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Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation

By Swift, Jonathan

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Book Id: WPLBN0000626738
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 16.61 KB
Reproduction Date: 2005

Title: Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation  
Author: Swift, Jonathan
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Blackmask Online Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Blackmask Online


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Swift, J. (n.d.). Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation. Retrieved from

Excerpt: I HAVE observed few obvious subjects to have been so seldom, or at least so slightly, handled as this; and, indeed, I know few so difficult to be treated as it ought, nor yet upon which there seemeth so much to be said. Most things pursued by men for the happiness of public or private life our wit or folly have so refined, that they seldom subsist but in idea; a true friend, a good marriage, a perfect form of government, with some others, require so many ingredients, so good in their several kinds, and so much niceness in mixing them, that for some thousands of years men have despaired of reducing their schemes to perfection. But in conversation it is or might be otherwise; for here we are only to avoid a multitude of errors, which, although a matter of some difficulty, may be in every man?s power, for want of which it remaineth as mere an idea as the other. Therefore it seemeth to me that the truest way to understand conversation is to know the faults and errors to which it is subject, and from thence every man to form maxims to himself whereby it may be regulated, because it requireth few talents to which most men are not born, or at least may not acquire without any great genius or study. For nature bath left every man a capacity of being agreeable, though not of shining in company; and there are a hundred men sufficiently qualified for both, who, by a very few faults that they might correct in half an hour, are not so much as tolerable.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents: Hints Towards An Essay On Conversation, 1 -- Jonathan Swift, 1


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