A Modest Proposal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Modest Proposal

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  23,756 ratings  ·  450 reviews
A new edition of Jonthan Swift's important work.
Paperback, 26 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Createspace (first published 1729)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Scribble Orca
Apr 01, 2013 Scribble Orca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Scribble by: voN heRrn Gaddis
Shelves: defies-a-shelf
Goodreaders, my Friends, “…who peruse this [Review], Be not offended, whilst on it you [chew]: Denude yourselves of all depraved affection, For it contains no badness, nor infection: 'Tis true that it brings forth to you no birth Of any value, but in point of mirth; Thinking therefore how sorrow might your mind Consume, I could no [more] apt subject find; One [plume] of joy surmounts of grief a [duration]; Because to laugh is proper to the [rational person].”–Rabelais

A Reasonable Scheme

....has g...more
Lynne King
I came across this essay via Scribble's review and read it in no time. I thought it would be light reading and it turned out to be something completely different. Satire at its best from Mr Swift.

I read this in the dentist's waiting room this morning and it certainly waylaid my normal fear of going there.

The author has come up with a "modest" (nothing modest here) proposal to aid the Irish economy, stop the begging, give mothers (the breeders) the opportunity to get an income by selling their l...more
Anthony Vacca
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for roasted young “long pig” that is guaranteed to save a few bucks come the next last-minute dinner with friends or family:

What You Will Need
Butcher knife
Olive oil or butter
Seasonings (I have a soft spot for a pinch of Ambergris, a touch of Wattleseed, and a dash of Spanish Fly)
Roasting pan

Step 1
Trim away the end of the neck, and the end of each leg from the "knee" joint downwards. This is usually only necessary with wild-caught “long pig” because, if farmed, than...more
there is no better way to kick off a semester of literature than a modest proposal. one smart ass student always tries to derail the conversation with an early declaration of the proposal’s satire, but no one listens, and within moments i have a class of fifty - sixty students angry, frustrated, and sometimes rabid as i take swift’s ironic side and ask the students, with all the seriousness i can muster (which is quite a bit), if we shouldn’t give it a try? i follow that up with “why not?” after...more
Nov 11, 2011 Bonnie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001, funny-ha-ha
‘A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick’ otherwise known as simply 'A Modest Proposal' is anything but modest.

'I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most deliciou
It's been a long time since I first read this satirical masterpiece by Swift, which reads like its title and is anything but, "A Modest Proposal". In it, the author is 'proposing' a solution to the serious problems of overpopulation, unemployment, and food shortages, not to mention providing the social and moral benefits of kinder husbands and better parents. Mr. Swift has all the economic angles figured out and presents a very convincing argument, so straightforward and valid my daughter's high...more
Can you believe this guy? I realize that this was, like, a long time ago and things were different back then. Like, less civilized and they didn't value life like we do today and stuff. But omg, seriously! For all intensive purposes, this guy Swift was crazy. After I read this I literally cut my own head off.

So apparently in the eighteenth century (and by the way, isn't it so stupid that it's called the eighteenth century when it was the 1700s? that makes like no sense at all), there was a lot o...more
Gloria Mundi
Jun 16, 2012 Gloria Mundi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Merkel, Hollande, Draghi, Lagarde, anyone looking for a practical solution to a financial crisis
Recommended to Gloria by: 1001 books list
It is clear to me now what the modern European politicians are doing wrong. They are, obviously, not reading their classics.

Europe is in the midst of a dire financial crisis with all sorts of complicated schemes being proposed to resolve the situation. And here we have a practical and sensible solution that nobody appears to have considered, despite the fact that it has been around since 1729!

If you don't have enough money to feed your kids, EAT THEM!

What could be simpler?

Now, the author mentio...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

Written in 1729, three years after the publication of Gulliver's Travels, at the time when Ireland was reeling from famine with an estimated 35,000 wandering beggars in the country.

Drought and failing crops had forced entire families to quit their farms and took the roads begging for food. Landowners, of English ancestry, ignored their sufferings and opted to live abroad to evade payment of taxes and duties. The sub-title of this story reads:

"For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland...more
Lit Bug
A very short political tract by Swift in a lashing, satirical vein, the complete title of this tract is 'A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public'.

Published in 1729, an era when the British and the Irish were sworn enemies and when Ireland was reeling under a severe drought, Swift wrote this as an attempt to criticize heavily the British authorities who did nothing to stav...more
Having read this several times- it's the perennial English teacher favorite to demonstrate satire- I have to say that I enjoy it on several levels. First, the writing is fairly lucid and easy for a modern reader to comprehend. Second, the dark humor amuses me. Third, it gave rise to one of my favorite English class essays- a satire in the style of Mr. Swift, in which I argued for the adoption of Twilight as high school literature curriculum. What fun that was to write! The fourth mark in the Mod...more
With the high costs of living, the expenses of educating, clothing, feeding and generally raising children to majority, the solution, as presented in Jonathan Swift's satire, A Modest Proposal, should perhaps be revisited again and given consideration. And please, before you get out the rope to lynch me, realize this is said very tongue-in-cheek. A good read. Hmm, could use a little more salt.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I was told of this essay recently by a friend of mine in reference to her own unplanned pregnancy...she sarcastically considered using Swift's idea to...let's say... "make baby food" as one possible means of dealing with the infant once it's born. That kid is going to have some issues.
I can't think why I've never read this before. Maybe I never did because I knew what it was and didn't feel that I had to. If one were teaching English, it would have to be the textbook on satire, wouldn't it? The thing that strikes me most, is how angry Swift must have been when he wrote it, watching his country die at the hands of the British. Or perhaps it's just anger remembered in a moment of calm.

Really makes me want to slap some modern writers upside the head (college essayists are partic...more
Alan Smith
I have read the somewhat shocking proposal of Mr Swift as to how to mitigate the dire situation of starvation, and I shudder to think of this "solution" ever being utilized.

To begin with, has he ever actually looked at a child. Most of them are obviously high in saturated fats, and what eating a baby or toddler might do to the arteries is a terrifying thought. At least wait until they get to the emo stage and start shedding the puppy fat I'd have thought.

Secondly, this book was obviously written...more
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick

Opening lines:
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 passeng
A girl in my satire class, for which I read this, actually thought this shit was real, yo! Anyway, she was only mildly offended that Swift suggested selling and eating babies to solve poverty. Jaw drop.

The news today in America states that one in two are poor or impoverished. What can be the solution?

Some would argue that abolishing the inequality by raising taxes on the rich would be a rational move, but there is a monumental struggle in the government to keep the status quo. Holding on to long held religious dictates and population control of the poor, abortion methods continue to divide the populace. And in the election environment, one potential nominee suggests keeping poor children busy...more
Oct 03, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people raising tasty, tasty babies
I was familiar with Jonathan Swift's famous work of satire but had never actually read the whole thing. But it is on the Books 1001 list, so I decided to read it, since it's online everywhere and it's only five pages.

The first page of Swift's 1729 essay describes the problem: the ever-increasing number of destitute Irish, the economic hardships imposed on the nation, and the numerous inadequate and ineffective schemes that had been attempted to address it.

There is no alteration in Swift's very s...more
Margaret Langstaff
What a relief! After hours of increasing nausea over watching the political budget and default baboon side show in D.C., something made me drag out this side-splitting gem, a true timeless classic, that seems to get ressurected and re-read when people need a good laugh over an apparently hopeless social crisis. Jonathan Swift presents a methodically reasoned and convincing solution-plan -a painfully funny/sardonic remedy--for the tragic historic Irish Famine of his day (1729). With a straight fa...more
The full title of this work is A MODEST PROPOSAL - For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick.

This is one of Swift’s wittier if somewhat disturbing satires, a sharp critique of Irish economics and social circumstances and practices, speaking particularly from the perspective of their English overlords. He proposes raising the children of the poor until one year of age and then eating them....more
Janet Aileen
Swift's satire on social and economic ills of the time and the heartless attitude toward the poor is brilliant. It is timeless and could apply to conditions in the US today.
Con la sua modesta proposta l'autore asserisce di aver trovato un modo per risolvere il problema della povertà che dilaga nelle strade di Dublino, soprattutto tra i bambini.
Mangiarli, i bambini. In tenera età.
Commerciare carne umana apporterebbe, secondo l'autore, una serie di benefici che non manca di quantificare debitamente nella relazione.

Una provocazione quella ideata da Swift affinché il governo si impegni ad ideare un progetto più funzionale, razionale e logico del suo.

Swift per...more
Things I don't like about this book:

1. It's satire. I'm not a big fan of satire.
2. It's written like a rhetorical essay. Rhetoric and I didn't get along in college, and our relationship has not improved.
3. While I know that Mr. Swift is using the idea of cannibalism as satire and in truth encouraging thoughtfulness toward the poor, the subject matter is very disconcerting.

At least it only took like 15 minutes to read.
OH MY GOD!!! Jonathan Swift was born EXACTLY four hundred and twenty-two years before I was. We share the same birthday! And he is one of my all time favourite people ever. Winston Churchill and Mark Twain can go to hell, who cares about them, even if Churchill was born in a bathroom, Jonathan Swift is the BEST person to share a birthday with EVER.
Does anyone want a piece of cake made of irony? This paper solves the world's main problems by making an interesting suggestion or two. It's tough to write a review without giving too much away.
Not made to be serious. Read the history behind the piece as well to offer background.
Jonathon Swift was very effective in making people stop and take notice of the problem of widespread poverty and abhorrent living conditions of the poor, particularly the children. While at first I believed his approach so outrageous that it was difficult for me to imagine his compassion towards children, but the more I thought about it, the more I came to think that his compassion is significant enough for him to risk scorn at his outlandish proposal in the effort to bring the issue into the sp...more
Basic plot: How to save the poor of Ireland from starvation: eat the babies!

There is little in teaching more fun than this little pamphlet. Start by introducing the concept of satire on day 1. Introduce to students the basic techniques and give some examples. On day 2, DON'T remind them of anything. Yes, I know good teaching says to always give the students the game plan to activate prior knowledge and all that, but DON'T. Just tell them that today they are going to read a piece by Jonathan Swif...more
Shaunaly ~  (A Book Away From An Episode Of Hoarders)
While reading A Modest Proposal, it became very clear that Jonathan Swift certainly possessed a grand sense of humor including a high degree of sarcastic undertones when he proposed the idea of cannibalism to help combat the highly oppressed, over-populated and extremely poverty-stricken condition that was Ireland.

I found this reading to be quite hilarious. It is impossible to imagine a serious proposal for eating children, however once you get past Swift’s humor of “humans eating humans”, you...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Rape of the Lock
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
  • Amelia
  • Love in Excess
  • The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia
  • The Purloined Letter
  • Bunner Sisters
  • Caleb Williams
  • Hyperion oder der Eremit in Griechenland
  • The Soul of Man under Socialism
  • Castle Rackrent
  • Rameau's Nephew / d'Alembert's Dream
  • Emile or On Education
  • News from Nowhere
  • The Garden Party
  • Evelina
  • Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
  • Kubla Khan
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swi...more
More about Jonathan Swift...
Gulliver's Travels A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings Gulliver's Travels / A Modest Proposal (Enriched Classics) A Tale of a Tub

Share This Book