Read A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works by Jonathan Swift Online


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 theThe 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 most famous of these is A Modest Proposal, in which he straight-facedly suggests that Ireland could solve its hunger problems by using its children for food. Also included in this collection are The Battle of Books, A Meditation upon a Broomstick, A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operations of the Spirit and An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity in England.This inexpensive edition will certainly be welcomed by teachers and students of English literature, but its appeal extends to any reader who delights in watching a master satirist wield words as weapons....

Title : A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works
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ISBN : 9780486287591
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 64 Pages
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A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works Reviews

  • Ori Fienberg
    2019-02-02 17:44

    I originally had two shelves: books that make me want to have children so I can read to themandbooks that make me want to have children so I can eat themBut 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.

  • Paul
    2019-01-21 14:55

    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, however, because there are passages contained herein which are quite tedious and a bit of a slog to get through. They're very much the exception rather than the rule, though, and this is a great read overall.I can only imagine what an outcry 'A Modest Proposal' must have caused when originally published. The people I've spoken to about it who didn't know the basic premise have found it quite shocking even today.

  • Jonathan Ashleigh
    2019-01-29 18:26

    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
    2019-02-20 18:29

    "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 repulsivas, tornam-no uma referência no género. "of what use is freedom of thought, if it will not produce freedom of action?" (p.51)

  • Marts(Thinker)
    2019-01-23 13:40

    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.

  • sologdin
    2019-01-25 19:31

    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 outworks here, including the opening dedication to some inbred aristocrat I should now, in right of a dedicator, give your Lordship a list of your own virtues, and at the same time be very unwilling to offend your modesty; but chiefly I should celebrate your liberality towards men of great parts and small fortunes, and give you broad hints that I mean myself. And I was just going on in the usual method to peruse a hundred or two of dedications, and transcribe an abstract to be applied to your Lordship. (27)Fourth such outwork explains the title: seamen have a custom when they meet a Whale to fling him out an empty Tub, by way of amusement, to divert him from laying violent hands upon the Ship. This parable was immediately mythologised; the Whale was interpreted to be Hobbes’ “Leviathan,” which tosses and plays with all other schemes of religion and government, whereof a great many are hollow, and dry, and empty, and noisy, and wooden, and given to rotation. This is the Leviathan from whence the terrible wits of our age are said to borrow their weapons. The Ship in danger is easily understood to be its old antitype the commonwealth. (39-40)Preface otherwise makes sure to avoid going forward “without declaiming, according to custom, against the multitude of writers whereof the whole multitude of writers most reasonably complain” (40). Speaker of the preface notes that in England it’s fine to state openly that “we live in the very dregs of time” (46)—not sure how to take that, as the layers of irony here are numerous—but it would be consistent with the retrograde politics.The ‘Tale’ proper proceeds as an allegory of three guys (Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist) who inherit cloaks (church praxis) from their father’s will (scripture) and go about dicking up their cloaks. This allegory is intermingled with digressions. The Introduction makes plain that the text is concerned with “oratorical machines” (50), from whose company attorneys are apparently excluded (?). We see that the scheme of “oratorical receptacles or machines contains a great mystery, being a type, a sign, an emblem, a shadow, a symbol, bearing analogy to the spacious commonwealth of writers and to those methods by which they must exalt themselves to a certain eminency above the inferior world” (53). Most interesting is the use of ellipsis to omit materials (as we may have noted regardingGulliver’s Travels). Author has a ‘hiatus’ regarding “faction” (54) and regarding Calvinism (140). (In the “Mechanical Operation” text, infra, he also specifically omits the explanation of “the whole scheme of spiritual mechanism,” i.e., ostensibly the point of the text, because “it was thought neither safe nor convenient to print it” (162).) Best elision, from the famous essay on madness, while working through the important problem of “how it is possible to account for such imaginations as these in particular men, without recourse to my phenomenon of vapours ascending from the lower faculties to overshadow the brain, and there distilling into conceptions” (118-19) (which is substantially identical to Ayn Rand’s epistemology, no?): “There is in mankind a certain […] and this I take to be a clear solution of the matter [!]” (120). So, there it is.Nice jab at ‘critics,’ insofar as we are told: For it hath been objected that those ancient heroes, famous for their combating so many giants and dragons and robbers, were in their own persons a greater nuisance to mankind than any of the monsters they subdued; and therefore, to render their obligations more complete, when all other vermin were destroyed, should in conscience have concluded with the same justice upon themselves, as Hercules most generously did. (72)Criticism is thereafter cunningly identified with the intentionto travel through this vast world of writings; to peruse and hunt those monstrous faults bred within them; to drag out the lurking errors, like Cacus from his den; to multiply them like Hydra’s heads; and rake them together like Augeas’ dung; or else drive away a sort of dangerous fowl who have a perverse inclination to plunder the best branches of the tree of knowledge, like those Stymphalian birds that ate up the fruit. (73) So, good to see that he has developed an enlightened attitude toward his interlocutors, for whom, I think, he has just recommended suicide.On the other hand, text will, at another moment, with perhaps a different speaker, suggest that Homer, “a person not without some abilities, and for ancient of a tolerable genius,” is nevertheless full of “many gross errors” (92).Anyway, have dwelled overlong on the “Tale,” which is first rate overall. Much of interest that I haven’t mentioned. Suffice to say that one speaker recommends a derridean oblique approach: get a thorough insight into the index by which the whole book is governed and turned, like fishes by the tail. For to enter the palace of learning at the great gate requires an expense of time and forms, therefore men of much haste and little ceremony are content to get in by the backdoor. For the arts are all in a flying march, and therefore more easily subdued by attacking from the rear. (104) “A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit”—Opens with the suggestion that Mohammed “is known to have borrowed a moiety of his religious system from the Christian faith”(153), and then descends to the bizarre proposition that “there are three general ways of ejaculating the soul” (155). Inter alia, deduces a “history of fanaticism” (167 ff.). After the ‘Tale,’ we have “A Tritical Essay,” “Meditation Upon a Broomstick,” “On Political Lying,” “The Drapier Letters,” and “A Character, Panegyric, and Description of the Legion Club,” about which little need be said. Also included:“Thoughts on Various Subjects”—A collection of generally non-satirical gnomics. I fucking hate the gnomic. Here, author outs himself as troglodyte with such items as “Law in a free country is, or ought to be, the determination of the majority of those who have property in land” (193). Uh, fuck you? Also: “Those who are against religion must needs be fools” (195). Whatever? This text also includes the famous ‘confederacy of dunces’ line deployed later by Toole.“An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity in England”—Builds a distinction between “nominal” and “real” Christianity; he won’t defend the latter, as it has “been for some time wholly laid aside by general consent as utterly inconsistent with our present schemes of wealth and power” (201), which strikes me as a nasty disqualificatory thesis. Seriously, you have a state church and you wrote this to oppose repealing the Test Act, no? (“Nothing can be more notorious than that the Atheists, Deists, Socinians, Antitrinitarians, and other subdivisions of freethinkers, are persons of little zeal for the present ecclesiastical establishment; their declared opinion is for repealing the sacramental test” (210). FFS. FFS!) “A Modest Proposal”—Obviously one of the great essays in English literary history. One thing I note now in reading through this time is that the impetus for the eponymous proposal is that “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 fricassee or a ragout,” which is the first overt reference to cannibalism in the text (259). (No “Battle of the Books,” weirdly.)Recommended for those who think praise was originally a pension paid by the world, readers affected in the head by tentiginous humour, and persons who have no children by which they can propose to get a single penny.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-10 13:47

    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 developing argument.

  • J.
    2019-02-02 12:42

    '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 suggestion is that the poor Irish should sell their children to the rich like cattle in order to gain financially. "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." He discusses the benefits of such commerce to butchers, for the making of gloves for ladies and boots for men. He also suggests that there will be no more domestic violence as women will be valued for child bearing. There were rumours that people indulged in cannibalism but those rumours existed in Edmund Spensers day.At the time William Petty was surveyor in Ireland and worked for Cromwell, he mapped and measured creditors, what was taken and given to soldiers and the cronies of Cromwell. These statistics were part of a belief in a mathematical solution. The Irish economy was extractive and produce was taken and sold in England.Swift was Dean of St. Patrick's cathedral a position partly of exile and due to failure in his career. In this work he is emulating his sermons, satirising people who think they can reform and holding forth that people will ever change. He contributed to public arguments about how Ireland was ruled. In the 1720's he objected anonymously via the 'Drapiers letters' to the underhanded winning of a contract to recoin the currency without the consultation of the Anglo Irish community. He became a hero for this intervention. Although Swift denunciates he doesn't necessarily sympathise with the people. I enjoyed this and I encourage visitors to Dublin to visit St Patrick's cathedral.

  • Nicky
    2019-02-11 11:55

    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 ancient and modern philosophy and literature. It casts writings (personified as their writers) in struggle against one another set in a library. But in a broader sense, it can be appreciated as expressing vanity, ingratitude, and disdain by some modern thinkers for ancient thinkers.Meditation Upon a Broomstick is a very short work drawing analogy between broomstick and man, speaking of the nature and purposes of each.An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity in Englandis a satire against the idea that shortcomings in human nature are religious faults. Even if religion were removed, vices due to human nature would still trouble mankind.Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit is a satire directed against all religious extremists. Swift refers to Muslims and Protestant Christians of his own age in particular. I can't help but think how relevant Swift remains more than 250 years after his death.

  • Mark Bratkowski
    2019-01-21 14:31

    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 argument is sarcastic and in opposition to his own beliefs; Swift was an ordained Anglican minister. I wasn't nearly as impressed with the other satirical writings. "The Battle of the Books" is about a battle between books written by ancient and modern writers. I felt left out while I was reading it because I didn't know who the "modern" writers of the 17th and 18th centuries were. The work also wasn't finished and that left me at a loss.I would like to read Swift's magnum opus, "Guliver's Travels", some day. However, I was disappointed by the overall body of his work in this set of essays. I found him to be highly witty, but he could also get too philosophical and meandering, and I often lost my interest in his writing.

  • Lady Dixie
    2019-01-31 14:26

    Swift's satiric proposal that Ireland solve overpopulation and hunger by literally eating their young. Still bristles.

  • Virginia M.
    2019-02-08 15:35

    Ci ho messo troppo, decisamente troppo.

  • John Yelverton
    2019-02-04 17:48

    The modest proposal would have been if someone had asked not to write this horrid thing.

  • Matt
    2019-01-29 13:49

    "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 who see the past through rose-colored glasses which are dipped in (bull) shit...I also like that Swift was a great hater of everything...also, unless I'm mistaken, a royalist conservative and a pretty trenchant religious one at that....and yet, and yet, as Yeats was wont to say: "world besotted traveler he/ served the cause of human liberty"So SNL, the Daily Show, Carlin, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce et al were 200 years in the making (and that's just talkin' Swift here, mind you)...Also I remember reading that prominent literary critic of his once remarked that the narrator this book has what he brilliantly refers to as "a nervous hiccup"- he's not being outwardly snotty, there's no punk rock-ishness intended. You can hear it if you listen, its in the last sentence. The narrator's more like an acquiescent bureaucrat sincerely attempting to remedy the situation at hand for the colonial overlords...who happen to be enslaving his own people with exorbitant rents and property rights which leave much to be desired....which is pretty much where I think a satirist is these days. If you look at the characters or personae your average comedian or satirical talk show host (ahem, Stewart and Colbert, especially, which gives it a different spin entirely) has, its all about being a sort of befuddled, confused, average guy who is trying to make these lumbering, incoherent systems and bizarre situations run smoothly. The technocrats are mad. The comedian is a member of the lower order, too smart and too normal to be from the avant- outside, anxiously clearing his throat and calling the masters of the universe into question using irony, paradox, scatology, and an almost childlike sense of absurdity to show how wrong and possibly evil the powers that be are, how they show themselves to be almost without fail. It's not that they stand outside the system- it's that they are a part of the madness and therefore have a front row seat to the insanity in high places. Butchering of language (that precious gift), the unnecessary deaths of innocents, baldfaced lies, cynicism to assume that such things are or should be the due matter of course, sinister opportunities resulting in collateral damage and mind-boggling failure and outrageous profits for shady people who everyone already pretty much knows to be shady, deep down, because they are a part of it too. \So, therefore, all the proposals are modest. Immodesty wouldn't notice itself without the contrast. Swift lives!

  • Booklovinglady
    2019-02-17 17:35

    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) background knowledge into the period they were written in. Should you possess this background knowledge, then please, read this little book, as Swift’s satirical writings are fabulous!See also the Netherlands & Flanders group, message 100 of their Summer Challenge 2014, for a review in Dutch.

  • Orcun
    2019-02-01 16:45

    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 inanmışımdır; Swift'te, buna bir de İrlandalı cüreti/cesareti ekleniyor. Burada bir araya getirilmiş, çoğu hiciv olarak sınıflandırılabilecek yazıların çoğunda, bir yergi üstadının kullandığı üç silahı, Swift'in de büyük bir ustalıkla kullandığını görüyoruz: Alegori, ironi, parodi. Bazı noktalarda fikirleri fazla sinikmiş gibi görünse de (oysa ki bir papazdır kendileri!), birkaç yerde cinsiyetçilik yapsa da, yazıların çoğunluğunu büyük bir zevkle okudum.

  • Patrick Nichols
    2019-02-01 17:26

    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 even daedalus would praise, are not, in the firm belief of this author, in fact, funny at all.However, the titular essay is still quite witty, and less guilty of the verbal excesses of the other essays in this collection.

  • James Violand
    2019-02-05 18:53

    Buying a 412 page book for what turns out to be the nine page Proposal, is a waste of money. How fascinated would you be to read excerpts of a private journal recording thoughts on the mundane and on persons you have no knowledge of, nor interest in? Would you rather read copies of private letters? Much of the book displays Swift’s caustic wit, but, unless you are an enthusiast for Irish history, there is so much minutia that a quarter of the volume is given to footnotes! Save your money and find “A Modest Proposal” in another edition.

  • Erica
    2019-01-23 18:55

    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 fricasie, or a ragoust."Propositions of cannibalism make me giggle. :)

  • J.
    2019-02-09 18:48

    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.

  • Meg
    2019-02-02 11:32

    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
    2019-02-14 19:36

    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
    2019-02-03 13:48

    When I taught this piece, I had my students come up with different dishes that babies could be made into--it was absolutely hysterical.

  • Joe Kendall
    2019-02-06 17:43

    So the best essay in the whole story was definitely A Modest Proposal. But several of the other essays were very entertaining also. The reason for the only 4 stars instead of the 5 is because, while the Battle of the Books was entertaining, it was overly long and missing big portions of it. Also, I honestly had zero idea what was going on in A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operations of the Spirit.

  • Whitney Price
    2019-02-10 12:40

    At first I thought oh my lord he’s not even joking..... I mean people have suggested crazier things. But oh, the glorious satire against the political state in Ireland at that time is palpable. Good show.

  • Ibrahim
    2019-01-31 16:27

    Jonathan Swift & Western Fornication:

  • Bill
    2019-02-18 14:29

    I love satire, and this is a collection from one of the past masters of the craft.

  • Aydin Akinci
    2019-02-02 11:45

    Yeri, tenkit nasıl yazılır yazarken nasıl eğlenir, yüzyıllar evvel en güzel örneğini yazmış Swift, tavsiye ederim..

  • Elliot Chalom
    2019-02-07 13:49

    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 referred to by Swift, but I suspect that this is an issue that many readers - even those much smarter than I - have. Almost by definition the 'ancients' are far more famous than the 'moderns', because in using them as a reference one would only choose ancients that were still renowned at the time of the writing (and therefore are still renowned today 300 years later, a short time later relatively speaking). The moderns were (presumably) renowned in their time, but that does not assure their lasting fame. All in all it made the entire piece difficult to follow and fully appreciate. Nevertheless, the concept and imagery was too good to dislike the essay overall."A Meditation upon a Broomstick" is brief and clever, an unusual but surprisingly accurate metaphor that would get 5 stars even if Sweift had only said "Man is like a broomstick ... figure it out.""A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operations of the Spirit" is in many ways the reason the collection gets a 5-star rating overall. Yes, "A Modest Proposal" is brilliant (we'll get there) but this piece is to my mind a lost classic. For anyone who ever had any thoughts about the reasons why religion can lure people in like the most tempting of any vice (and most of us have had that thought at some time or another), Swift's essay will resonate like nothing else. He could be speaking about any religious group at any time in any place and his words would ring no less true."An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity in England" is easily the funniest of the non-Proposal essays, but perhaps Swift's satire is so biting in this one that I don't quite get the joke. I'm honestly not sure which side of the debate he comes out on, which makes me feel a little stupid, but no matter - I enjoyed it anyway. 4 stars.As for "A Modest Proposal" ... can an 8 page essay get 6 stars? Laugh out loud funny. Smart. Cruel. Pointed. Timeless. Perfect. I've never before read a political work as sharp as this and can't imagine seeing one again anytime soon. If you had told me that "A Modest Proposal" would remind me of Stephen Colbert I would have thought you were lying, but that's the best modern comparison. Imagine the funniest piece you've ever seen on the Colbert Report and double it - now you have "A Modest Proposal".

  • Amarinske
    2019-01-29 16:50

    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 critical point of view Swift had on certain topics was really enjoyable to read (especially during 'Discourse Concerning the Mechanical operation of the Spirit').The other works were well written as well, but less enjoyable, I didn't gain as much from them.I am really glad I gave this book a second try, because on the first try way I was disappointed and almost hated the book. Now it turned out it just wasn't the right time and I can actually gain from reading it and enjoy the process as well.I will say this, though: Do not read this if you do not like satire. (In this version not getting references is not a problem as they are annotated and explained at the bottom of the page. Another plus in this edition)If you are not sure, just try the book and put it down if you don't like it.