A Modest Proposal

Author:

Pray what is Man but a topsy-turvy Creature?’

To ease poverty in Ireland by eating the children of the poor was the satirical ‘solution’ suggested by Jonathan Swift in his essay ‘A Modest Proposal’ (1729). Here Swift unleashes the full power of his ironic armoury and corrosive wit, finding his targets – the British ruling class and avaricious landlords, and secondarily the brutalized Irish, complicit in their own oppression – with deadly precision. His masterly essay is accompanied by a generous selection of prose works, among them pamphlets attacking British rule in his native Ireland, periodical essays critiquing the new capitalist and military classes, a journal detailing his political activities in London, a loving tribute to his beloved ‘Stella’ after her death and pieces on such diverse subjects as the absurdities of astrology, the joys of punning and comical rules for servants. Ingenious and unconventional, Swift is revealed here as one of the greatest satirists in the English language.

 

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Pray what is Man but a topsy-turvy Creature?’

To ease poverty in Ireland by eating the children of the poor was the satirical ‘solution’ suggested by Jonathan Swift in his essay ‘A Modest Proposal’ (1729). Here Swift unleashes the full power of his ironic armoury and corrosive wit, finding his targets – the British ruling class and avaricious landlords, and secondarily the brutalized Irish, complicit in their own oppression – with deadly precision. His masterly essay is accompanied by a generous selection of prose works, among them pamphlets attacking British rule in his native Ireland, periodical essays critiquing the new capitalist and military classes, a journal detailing his political activities in London, a loving tribute to his beloved ‘Stella’ after her death and pieces on such diverse subjects as the absurdities of astrology, the joys of punning and comical rules for servants. Ingenious and unconventional, Swift is revealed here as one of the greatest satirists in the English language.

 

 

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Paperback

2015

ISBN: 9780141398198