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A Modest Proposal [essay] (1729)

af Jonathan Swift

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Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is one of the earliest and most seminal satirical essays written in English. Having as an original title "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick," it expresses deep anger at the squalor and miserable conditions from which the Irish people was suffering in the eighteenth century. Swift ironically suggests that poor Irish families could sell their children to rich Englishmen as an ultimate solution to their miseries. The essay, which is generally characterized by a rather bitter, ironic and hyperbolic tone, provides details of how to convert the problem that Irish children represent into its own solution. He even dares to propose selling those children to meat markets to be served as food for the rich. He ironically gives a complete analysis about how this weird solution would help combat unemployment and overpopulation and boost the country's economy. What is worth noting, however, is that Swift does not put all the burden on the shoulders of English rulers, rich men and Irish politicians. Indeed, the essay also represents a work of self-criticism where the Irish masses are equally blamed for not being able to help themselves.

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» Se også 54 omtaler

Engelsk (43)  Ungarsk (1)  Alle sprog (44)
Viser 1-5 af 44 (næste | vis alle)
Spring 2019, DC/AP IV, audio & print:

A short, short read, but adding it in for the same reason I still list chapbooks, because they are too. This gorgeous, yet long, treatise on the treatment of the Irish was part of our Metaphysical/Enlightenment two week sampler. I hadn't read it since my early twenties in college, but I deeply loved getting to listen to/read it again. To hear the utter seriousness it's delivered with, while the twist of satire makes you hang on, horrified and intrigued like you are watching a crashing train. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Dec 26, 2022 |
in 2021 enjoying this book. it is one of satirist novel I have Reed. ( )
  Azmir_Fakir | Oct 31, 2022 |
I didn't know what this was about when I started, so I had the glorious passage from, "Wait, what am I reading?" to "I hope this is satire," to "Totally satire" and internal giggling. And then, I had one of my favorite thoughts after reading or watching a video, "What in the world did I just read/watch?" and thoroughly entertained by the weirdness. ( )
  leah_markum | Oct 28, 2022 |
Biting social commentary by way of satire. ( )
  macleod73 | Sep 14, 2022 |
Finally found the quiet time to read this again. Written in response to a very real problem, the poverty and starvation in 1729 Ireland, Jonathan Swift puts forth a shocking proposal for a solution that will make you laugh and also cry. Sometimes to make people listen you have to outrage them, and this piece of satire was Swift's last resort--an attempt to make people look in the mirror and see themselves as part of the problem. I remember this being taught to me in high school as the perfect illustration of satire and irony. I'm pretty sure it still holds first place.

With thanks to my GR friend, Tamar, I have come back again to include a reading of this essay by Sir Alec Guinness, and having listened to it, revise my rating to a solid 5-stars.


Sir Alec reads Swift ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
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It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms.
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This is an essay (sometimes mislabeled a short story), do NOT combine with any collections.
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Essays. Nonfiction. HTML:

Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is one of the earliest and most seminal satirical essays written in English. Having as an original title "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick," it expresses deep anger at the squalor and miserable conditions from which the Irish people was suffering in the eighteenth century. Swift ironically suggests that poor Irish families could sell their children to rich Englishmen as an ultimate solution to their miseries. The essay, which is generally characterized by a rather bitter, ironic and hyperbolic tone, provides details of how to convert the problem that Irish children represent into its own solution. He even dares to propose selling those children to meat markets to be served as food for the rich. He ironically gives a complete analysis about how this weird solution would help combat unemployment and overpopulation and boost the country's economy. What is worth noting, however, is that Swift does not put all the burden on the shoulders of English rulers, rich men and Irish politicians. Indeed, the essay also represents a work of self-criticism where the Irish masses are equally blamed for not being able to help themselves.

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