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A Modest Proposal Paperback – 28 Jun 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Watchmaker Publishing (28 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603863559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603863551
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Jonathan Swift (1667 –1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. He is remembered for works such as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, 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 originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Carole Fabricant has edited this and supplied a detailed introduction. Virtually everyone must have read Gulliver's Travels or know the story, and many of us have also read A Tale of A Tub. Ms Fabricant has eschewed these to give us a selection of his other works, some of them not published in collections before. So here we have letters, as well as essays along with other works.

Jonathan Swift is one of the greatest satirists ever to have lived, if not the best, and here we have a great selection. From the opening piece on why mankind resembles brooms, to eating the poor children of Ireland Swift stretches his imagination and brain. Looking at religion, politics and economy amongst other things he is always intelligent as well as witty. He looks at puns as well and gives us excellent satire, parody and word play.

Although Swift was looking at and writing about what was happening in his age you don't necessarily have to be well versed in the history of the time, although a little understanding, especially as regards Ireland is of help. Because mankind will never change, we all have the same thoughts and emotions, we all see stupidity and injustice around us Swift is still relevant to us in this day and age, and lets be honest always will be, thus making his writings immortal.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful By smat on 11 Oct. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an example of where kindle does not work and is a rip off. This good edition is supplied without a contents page or chapters so there is no way of finding any of the individual sections except endlessly flipping through, and YET IT is very expensive - no cheaper than the print copy that contains index, contents and all usual functions of a paper book. Kindle is brilliant where the content is designed for this reading device but a disaster for classic books or works not designed for kindle. I want my money back.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Sharp Political Satire 31 Dec. 2009
By Bagels - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Short and to the point, this is political satire at its best. While some background of Irish history is helpful, what I most like about Mr. Swift's arguments is that they can apply to any society where the group in power frets over what to do with the poor. I was in the middle of a book on the history of the Civil Rights movement in the American South when I read this, and what struck me was how Swift's satire lined up with the events a continent and centuries away from the original subject.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
English Satire at it's Finest 29 May 2008
By William Hoffknecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
So I have not bought this copy, but I have a few different copies of A Modest Proposal and it is amazing.
Jonathan Swift is really the father of english satire in literature and, along with Gulliver's Travels, this is his magnum opus.
The basic idea is a proposal for economic reform by the export and eating of babies. Now the idea is rather gruesome, but Swift is not meant to be taken literally. The idea was so show how ridiculous people were being, fighting over religion and economics, by showing an idea that, truly could have worked for the time and place if people were okay with child murder. This is nothing short of one of the most hilarious arguments into the problems with governments and economic reform that was ever written.
I highly recommend this short piece for both humor, literature, and a look into the human social mind.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Master of Invective 17 April 2010
By Martin Asiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When Jonathan Swift published "A Modest Proposal" in October of 1789, he had determined to alleviate what he saw as the unnecessary plight of the starving poor of Ireland. For centuries the Irish had lived under the often harsh thumb of England which placed very many hardships on them. The English Parliament tended to view the Irish as a conquered people who existed only for the benefit of the mother country. Restrictive financial laws guaranteed that most of the revenue produced in Ireland would find its way into the coffers of the English treasury. Restrictive trade laws ensured that goods manufactured in one part of Ireland could not be transported and sold to another. And most egregious of all was the prevailing tendency of wealthy English landowners to hire landlords to run estates, villages, and apartments of all squalid sorts in Ireland while all the while charging exorbitant rents to those who could ill afford those rents. It is against the totality of what Swift saw as a massive wave of a lack of basic human care and sympathy for the downtrodden Irish that convinced him to write a tract that he hoped would draw attention to the inhuman conditions under which the Irish had to live. To accomplish this goal, Swift chose to write in a style with which he had a long familiarity--a mixing of bitter satire with biting irony. In essence, "A Modest Proposal" is an extended use of this mixture to present what would have otherwise been seen as an appalling use of cannibalism under the guise of a misplaced socially acceptable benevolence.

The structure of the essay is more than slightly reminiscent of the tracts that were then current. Authors of such tracts were fond of critiquing what they saw as the sociological issues of the day. Swift must have seen an opportunity to reveal his proposal to feed the starving masses of Ireland in a forum with which readers could instantly identify. However, where the vast majority of these other pamphlets were utterly serious in tone, Swift chose to mask his thesis using tones which range from stark realism to the outrageously ironic. The irony begins with his narrator, one who is at first portrayed as a man of benevolence, intelligence, and in possession of a strong moral conscience. The narrator commences with a grim description of Ireland's poverty-stricken female beggars who have with them numerous bedraggled ragamuffins. This opening leaves the reader to assume that the narrator's sympathies rest unerringly with these unfortunates. Almost immediately, however, Swift undercuts this incipient benevolence with the suggestion that his sympathy is mixed with other and contrasting emotions. His acknowledgment that these beggar children will eventually turn highwaymen or war with England is the first in a long line of hints, modest or otherwise, that his true purpose is an ill-defined series of pokes and retorts at England and surprisingly enough at Ireland itself. As Swift quickly enough gets to his central thesis that the babies of Ireland are to be fattened and slaughtered as food, the reader begins to wonder what he is supposed to make of Swift's narrator. As the narrator uses the soothing and disarming language of sociological rhetoric to advance his proposal to reduce Ireland's excess population by eating its youngest members, there is the initial tendency for the reader to view the narrator as the villain. However, Swift had far more in mind than merely to ridicule one man. Rather, it was his purpose to use the narrator as a sounding board by which he could assail his true targets: the wealthy of England who profit from the collective misery of Ireland and the Irish themselves who could so willingly even eagerly participate in their own degradation and ruination.

Swift's first target are the landlords "who as they have already devoured most of the Parents, seem to have the best Title to the Children." These landlords are symbolic of their masters, the landed English gentry who act like financial vacuum cleaners, sucking up the wealth of Ireland and placing it in the pockets of gentry. His second target is the entire Irish population whom he pictures as willing collaborators to their own moral and spiritual dissolution. It is by no means easy to distinguish which group holds Swift's greatest contempt. If it is true that the English are the original destroyers of the Irish social fabric, then it is probably equally true that the native Irish do not resist with any force the allure that money holds as the means to fatten the tables of the wealthy. Swift makes it clear that his view of the foibles of human weakness is based solely on the monetary. The interest of the English with reference to Ireland is based entirely on the number of pounds and shillings that can be safely extorted to the coffers in London. The only offer that the English make to the Irish is similarly based on the assumption that the Irish are a race with no sense of integrity or shame and can be manipulated by the Almighty Buck.

Toward the end of the essay, Swift's irony drifts into the truly morbid. His narrator is exasperated by the failure of anyone to come up with an alternative that is less bloody. He groans that he has no desire to entertain "other expedients," all of which are the non-ironic commonsense proposals that if given a chance might actually serve to help the Irish without resort to cannibalism. But of course, these proposals were never given the chance. By the end of the essay, the reader realizes that there was nothing "modest" about either the proposal or the narrator. The narrator's closing claim to impartiality is an ironic afterthought that a claim for benevolence does not equate to its actuality. And this may be Swift's ultimate comment on satire.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Brilliant Satire 2 May 2012
By Brandon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Johnathan Swift crafts a brilliant satire about serious issues of his day such as the widening wealth gap, growing poverty, lack of altruistic empathy, which are even more relevant today than they were in the author's time. A must read for the modern person.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Warning for Kindle shoppers 20 Mar. 2012
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Before you consider purchasing the Kindle version of this title, check the preview. It appears to me to be nothing more than a typewritten copy of the title essay. It is not the Penguin edition at all. It does not, for example, include the satire, Meditation on a Broomstick, for example. Caveat emptor.
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