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 public
Published anonymously in 1729, Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay, A Modest Proposal, puts forth the darkly comical idea that the starving poor of Ireland might alleviate their economic condition by selling their children as food for wealthy gentlemen and ladies.
Though the author has written a large Dedication, yet that being addressed to a Prince whom I am never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person, besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded or thought on by any of our present writers; and I being wholly free from that slavery which booksellers usually lie under to the…
At its core, Swift’s Modest Proposal satirizes English exploitation of Ireland in particular and the heartless attitude that rich elites can develop towards the poor in general. Along with Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal is an early English example of the black comedic genre.
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