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

A Modest Proposal

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  37,353 ratings  ·  921 reviews
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, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests in his essay that the impoverished Irish might ease their ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published July 4th 2008 by Book Jungle (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
4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,353 ratings  ·  921 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Brian
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Last night my daughter asked me to watch what passes for comedy to pre-teens on Nickelodeon; a show low on laughs but high on laugh track. It's Halloween week and of course the thematic drum of cheap scares and slutty costumes (those of you dads that have 11 year old girls know what it is like to take a knee at the end of the show to have a side-bar chat about this topic alone) plays large when midway through the episode a six year old girl dressed like a failing barrister circa 1735 comes firin ...more
Elyse Walters
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One book leads to another....
After listening to the audiobook "Food: A Love Story", by Jim Gaffigan...a hilarious walking companion...
I quoted a Bizzarre Line from Jim..."Maybe All Americans should just eat starving people from other nations"....
my mind went elsewhere with that line ( the complete opposite with Jim... but laughed anyway)....

So....getting a little more serious --
During the comments *Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)*, asked me if I had read/listened to Jonathan Swift's "A Modest
...more
James
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book Review
A Modest Proposal is a satirical work of fiction by Jonathan Swift, written nearly 300 years ago. It is an Irish piece, originally published anonymously, but served as a way to shove stupidity in the face of the English government and wealthy. Essentially, in order to solve the problem of poverty, people should eat their children. But it was written in a very serious manner, as though it were meant to be real suggestions. Ahead of its time, it propelled Swift to the forefront of b
...more
Scribble Orca
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Brad
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa
Macabre but good example of how you can use standard arguments to convince people - no matter how appalling your opinion may be. Scary!
Lynne King
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Florencia
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny-and-ish
This review includes sensitive material that may be upsetting to some friends.

(view spoiler)
...more
Bradley
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I continue to think that this supremely logical and inevitably practical work will become a part of American legislation any day now. You know, right after the FEMA camps have a permanent place in the common zeitgeist. Anyone want a potato?

Update 11/19/15:

It occurs to me that someone ought to write a cookbook to expound upon this most excellent suggestion. Any takers? Julia Childs? Hannibal Lector? Rush Limbaugh?

So many excellent suggestions, I know, I know.
Duane
This essay is what's known in English writing as "straight-faced" satire. Well, it's just a little too straight-faced for me. Swift's extended ironic rambling suggest's using Irish children as a food source to solve the problem of the down-trodden masses. It eliminates 100 thousand children from extended suffering, provides an income source for their poor parents, and provides table fare for the upper society. Swift was extremely aggravated with the Irish political system, the English class syst ...more
Anthony Vacca
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Matt
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


This proposal made by J. Swift for combating poverty and overpopulation is as simple as it is ingenious.

But that's the problem with simple and ingenious ideas: There must be someone to find them. Swift was a far-sighted visionary. Although expressed at the end of the 18th century the solutions depicted in his text are still relevant to modern society. I am sure some grave problems of today would be fairly easy to solve. With only some slight modifications to Swift's proposal hunger and poverty
...more
booklady
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone over the age of 14
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
Jonathan Ashleigh
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Christopher
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bonnie
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Pink
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Haha, I didn't know what the proposal would be! How very biting! I'm glad I wasn't spoiled before reading this. I think I'd have liked Jonathan Swift.
Paula W
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
It gives a whole new meaning to "People are our greatest resource", doesn't it? This little satire made me miss Jon Stewart all over again.
Franky
“But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal….”

Clever, brilliant and humorous satire and treatise here from Jonathan Swift that takes many a shot at several different aspects of how society handled the problems of poverty and starvation in Ireland as well as the rich among other areas. I find it amazing how Swift could take irony to a new level and for
...more
Fionnuala
The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women ...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
Esraa Aljuburi
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a sad read for me , the words depicting mothers followed by 4, 5 or 6 children all in rags importuning every passenger for alms , reading this satirical article, one could imagine that famines, extreme poverty and conflicts that lead Jonathan Swift to write his proposal were mere past and a blissfully no such atrociousness is still present in our days, while the contrary is true.
Such scenes are still very common, at least in my home country.

The world is still suffering, especially childr
...more
Gloria Mundi
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Diana
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Yet another read for my Brit Lit class. Swift's satire at it's finest. This author is one of the reasons I took the class, I enjoy his work. That being said this one was a bit shocking to me. I have always known the basics behind this piece, and his resolution to dealing with all the poor children in Ireland. That being said I spent most of my time reading this being extremely happy it was pure satire. Selling your babies to the gentry as a meat product, very strange. Early version of Soylent Gr ...more
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.
Anne Zappa
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The hospital's obstetrician department seemed to look like the inside of a stock exchange building. There was constant tumult of men bidding for all the babies that were to bee born that day. If a buyer was lucky, a lot of triplets were born on the day of his bid. The hospitals were provided with high security. These sites had become hot spots for suicide bombings. The terrorists had been manipulating people, using the name of Islam to besmirching the innocuous act of cannibalism. These men were ...more
Lit Bug
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Bettie
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Bettie by: Wanda and Laura
Opening: 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. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn t ...more
Kaethe Douglas
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
Terris
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Wow! This one is so funny, also scary and disgusting! But what a smart thinker and writer Swift was!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Reading 1001: A Modest Proposal 2 7 Jan 31, 2018 06:27AM  
Romania: A Modest Proposal de Jonathan Swift 1 24 May 23, 2017 10:31PM  
Play Book Tag: A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, 1 star 8 29 Mar 22, 2017 02:22PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lord of the Flies
  • Amelia
  • Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2)
  • The Rape of the Lock
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Purloined Letter
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The Unfortunate Traveller: Or, the Life of Jack Wilton
  • Tono-Bungay
  • Aaron's Rod
  • Areopagitica
  • Bunner Sisters
  • Ormond
  • The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
  • Euphues the Anatomy of Wit: Euphues & His England
  • Love in Excess
  • Amadis of Gaul
See similar books…
1,145 followers
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
“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 fricasie, or a ragoust.” 11 likes
“A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.” 3 likes
More quotes…