Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Gresham College. Educational institution located in the grand London mansion of Sir Thomas Gresham, who bequeathed the house to the city; a group of practical “Greshamists” started the scientific group that became the Royal Society of London. Partly because of its location in Gresham House and hence its commercial associations with Moorfields and with the city, the new science of the Royal Society comes under attack by Swift for its airy superficiality and its beating of the tub of self-promotion.
*Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam). Government lunatic asylum at Moorfields. Continuing his case for guilt by association of location deep in the center of greater London, Swift can attack both the hack writers and the new scientists as insane Bedlamites. Throughout most of the eighteenth century the public could pay admission to watch the institution’s inmates.
*Royal Library. Library in St. James Palace in London’s West End in which the battle of the books, the appended narrative to the main tale, is fought. Not a great deal of elegance is achieved, however, by moving the action farther out, although Swift does articulate the ancient and modern theme most clearly in this shorter and simpler narrative. Nevertheless, the combatants are insects, so the satiric attacks on small grubbiness in writing continues despite the royal location.
*Moor Park. Elegant country estate of Swift’s patron Sir William Temple. Swift lived on the estate for a time in the last decade of Temple’s life, and he conceived this text as he followed the heated debate over ancient as opposed to modern writing in which Temple played a role as essayist and translator. The universities were the real seat of the debate, and so Swift’s move to satirize and to trivialize the debate is effectively done by locating it close to commercial London. The ideal of Moor Park and of genuine intellectual thinking serves as the measure of the satiric attacks on superficial modernity.
*Leyden (LI-dehn). City in the Netherlands where Swift’s attack takes aim at the superficiality of religious enthusiasm, especially that expressed by the sects of Protestant fanatics that were not Anglican. He includes Martin Luther in this group, but his prime whipping boy is an Anabaptist named Jan Buckholdt. He was a tailor and known as “Jack of Leyden” during the religious debates that had become particularly bloody battles by Swift’s time. The text makes wonderful use of images of superficial coats sewn by such an enthusiastic tailor that the enemies of Swift suffer from the various characterizations of being airbags, insects, and prostitutes of ideas but also from being located in the grubby low countries of Europe, which were so similar to the commercially tainted centers of London. The many digressions in Swift’s text and, perhaps, some of its airiness make locations difficult to pin down. However, that may be a key point of the satire; the ancients possessed a more solid sense of place.