Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Modest Proposal and Other Prose” as Want to Read:
A Modest Proposal and Other Prose
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Modest Proposal and Other Prose

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  12,938 Ratings  ·  167 Reviews
Born of English parents in Dublin, Ireland, in 1667, Jonathan Swift lived in a time of unprecedented political and intellectual change, and his career and writing bear the marks of these momentous changes. Although his professional life centered on the Church of England, it was his brilliance as a writer that brought him, briefly, into the center of power as chief publicis ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published August 12th 2004 by Barnes and Noble (first published 1729)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Modest Proposal and Other Prose, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Modest Proposal and Other Prose

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ori Fienberg
I originally had two shelves:

books that make me want to have children so I can read to them


books that make me want to have children so I can eat them

But really this is the only one that would fall in the latter category.

This is one of the greatest pieces of satire ever written, but seriously, have you ever noticed that babies really do taste better? Think about it. Veal, lamb, kittens. I could go on.
Apr 21, 2017 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of Jonathan Swift's satirical works is very witty, very clever and very well-written. You do need a reasonably good knowledge of the times in which he wrote to appreciate much of it but I enjoyed it a great deal and I'm very far from being a historian.

When this is funny, which is a lot, it is very funny indeed. It's also thought-provoking; particularly when he addresses issues which still haven't been resolved to this day. I can't quite bring myself to give it the full five stars
Jonathan Ashleigh
This is obviously an incredible satire, which hopes to give some satisfaction to the rich. I recently reread it after reading The Sorrows of Young Mike. In John Zelazny's parody, the main character parodies Jonathan Swift's modest proposal. It is a parody within a parody and the modern twist is displayed well.
Tempo de Ler
Feb 20, 2017 Tempo de Ler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own" (p.2)

Gostei muito destes cinco textos, nos quais Jonathan Swift satiriza, com enorme mestria, o meio social e político que o rodeia, condenando a hipocrisia e o cinismo de ambos com a ferocidade de alguém realmente indignado.

A Modest proposal é, desta compilação, o seu trabalho mais forte. O sentido de humor tão bem aguçado e espirituoso, a forma como pinta com humor algumas das suas ideias mais r
Marts  (Thinker)
Dec 13, 2009 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, writing
When one hears 'Swift', Gulliver's Travels usually comes to mind and that was an exceptional work of literature, so I think I'll experience him from a satirical angle.

Actually I ended up listening to this work (having acquired an audio version). Yes I admire Swift's irony in relation to every day situations, though it may seem a bit harsh, the method may at times be the only means of effectivly relating a message.
Nutshell: misanthropic rightwinger thinks that he’s funny, but he’s just a dick.

The foregoing conclusions are authorized by the author, who admitted in a letter to fellow douchebag Pope:
I have got materials toward a treatise proving the falsity of that definition animal rationale, and to show that it would be only rationis capax. Upon this great foundation of misanthropy, … the whole building of my Travels is erected. (21)
Several texts in this collection:

A Tale of a Tub--
Lots of derridean outw
Swift's satire, A Modest Proposal, was not well-known or well-read in his life. Of course, given the nature of the piece--the desperate need for change in Ireland--lack of recognition was difficult.

I have read and taught this many times. Most students don't understand the depths of the satire or the excellent argument structure presented in this essay.

Swift's ability to develop his argument in the way he has makes the piece an excellent read for anyone looking to understand the many forms of dev
'A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick' was published anonymously in 1729. These were bad years in Ireland three failed harvests were followed by poverty and disease. 'A modest proposal... ' lays bare the politics and prejudice of the time. The structure of the pamphlet imitates the pamphlets being published which offered up serious proposals to the crisis.

The shocking suggestio
Dec 04, 2007 Nicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thinkers, people who appreciate humor
Shelves: philosophy
A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works contains five essays by Swift. A Modest Proposal focuses upon politics, Battle of the Books upon literature and philosophy, and the remaining three address religious belief and practice.

A Modest Proposal is easily the most famous of Swift's essays, and as such most people are aware of its premise. It is incredibly witty, brief, and poignant. A fine satire.

To appreciate Battle of the Books requires a fair amount of understanding regarding anci
Mark Bratkowski
This is another book that I read to teach at Ursuline next year. Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" is without a doubt one of the most intellectual and humorous pieces of satire ever written. Another satiric essay that I liked was "An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity in England". This was written earlier than "A Modest Proposal" but uses soome of the same devices. Swift's evidence shows how ending Christianity would bring political and economic benefits to England. Of course, his argum ...more
Lady Dixie
Swift's satiric proposal that Ireland solve overpopulation and hunger by literally eating their young. Still bristles.
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 John Yelverton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The modest proposal would have been if someone had asked not to write this horrid thing.

"A Modest Proposal" is so fucking ridiculously contemporary that I can't help but be the one to say it for the millionth time. If you think things have gotten too raw and uncivilized in today's age, and that people were more well mannered in the olden days, you are....full O' SHITE!

I'm sure no one reading this actually does think this way but still...I love being able to add this bit of actual, factual info and not feeling the least bit bad about it because history is genteel only to the people
The reason for picking up A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works was that I wanted to reread A Modest Proposal, which I had previously read in my copy of The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Vol 1 and which I still think is a masterpiece and as such probably the best satire I've ever come across.

As a sort of ‘bonus’ I had four more of Swift’s satirical writings in this book, each of which I liked. I must add though, that by far the most of his satirical writings require (a lot of) ba
Oct 17, 2016 Orcun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Öncelikle şunu söylemek gerek: Bu derlemede Swift'in 1697-1729 yılları arasında yazdığı 8 yazıya yer verilmiş; bu yüzden, kitabı "Alçakgönüllü Bir Öneri ve Diğer Denemeler" diye adlandırmak daha yerinde bir tercih olurdu.
Swift, bir oklu kirpi: Eleştiri oklarını her yöne fırlatıyor; üstelik bunu iç karartan bir ciddiyetle değil, müthiş eğlenceli, pırıl pırıl bir zekâyla yapıyor. Zaten Britanyalılar'ın hiciv, nükte, iğneleme, kara mizah kategorilerinde belirgin bir yeteneği olduğuna hep inanmışımd
Patrick Nichols
And thus it may, if the verbal effrontery of such an utterance may be indulged, however briefly, be averred, with the blessings of those guardians on the battlements of concinnity, even modestly asseverated, if such a contradiction does not run counter to said diction, that the author's style, with such a fecund profusion of subordinate and even, dare I say, insubordinate clauses, rococo verbal flourishes, and sesquipedialian agglomerations, while constructed with a labyrinthine ingenuity that e ...more
Aug 21, 2007 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite satirical works of all time in which Swift proposes, to solve the problem of the poverty and starvation rampant in Ireland, that the poor Irish eat their own children to stave off hunger.

"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 delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a frica
Dec 03, 2010 Jayme rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Modest Proposal was great. So were the rules for servants. Jonathan Swift is a master satirist. But a lot of the accompanying papers were snores--inside jokes, and even languages, with friends. So, 4 stars to the funny papers, and 2 stars to the boring letters, with an average of 3 stars.
Sep 23, 2007 Meg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in high school when I first read this and once I got over the shock of the proposal I grew to appreciate the wit in the satire and the history behind the motivation and purpose of the author for writing it.
Andrew Reid
Aug 28, 2007 Andrew Reid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comedian
Such original shocking humor and irony. A modest proposal made a lot of people angry when it was released into the high society of London while the Irish starved. I loved it.
Virginia M.
Ci ho messo troppo, decisamente troppo.
George King
Mar 01, 2011 George King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I taught this piece, I had my students come up with different dishes that babies could be made into--it was absolutely hysterical.
Aydin Akinci
Jul 14, 2017 Aydin Akinci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeri, tenkit nasıl yazılır yazarken nasıl eğlenir, yüzyıllar evvel en güzel örneğini yazmış Swift, tavsiye ederim..
Elliot Chalom
Jul 20, 2015 Elliot Chalom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only thing more difficult than distilling a compilation of five different stories into a single rating is doing so for a compilation written approximately 300 years ago. In another country. By a man much smarter than I. But when all is said and done "A Modest Proposal ..." is worthy of 5 stars, and here's why:

The first essay is "The Battle of Books", which standing alone I'd give it somewhere in the 3-4 star range. My main issue is a lack of familiarity with many of the 'modern' writers refe
3.25 stars.

After getting into the writing, I really enjoyed reading it. The books shows very well how the stances of the 17th century society were on topics like mind, religion and more.
It gave me quite some insight in the way Swift thought as well and it could clearly bee seen that he had enjoyed some good education.
On top of these things, the satire in here was present and nicely written. I have giggle a couple of times (during 'Battle of the Books' and 'A Meditation upon a Broomstick' and the
Cemil Gunes
Bir edebiyat otoritesi degilim, ama kisa olmasina ragmen kitabi bitirmek icin buyuk caba harcamis olmam benim gozumde eksi puandir.

1 yildiz da verebilirdim; İs Bankasi Yayinlari'nin versiyonunundaki ilk ve son denemeler (Kitaplar Arasinda Yasanan Catisma & Alcakgonullu Bir Oneri) hatrina notumu 2 yildiza cikardim.

"Kitaplar Arasinda Bir Catisma" 3, "Alcakgonullu Bir Oneri" 5 yildizi hak ediyor. Yine de dusuncelerin okuyucuya aktarilmasi cok uzatilmis. Agdali dil kullanmak icin "edebiyat par
Mar 16, 2009 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading that most people think this was a satire written to shake a finger at the British for standing idly by(or not idly, but actually preventing economic growth in Ireland with staunch import/export laws and citizenship laws that prevented the Irish from owning land,etc.) while the Irish starved. And while it's true that the English effectively starved an entire generation of poor Irish and invited the Plague and other diseases into the soggy country, I don't think the essay suggests that ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Witty. Provoking. Macabre.
And unbelievably mistaken by some of his contemporary fellowmen.

"A Modest Proposal" is a masterpiece on how satire may be used for condemning human hypocrisy revealing the social issues unseen by the calculated blindness of many governors.

The anthropophagy solution for winning over poverty, unemployment, begging and constant starving in Ireland is expressed by Jonathan Swift in a cynical and unemotional way.

A way that shows how modern Swift was and how much he had to
"A Modest Proposal" is definitely the strongest work here. And given how it is written, I can believe that people reading it today might not understand that it is satire--though how they can miss it being announced as satire on the cover of every volume it is in, in the intro, in every short summary, etc etc, is beyond me.

"An Argument..." and "A Discourse..." both have some good bits. "A Meditation" is clever and very short. "The Battle" requires a background in Swift's contemporaries that I sim
Alaina Sloo
I read a A Modest Proposal (full title A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick) to my 13-year-old son for the first time today. Written in 1729, some of Swift's language can be difficult for a teenager (even a well-read one), but it's easier to understand when read aloud. And what teenage boy can resist the gross outrageousness of a satirical proposal to solve the problem of pover ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories
  • Candide and Other Stories (World's Classics)
  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1: The Middle Ages through the Restoration & the Eighteenth Century
  • An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews
  • The Rape of the Lock
  • The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works
  • The Adventures of Roderick Random
  • Love in Excess
  • Emile or On Education
  • Lyric Poems
  • The Third Rumpole Omnibus
  • The Playboy of the Western World & Riders to the Sea
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems
  • The Female Quixote
  • The Major Works
  • Camilla
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
More about Jonathan Swift...

Share This Book

“the quarrel is not against any particular points of hard digestion in the Christian system, but against religion in general; which, by laying restraints on human nature, is supposed the great enemy to the freedom of thought and action. Upon” 0 likes
“a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout. I” 0 likes
More quotes…