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A Modest Proposal and Other Writings (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Swift , Carole Fabricant
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The political dilemma of Ireland; the state of faith in England; the charms of the Beggar's Opera; the importance of puns . . . This selection gathers together some of Swift's most brilliant prose, from high politics to social gossip, from savage tirades to lighthearted social satire. In addition to his classic essays, the collection includes several of Swift's letters to Alexander Pope and other great thinkers of the age.

Editorial Reviews


From the Publisher

Designed for school districts, educators, and students seeking to maximize performance on standardized tests, Webster’s paperbacks take advantage of the fact that classics are frequently assigned readings in English courses. By using a running thesaurus at the bottom of each page, this edition of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift was edited for students who are actively building their vocabularies in anticipation of taking PSAT®, SAT®, AP® (Advanced Placement®), GRE®, LSAT®, GMAT® or similar examinations.

PSAT® is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation neither of which sponsors or endorses this book; SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board which neither sponsors nor endorses this book; GRE®, AP® and Advanced Placement® are registered trademarks of the Educational Testing Service which neither sponsors nor endorses this book, GMAT® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admissions Council which is neither affiliated with this book nor endorses this book, LSAT® is a registered trademark of the Law School Admissions Council which neither sponsors nor endorses this product. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 7525 KB
  • Print Length: 457 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140436421
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (September 24, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9X1U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,751 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp Political Satire December 30, 2009
By Bagels
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.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars English Satire at it's Finest May 29, 2008
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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master of Invective April 17, 2010
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Satire May 2, 2012
By Brandon
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.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning for Kindle shoppers March 20, 2012
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT! January 18, 2011
By Jenn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this book! It's one of my favorites! However, if you're not used to the vocabulary in it, or your understanding of the turmoil that was going on in this period of history is weak, you might not get the full effect or humor. It's still a worth-while read. Go for it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Humor at Its Best October 4, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I received a photocopy of this work in English Literature; this bound copy is far better. I laughed again as I read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Om nom nom nom babies! April 15, 2013
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
fascinating proposal for the british economy to include the sale and consumption of babies and infants. if for nothing else read it for the lulz
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Swift pulled a swifty with this one.
Swift's facetious proposal must be read at least twice to catch all the nuances that he loaded this piece with. One of the best essays ever written.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The solution of too-many green eyed children. Although the ...
The solution of too-many green eyed children. Although the true irony lies in Britain's use of the Irish as one of several slave classes for hundreds of years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by rebecca adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 months ago by David G.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Intriguing. Some of the references were completely lost due to the time difference, but the overall ideas it presents were very interesting. Read more
Published 21 months ago by BenDickin
5.0 out of 5 stars ITS A COOKBOOK
i finally translated the title from ancient english using a universal translator... i think you guys should know before you just buy this book
Published 23 months ago by Eric Drewes
5.0 out of 5 stars The satire primer for all writers
Classic, perfect and short. My father gave me this book when I was 12 and it warped my writing forever, much to my delight and pleasure. Besides all that, it's a great read.
Published on September 6, 2012 by Cfount
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof that satire is not new
I do believe that if Jonathan Swift were alive today, he would be writing for The Onion. Which, coming from me, is highest praise.
Published on August 26, 2012 by Meaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wowwww!...LUV IT !
Sir Jonathan...Pray tell, what has come over you? It was like looking at a car wreck, I just couldn't look away! Five stars for holding me in your grip!
Published on September 3, 2011 by BookBuff
5.0 out of 5 stars Still shocking
Swift's treatise lives up to its reputation, hilarious and somewhat offensive. His serious delivery of the prescription of eating Irish children still shocks and amuses, especially... Read more
Published on August 9, 2011 by Lindsey Peterson
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