Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift

I recently found out about an app called "Serial Reader".  It is an interesting concept; you "subscribe" to a classic novel, and the app sends an "issue" daily to your device.  Each issue is approximately 10-15 minutes of reading, and covers the chosen classic work in its entirety.  It is a free app, or you can upgrade for $2.99 to get features like continue reading (so you don't have to wait until the next day if you have a little more time to read), the opportunity to read more than one book at a time, and the option to "pause" your subscription delivery if needed.  I immediately opted for the upgrade.

I chose A Modest Proposal to be my first subscription, to test out the app.  This very short work came in 2 issues.  I'll admit that I just swapped out a different Swift title on my Classics Club list to this one.  I hadn't read Swift before, and didn't know about this at all!

I'm not even sure what to call this - a novella?  A long essay?  I don't know, but it certainly makes an impact.  Not knowing anything at all about Jonathan Swift, I started to imagine how this piece came into being.  I kind of imagine Swift and his buddies down at the pub, complaining or getting vocal about the poverty issue in Ireland over a few pints.  And A Modest Proposal was Swift's tongue in cheek solution to the problem - sell the infants of the poor people as food for the rich.  The whole tone of the piece is of utmost seriousness, in which he lays out the problem, introduces his solution, and provides several points of support for his solution.  The whole thing is ludicrous, even though he makes his point clearly.  Check it out if you're looking for something short and very well written but cannot be taken as seriously as it is written.  It is a brilliant piece of satire.

A Modest Proposal
by Jonathan Swift
First published 1729
Source:  Serial Reader


1 comment:

bentneedle said...

Oh wow! I think I need that app. Pronto.

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