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A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  12,585 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
The originality, concentrated power and ‘fierce indignation’ of his satirical writing have earned Jonathan Swift a reputation as the greatest prose satirist in English literature. Gulliver’s Travels is, of course, his world renowned masterpiece in the genre; however, Swift wrote other, shorter works that also offer excellent evidence of his inspired lampoonery. Perhaps the ...more
Paperback, 59 pages
Published 1996 by Dover Publications, Inc (first published 1729)
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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.
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.
Marts  (Thinker)
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 13, 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
Jul 22, 2010 Mark Bratkowski rated it it was ok
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
John Yelverton
Oct 02, 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.
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

"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
Patrick Nichols
Mar 26, 2012 Patrick Nichols rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
George King
Mar 09, 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.
Virginia M.
Ci ho messo troppo, decisamente troppo.
Dec 09, 2016 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan Swift was quite a satirist and thinker for this time. Satire in "A Modest Proposal" is about how society looks the other way to the plights of the poor and starving. Worse yet, to blame those very same people due to their inability to work because they are not receiving the basics of food and clothing so they can work an honest day. Then, of course, religion enters the picture. If you want to figure out what to do about the poor little children, Mr. Swift will shock you into a solution ...more
Antonio Gallo
Ricordi di una "provocazione". Quando insegnavo ricordo che, tra le tante "provocazioni" che proponevo,(qualcuno diceva che lo facevo con "sadismo"), questo "pamphlet" di J. Swift aveva uno dei primi posti. Ritrovarlo ora in versione italiana mi fa un certo effetto. Una cosa è leggere la "provocazione" di Jonathan in inglese un'altra è leggerla in italiano. Ma l'autore per me resta uno dei grandi della letteratura di tutti i tempi. Non a caso Swift lasciò scritto il suo epitaffio da essere incis ...more
Mert Dostol
Nov 17, 2016 Mert Dostol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yazar ilk bölümde, antik ve modern düşünürleri, sanatçıları kapıştırıyor. Bu kişiler hakkında pek bir bilgim olmadığından çok zevk alamadım. Ama diğer bölümler güzel. Kitaba adını veren son bölüm iğrenç ama başarılı bir sistem eleştirisi.
Chaitalee Ghosalkar
Why o why did I refer to Goodreads reviews before taking up this one? Clearly some books are meant for a certain section of people, and when taken up by the other group, have a debilitating effect on them.

It had that effect on me....or maybe not. But many hours of my life were wasted.
Christine Lisak
Nov 23, 2016 Christine Lisak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much everyone reads this one in order to truly understand Satire. Jonathan Swift remains the grandfather of political satire.
Elliot Chalom
Jul 23, 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
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
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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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