Whatever reader desires to have a thorough comprehension of an author's thoughts cannot take a better method than by putting himself into the circumstances and postures of life that the author was in upon every important passage as it flowed from his pen; for this will introduce a parity and strict correspondence of ideas between the reader and the author. Now, to assist the diligent reader in so delicate an affair, as far as brevity will permit, I have recollected that the shrewdest pieces of this treatise were conceived in bed in a garret; at other times (for a reason best known to myself) I thought fit to sharpen my invention with hunger; and in general, the whole work was begun, continued, and ended under a long course of physic and a great want of money.
The reader/writer relationship is complicated here with a parody on this possibilities of literary community. Swift recommends that the reader approximate the writer's physical sensations down to the feel of ink leaking from his pen. Sternian physical community is complicated with Swift's introduction of class into the picture: the reader must, it seems, not only feel the author's pulse and imagine a community of sentiment based in physical similarity, but must crawl hungrily into the garret's bed if "strict correspondence" is to be achieved.Related terms: