UNLIMITED Audiobooks and eBooks

Over 40,000 books & works on all major devices

Get ALL YOU CAN for FREE for 30 days!

A Tale of a Tub

Jonathan Swift

Book Overview: 

The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of "digression" and a "tale" of three brothers, each representing one of the main branches of western Christianity. A Tale was long regarded as a satire on religion itself, and has famously been attacked for that, starting with William Wotton. The "tale" presents a consistent satire of religious excess, while the digressions are a series of parodies of contemporary writing in literature, politics, theology, Biblical exegesis, and medicine. The overarching parody is of enthusiasm, pride, and credulity.

How does All You Can Books work?

All You Can Books gives you UNLIMITED access to over 40,000 Audiobooks, eBooks, and Foreign Language courses. Download as many audiobooks, ebooks, language audio courses, and language e-workbooks as you want during the FREE trial and it's all yours to keep even if you cancel during the FREE trial. The service works on any major device including computers, smartphones, music players, e-readers, and tablets. You can try the service for FREE for 30 days then it's just $19.99 per month after that. So for the price everyone else charges for just 1 book, we offer you UNLIMITED audio books, e-books and language courses to download and enjoy as you please. No restrictions.

Book Excerpt: 
. . .k with a great deal of injustice, the solution being easy and natural, for the materials of panegyric, being very few in number, have been long since exhausted; for as health is but one thing, and has been always the same, whereas diseases are by thousands, besides new and daily additions, so all the virtues that have been ever in mankind are to be counted upon a few fingers, but his follies and vices are innumerable, and time adds hourly to the heap.  Now the utmost a poor poet can do is to get by heart a list of the cardinal virtues and deal them with his utmost liberality to his hero or his patron.  He may ring the changes as far as it will go, and vary his phrase till he has talked round, but the reader quickly finds it is all pork, [56a] with a little variety of sauce, for there is no inventing terms of art beyond our ideas, and when ideas are exhausted, terms of art must be so too.

But though the matter for panegyric were as fruitful as the topic. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read A Tale of a Tub. Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind for grad school, and it is one of the most unusual texts I have ever read. Swift published it anonymously in 1704--it was his first major work--and it is a rambling, disjointed, unintelligible book that challenges even the m...more

A book about the vanity of books. Funny and perhaps more relevant than ever in the age of self-publishing via Twitter and Facebook. Swift was living through the advent of mass literacy. Although books and book audiences were proliferating rapidly in his time, Swift recognized that human ideas and...more

To quote the late great Roger Ebert "I hated hated hated hated hated this" book. I give it two stars instead of one for the very simple but important issue: I didn't understand I word of it. So maybe it ain't Swift's fault.
Now, first of all, I consider myself an intelligent person. I have read "h...more

You know those moments when you, who learned English as a foreign language since you were young, think that you understand the language perfectly fine, and then you decide to read a book and realize that you know nothing? Well, this is basically how this book made me feel: utterly stupid, ignoran...more

I think I mentioned before that satire and parody aren't my favourite genres. I try to be fair when rating these books and to take into consideration the effect the books had or must have had when they were published.
This book was VERY hard for me to read. It was my second book by Jonathan Swift....more

.

Sometimes Swift turns an unbelievably great phrase, like when he says that knavery is as epidemic as the pox or when he says that those with teeth too rotten to bite are best of all others qualified to revenge the defect with their breath. There are many other points in this book that are well ob...more

Can't say I enjoyed this terribly much. As with other Swiftian satires, I felt as if there was much that I was not getting, that a good deal would have meant so much more to a contemporary audience.
The story itself is simple, an allegory of religious excess, with three prodigal sons disrespecting...more

For such a short book it requires so much mental work to make sense of it that I doubt it is worth the effort. It is a good satire, but please don't ask me for a summary because I'm pretty sure I've already forgotten most of it since the author makes a point of writing about nothing and everythin...more

Video discussion.

View More Reviews