chart: M.D=month day; WD=week day, designated by
a/b/c/d/e/f/g; Remark-able Days; Moon rise & set; five columns of numbers & symbols—planets in constellations?WHAT DO THESE MEAN?; weather
--second page of month’s chart: same heading & poem lines;
left side of page—“Lunar Aspects” 7 columns w/symbols—WHAT DO THESE MEAN?; right side of page—“Monthly Observations”

Monthly Observations:
seem to be spinning a tale of Peace & the State; text intermittent with moon phases
--“strange kind of Rays to make Peace upon”—speaking in general terms: some will
loose offices, others will be confined with danger to their lives, in more Eastern parts of Europe
--Feb: resolutions about peace, sending out ambassadors; Spain in sorry shape this month
--March: probably no peace, speaking w/more congenial voice “in truth,” “allow’d by
all, that great variety of Actions doth usually happen in the world, when there shall be two eclipses in a Month”
--April: Londoners get sick; priesthood abroad “at a variance”; commotions from Ireland
and about Africa
--May: Planets move so that soldiers begin to move; more peace talk; more religious foment among those who have none; changes among “Great Men” especially in England
Begging to get a bit repetitive at this point: the thread of peace; the thread of religious controversy elsewhere, which seems to echo recent religious controversy in England; state of the empire a concern—go concentrically out from England to continent to colonies
--June: Weather’s weird; generally prosperous then suddenly not; General peace at hand
--July: lying let loose!—authors punished;
--August: distemper again; meetings of enemies to the government
--September: a mischievious time: casualties & untoward accidents; no just England but
all countries
--October: some skirmish or other—implied general weirdness after eclipses; “something
very remarkable.” “Scribling and Lying are become Faculties of Profit and Credit; yet some of those Virtuose are catcht and rewarded. Those things of what sort soever now in use and practice, are mighty popular and barefac’d.”
--November: “It is the Nature of h to poison the Judgment and Understanding of the common People; and this he will do now.” Plus prosperity in Jamaica—famous land for breeding Christians!
--December: “Great Contests and Animolities in the Courts and Councils of Princes;
especially in the Empire”; ends with more ads! for “The History of Genesis” and “The
Art of Memory”
SO: year ends in uncertainty for the courts & empires—not so much a story about the year but a constant recapitulation of several themes which seem to be most certainly “of interest” to the readers—state of Country, Empire, Religion, & common people; definitely seems to court one’s need to buy another almanack at the end of the year.

A Table of Interest at 6 per Cent.:

A General Judgment on the Four Quarters of the Year 1708. Together with the Eclipses of the Sun and Moon in that time; with other Things.:
--debate about fate, again: sone lodge it in the stars; others lay its foundation in nature;;
others make it a part of the providence of God—let Cicero and Gratippus resolve it. Cicero talks of physical causes, Gratippus of the cycle of empires.
--author goes on to ask how to reconcile the fatists w/the antifateists—but seems like C & G’s discourses are pro fatists—where’s the other side of the debate?
--then talks of spirits appearing to people, and people with the “second site” (especially Scots it would seem)
--on to four quarters of year: winter bad—break it down specifically to country, goes on about illness & violence; spring—better, not war, but differences between “Noblemen and the Boors,” between “Neighbour and Neighbour”, especially in places where Nobility still claims a place in the governanace; summer quarter—some debate about other authors of whose method he’s not satisfied, thus devisies his own in order to say peace will arrive, goes to Issah as his source;
--Eclipses: just details of when & how & if they can be seen—last one could have bad
effects, two in one month, but also depends on other astral things in the month
--A word or two of the Division of the Heavens: his mathematical justification for his
--present an “Experiment of an Unfortunate Man” / “Merry Story of a Conjurer”
can the readers decipher this? as if they can understand the ramifications of the chart & its different implications; the merry conjurer is an example of don’t trust certain diviners but do trust me—marking the borders of whats absurd or unbelieveable***
--And finally more Advertisements—mostly medicines & services, one rustic dictionary

End of January 1708 Swift
Esquire Bickerstaff’s Most strange and wonderful Predicitons For the Year 1708.

--Title page: lists out deaths w/exact dates. “several most surprising Accidents shall
certainly come to pass” Partridge will die. August victory at Flanders—1,000 bonfires in London (seems ominous). Later Paris burns and mischief done in Barth-fair by the tumbling down of a booth… Awesome. Sarcastic. Absurd.
--Text: not the Art but the Impostors of Astrology the problem; don’t dispel the
principles, just the authors “Nonsense, Lyes, Folly, and Impertienence”; its OK for wise men to scorn; but what’s bad is when “Gentlemen in the Country” who could be serving in parliament pour in Partridge’s Almanack.
--he’s going to publish a rational defense, but not yet. bragging: waited to publish till he was sure and till others of the year had come out; proof of his accuracy; not revealing anything of state (would be dangerous to his person!)…
--These dudes are not only “Astrologers, but Conjurers too”—because they can’t understand common grammar or syntax! Speak so generally and with common sense they have to hit on something. When something matches they get credit, when something doesn’t they’re still not discredited; example of King William—prayed for long after he died at the beginning of a year.
--Pills and Drinks for diseases have nothing to do with astrology, nor do quarrels of verse and prose of whigs and tories
--“beg the Reader will compare their Manner with mine” that is other almanacks—to be
read off of these others
--as for “fate”—planets include but do not force, gives him an out
--first, Partridge will die!
--lots of deaths in April
--“very surprising event” “Buffoon of the Play house will die of a ridiculous Death”
--prophets die
--lots of bad to France—people dying, fire in suburbs
--“I see,” “I hear” shallow version of rhetoric of prophesy
--again apologizes for not speaking of more “particularity of Affairs at home, or of the Success of our Armies abroad”—only specific about sensational and tragic—leaves out war & state—this choice of content is a dig
--Scribbling is the constant backdrop: “And I believe no Gentelman, who Reads this Paper, will look upon it to be of the same Last or Mould with the common Scribles that are every Day hawk’d about”
--this goes back to the revolution—a Astronomer Captain H assured a Man of Quality that there’d be a revolution in 1688—this man wouldn’t believe astronomy unless this happened, it did—a turning point for the author, who has followed “eighteen years diligent study”
--finally: next year he’ll publish, in latin for Holland, need be

Feb 1708 Probably Partridge
Mr. Partrdige’s ANSWER to Esquire Bickerstaff’s Strange and Wonderful Predictions for the year 1708.

--typography: emphasis on Answer, diminution of “strange and wonderful”
--awesome little quatrain—he’s a fox, a nave, a liar who creates shams—but the public/buyer is implicated if he believes them!
--throughout seems to catch the logos but not the affect: understands his line of ‘reasoning’, but takes the assertions as if they’re serious. by making too explicit what’s implied in a joke, he ends up affirming that he’s an object of ridicule/putting the joke on himself! constantly takes the bait—obviously these things are absurd; but to take them seriously makes Partridge absurd
--Bickerstaff a strumpet and a cuckold—feminized and humiliated via gender/class
--quotes Bickerstaff on his own death
--metaphorics of death—Bickerstaff is beating & strangling these ppl in predicting their
deaths, like he’s actually killing them
--Bickerstaff “has made himself liable to the same Scandal” of blaming prophets for their deceipt. now that’s ironic.
--food metaphorics—sup on death, conjured w/his own noodle, chokes a king
--one odd retort: a booth collapses. this is mean of him because business will suffer.
--wraps the whole things up w/a couplet saying when I’m still alive, you’ll know he’s a liar

1708 (month?) Swift
A Continuation of the Prdictions For the Remaining Part of the Year 1708. From the Month of September, till the Month of March, which compleats the whole Year; wherein the Month, and day of the Month are set down, the Persons nam’d, and the great Actions and Events of the next year, particularly related as they will come to pass.

--his punchline, again: “written to prevent the people of England, from being farther
impos’d on by Vulgar Almanack-Makers.”
--his schtick: so popular the first time, that I have to release another sooner than I planned
--first answers objections: a) that it’s unchristian to predict death—no God sometimes condescends to communitcate his divine will to people—ie me. b) want of Charity for putting people into consternation—no, its good for them to know. also, he kills more enemies than friends!
--meanwhile, Partridge is making a death-driving elixer, but he’s still going to “give up the ghost”
--and, I’ll address the rest in my Latin Book in Folio…dedicated to the Right Reverend L.B. of W….
--predictions to do with scribblers & hacks: 24th city peot dies because the Lord-Mayers decide to have less poetry via pagents; hack doctor suffocates of his own ointments
--Lawyer goes to his grave as a new years present; a priest eats too much and dies
--peace in February—big party!
--takes leave of reader, except for a postscript: there’s been illiterate answers, and I found out who by, but they’re so inconsequential that nature doesn’t even bother to offer up the dates of their death! acknowledging his own joke and making a joke of that acknowledgment!

March 30, 1708 Swift
The Accomplishment of the First of Mr Bickerstaff's Predictions; being an account of the death of Mr Partridge, the almanack-maker, upon the 29th instant.

--puts the date of death right on the front page!
--in letter form, “to a person of honor” balanced with year of writing
--touted as an “accomplishment” not a “death”
--Lordship’s commission & his own curiousity
--he used to give me copies of his Almanack
--he fell il, send for Dr. Case! I send a servant to inquire 3x a day out of “commiseration” and “curiosity”
--they said he was delirious, but he seemd as well as ever to me!
--was surprised I condescended to visit him; I ask about the effects of Bickerstaff’s prediction upon his imagination
--deathbed confession—it’s a scam, “only the poor ignorant vulgar give it any credit”
--I ask why didn’t he calculate his own death—such a scam that he realized it wasn’t worth it
--wish he had gone by Physick, at least there he’d “do no hurt”
--weather: printer just puts it in based on old almanacks
--confessed too that his religion was non-conformist and has a zealous religious counselor
--kept a servant there—he died four hours early!
--wait till Bickerstaff’s next prediction: if that comes true, he’ll believe all the rest
--devil’s in the details here—as if he did die; but also the writer’s disposition seems to belie the joke

March 30, 1708 Swift
A Grubstreet Elegy On the supposed Death of Partridge the Almanack-maker

--he died but there was no Astrological event!
--“Some Wits have wondered what Analogy / There is ‘twixt * Cobbling and Astrology”—has to do with the things that cobblers and princes wear on their heads
--goes on with the analogy: roman sandals and shoe-horns show “how Cobbling bears / A near Resemblance to the Spheres”
--strips of parchment used to divine weather—parchment is leather like what shoes and almanacks are made of!
--Philip king of Greece when he died, half his soul went to the stars and the other half to hell to mend shoes
--guess what: when you’re dead the astral forces will provide you with cobblering tools!

An Epitaph on Partridge.

--Cobbler, Starmonger, Quack
--Pills, Almanacks, Shooes
--Physick, Stolen Goods, Love
--14 lines: punchline—the earth’s so full of Virtue that all the questions you took to Partridge, you’ll simply be able to divine these things yourself “This Earth, which bears his Body’s print / You’l find has so much Virtue in’t”



Spring 1709 Swift
A Vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq; Against What is Objected to Him by Mr. Partridge, in
his Almanack for the present Year 1709. By the said Isaac Bickerstafff Esq.

--basically makes an extended joke of how Partridge die but may still be around
--Partridge is being ungentlemanly & unscholarly—this is a problem for the “Republic of letters” not just him personally
--comendations from other scholars of Europe, excepting some censorship
--Five reasons why he was right—some real cartwheels of logic & exemplary fallacies:
--people say, “there were sure no Man alive ever writ such damn’d Stuff as this”
--wife says “her Hasband had neither Life nor Soul in him”
--can only tell fortunes by consorting w/the devil
--says he was alive that day—well of course because he died at night!
--would hI have begun with a false predition?
--problem of Almanacks: ppl seem to keep writing them after their death…but unlike other authors almanack makers don’t live after their death because their writing passes with the minutes they predit
--generally a problem of turning “things of the greatest importance into ridiculte” and was upset to see his work among Grub street Hawkers—that’s why he bothered to write this

1709 Swift
A Letter to the reverend Dr. Henry Sacheverell. By Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq; with An Order from the said Isaac Bickerstaff Relating to the Doctor and an Advertisement to Ben Hoadly.

--Letter, Order, & Advertisement
--Advertisement: a letter is coming about Dr. S by a lover of the church and someone in happy constitution
--Letter to the Reverent Dr. S: Jan 19 1709-10; since I couldn’t do my predictions for you, I’ll send you this letter. “Reverence” language: “Native Affection to Men of Parts and well-plac’d Zeal” the “with all due Respect to your Cloth and Character, as well as Personal Abilities” comes in Paranthesis!
--The order: Bickerstaff calls himself “Censor General”; Dr. S “often very Scurrilously Abus’d” by people “whom by their Habits he cannot distinguish from his Friends”— spins out the pun: Clergy who disagree w/him should wear a thistle in their hats; angry lay man cock their hats only behind!—language as if a serious injunction
--Advertisement: I admonish to appear before me so he can tell me why to not pronounce his death—shady—also bring sermon so I can censor it
--then a “Real” Advertisement for a book of tide-tables

1709 Swift
A Famous Prediction of MERLIN, the British Wizard; written above a Thousand Years ago, and relating to this present Year. With Explanatory Notes. By T.N. Philomath.

Seven and Ten addyd to nyne
Of Fraunce hir woe thys is the sygne,
Tamys rivere twys y-froxen,
Walke sans wetynge Shoes ne hozen.
Then comyth foorth, Ich understonde,
From Toune of Stoffe to fattyn Londe
In heroic Chiftan, woe the morne
To Fraunce, that evere he was borne.
Than shall the fyfth bemeple his Bosse;
Nor shall grin Berris make up the Losse.
Yonge Symnele shall again miscarrye:
And Norways pryd agayne shall marreye.
And from the Tree where Blosums fele,
Ripe fruit shall come, and all is wele.
Reaums shall daunce honde in honde,
And it shall be merye in old Englond.
Then olde Englond shall be no more,
And no Man shall be sorie therefore.
Geryon shall have three hedes agayne
Till Hapsburge makyth them but twayne.

--on the heels of the Bickerstaff scandal—seems to side w/dr. Partridge. This is published to “further Vidication of this famous Art.” Original is of Merlin—translated about 200yrs ago—found it in an old edition of Merlin’s propheics & set it down word for word. “take Leave to subjoin a few Explanatory notes.”
--a problem of exegesis: first matching names, second applying context—I think, I have not fored the Words by my Explication, into any other Sense than what they wil naturally bear.
--I don’t think its Merlin—but the person is obviously skilled & artful. Astrology as good as this just again countermands Bickerstaff. And because the book is old, that’s enough authority for me! You want to see the book, you can.



1710 (?) (by Yalden, Rowe, and Congreve?)
Squire Bickerstaff Detected; or the Astrological Impostor Convicted, by John Partridge, Student in Physick and Astrology.

--begins by political stances of each
--wants the learned world to know
--killed himself and “many other eminent and illustrious Persons”
---I’ll make him rue the hour; since he “was bred to Letters, and is Master of a Pen, let him use it in his own Defence.” meantime I’ll tell you what happened

A True and Impartial Account of the Proceedings of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq, Against Me

--recounts all the hoopla he had to go through having “died”—joke is the way people treat him
--in effect, he was murdered by prophesey and buried by letter—shouldn’t this be punishable, what freedom is this?

1710 (author unknown)
A Good Husband for five Shillings, or Esquire Bickerstaff’s Lottery for the London-Ladies.
Wherein those that want Bedfellows, in an Honest Way, will have a Fair Chance to be Well-Fitted.

--wow, even the title is totally bawdy—“well-fitted” “Honest Way & Fair Chance”
--first rhetorical turn: lots of men dead cuz of the war, so its tough on women. only lower-class men who want to have women as workers
--but women can’t wait to long, lets “her Maidenhed grows as Mouldy as an old Cubboard Crust, that has been piss’d upon by the Mice, and lain long neglected by the whole Family.
--then the scheme: sell 1,000 tickets for five shillings each—if you don’t win, you’ll get more than your money back
--fifty five prizes: 1 first, 2 second, etc…
--ends up being a gallery of “bad people” who pass as socially classed, usually by dint of cunning, mistchief, and deceipt
--closes the scheme by saying where to buy tickets & where the lottery is to be—and if Christian ladies don’t want to set foot in the appointed coffee house, they can peek in through the windows—the glass of which have been removed for other shady reasons
--front copperplate: Very odd. seems to be a scene of the lottery. men at the table on a stage, arranged kind of last-supper-ish, there’s only nine. lottery wheels on either side. women among men below, mixed, all look the same…not very clear detail. Except: in front, two figures, a woman and a priest, back to back. priest stands out for the color, and woman for her profile—both are slightly downframe and are thus scaled larger. Very boring visual hierarch. Eye first goes to man sititing at empty table then radiates outward; everything is perfectly symmetrical except for front woman & priest. Really it’s the empty table that’s the focal point, which seems symbolically appropriate enough for swift.

1710 Swift
Bickerstaff’s almanack: or, a vindication of the stars, ... For the year 1710. ... By Isaac
Bickerstaff Esq; ...

Secondary Sources

Mueller’s Writing Under Constraint: Swift’s “Apology” for A Tale of a Tub

“When read in the context of other, comparable works in the period, the “Apology” proves to be, in fact, a highly rhetorical and ironic piece—a parody of similar apologies—in which, as in the Tale itself, Swift self-consciously reflects on the power and responsibility of reading, and the consequent perils of authoring.” (101)

“In adopting the rhetorical strategies of a deist and skeptic like Toland, Swift invites the kind of censorious reading the “Apology” ostensibly rejects as unfounded.” (103)

p104—asserting Swift’s anger at the Clergy for not effectively combating Fanaticism and Superstition

“In adopting the rhetoric commonly associated with subversive writing, Swift’s defense becomes a shrewd offense that seeks to engage very specific readers in a vexing process of self-discovery” (105).

“He appropriates textual apologetics—a secular, often seditious form-for the end of his own Christian apologetics, in order to rail against the previailing tendencies in the Church of England” (108)

“Swift exploits this convention [of accusing the reader] to emphasize a point that recurs throughout his writings: problems of interpretation—of both books and the world—reveal problems of morality. Swift places moral responsibility on his audience by repeatedly insisting that interpretation is an index of character; like writing, reading reveals an authoring mind. (109)

“He capitalizes on perhaps the most basic principle of a hermeneutics of censorship—the text’s fundamental resistance to the reader, or, more simply put, its indeterminacy—to reflect ironically on his audience’s disturbing control over his work.” (109).

On allegory & transparency (supposed) of language (110)

Works Cited

A good husband for five shillings, or, Esquire Bickerstaff’s lottery for the London-ladies. ...
London: printed and sold by James Woodward; and John Baker, 1710. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <>

Hammond, Brean S. Professional Imaginative Writing in England, 1670-1740: ‘Hackney for Bread.’ Oxford: Clarendon, 1997.

The ladies diary: or, the womens almanack, for the year of our Lord, 1708. Being bissextile, or leap-year. Containing many delightful and entertaining particulars, peculiarly adapted for the use and diversion of the fair-sex. Being the fifth almanack ever publish’d of that kind. [London]: Printed by J. Wilde, for the Company of Stationers, 1708. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <>

Mueller, Judith C. “Writing Under Constraint: Swift's ‘Apology’ for a Tale of a Tub.” ELH. 60.1 (Spring 1993). pp 101-115 .

Partridge, John. Merlinus liberatus: being an almanack for the year of our blessed Saviour’s incarnation 1708. ... By John Partridge, ... London: printed by Mary Roberts, for the Company of Stationers, [1708]. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <

---. Mr. Partridge’s answer to Esquire Bickerstaff’s strange and wonderful predictions for the year 1708. ... London: printed by E. Beer, 1708. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001.<>

Rogers, Pat. Hacks and Dunces: Pope, Swift, and Grub Street. London: Metheun, 1980.

Squire Bickerstaff detected; or, the astrological impostor convicted, by John Partridge, student in physick and astrology. Part I. [London?, 1710?]. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <

Swift, Jonathan. “The Accomplishment of the First of Mr Bickerstaff's Predictions; being an
account of the death of Mr Partridge, the almanack-maker, upon the 29th instant.”
Miscellanies by Dr. Swift, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Pope, and Mr. Gay. In four volumes. The sixth edition, corrected: with several additional pieces in ... London, 1751. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <>

---.Bickerstaff, Isaac. Bickerstaff’s almanack: or, a vindication of the stars, ... For the year 1710. ... By Isaac Bickerstaff Esq; ... London : printed for the Company of Stationers, anno æræ Christianæ, 1710. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <

---.Bickerstaff, Isaac. A continuation of the prdictions [sic] for the remaining part of the year 1708. From the month of September, till the month of March, which compleats the whole year; ... By Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. London: printed and sold by H. Hills, 1708. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <http://galenet.>

---.Bickerstaff, Isaac. A letter to the Reverend Dr. Henry Sacheverell. By Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq; With an order from the said Isaac Bickerstaff, relating to the Doctor. And an advertisement to Ben. Hoadly. London : printed for Robert Mawson, 1709 [i.e. 1710]
ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <http://galenet. _main>

---. Esquire Bickerstaff’s most strange and wonderful predictions for the year 1708. London: printed for T. Wise, [1708]. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <

---. A famous prediction of Merlin, the British wizard; written above a thousand years ago, and relating to this present year. With explanatory notes. By T. N. ...London : printed in the year, 1709. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <http:// locID=wash_main>

---. “A Grubstreet Elegy On the supposed Death of Partridge the Almanack-maker.” Miscellanies in prose and verse. ... 4th ed. Dublin: printed by S. Fairbrother, 2721 [1721]. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <http:// _main>

---. A Tale of a Tub and Other Works. Oxford: Oxford U P, 1986.

---. A tale of a tub. Written for the universal improvement of mankind. To which is
added, An account of a battel between the antient and modern books in St. James’s Library. [London?] : Anno, 1711. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <

---. A vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq; against what is objected to him by Mr. Partridge, in his almanack for the present year 1709. By the said Isaac Bickerstaff Esq.
London : printed in the year, 1709. ECCO. Gale. U Washington Lib., Seattle, WA. 8 March 2001. <

Teerink, H. A Bibliography of the Writings of Jonathan Swift. ed Arthur H. Scouten. Philadelphia: U Pennsylvania P, 1963.


Draft Notes

How can looking at the Bickerstaff-Partridge exchange, and more specifically Swift’s treatment of Almanacks, help us better understand the structure of A Tale of A Tub?

Authorship, Psuedonym, Hoax—Polyvocality

Heterogeniety—within a given publications, among publications as a ‘form’ of discourse

Spirituality & belief systems


Merlin: there’s a tradition of this—but the Almanack makers are fundamentally misreading a history—Becomes a problem of EXEGESIS: text to meaning, text to text; also becomes a POLITICAL problem—this is the worst kind of political discourse?

Fundamentally Grubbean phenomenon: for titliation, bad writing, for commercial purposes. Swift both partakes and distances. But the Scribblers always take the bait.

Fundamentally heterogeneous texts: they are literally multi-form in their inception, and the multiformity offers a unique form of epistemology. The breaks in the form mimic the breaks and gaps between publication volleys, as well as between text and meaning.


How more specifically can we read this back into the structure of the Tub?


Why am I distinguishing between “form” and “structure”? Who can help me sort this out? Or will I just have to do it on my own…. I think I’m thinking of this as a textual studies-ish distinction?

How will I bring in Rogers & Hammond. stick to reader, at any rate.

Satire, History, Novel: Narrative Forms, 1665-1815
By Frank Palmeri
Published by University of Delaware Press, 2003
ISBN 0874138299, 9780874138290
356 pages

Community & Authorship—but NOT going to go this route

The Famous Prophesie of the White King and the Dead Man Explain’d To the Present Times.
Containing… By Isaac Bickerstaffe, Esq;

A Condoling Letter to The Tattler: On Account of the Misfortunes of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq;
A Prisoner in the _____ On Suspicion of DEBT. (by Censor Censorum)