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Polite Conversation

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  26 Ratings  ·  1 Review
A companion piece to the popular Directions to Servants, Polite Conversation is a witty, brilliantly conceived treatise on manners and small talk from the master of English satire. Beginning with an "expert" introduction to the perils of ill-educated discourse, Swift seeks to offer a remedy for conversational disasters. His aim: to ensure one is always equipped with the co ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Hesperus Press (first published 1738)
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Aug 28, 2014 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
I read about half of it, slowly realizing that there was no story to pull me along. Consequently, the fact that I didn't understand more than maybe a third of the one-liners of which the book is an assemblage made reading it pretty pointless.
It's a funny(ish) idea, a dialogue made up entirely of the cliches of hand-me-down wit, but it does depend on one recognizing, or at least understanding, the gags. I understood nearly enough to have a rough idea what was going on - that is, not enough.
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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. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift published al ...more
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