I read that when I was far younger, and simply adored it. Jonathan Swift wove quite a few of my childhood dreams due to his other books, and A Modest Proposal simply strenghtened that in my morbid nature, hah.
I'm almost ashamed to admit that, the above-noted essay aside, I've never read anything else by Swift. I received a copy of Gulliver's Travels as a Christmas present when I was 10 or so, but it was an abridged version and I was too snobby to read it.
Yup - read it in highschool. I often refer to it in conversation, especialy if I'm mocking someone's ideas, but not that many people have the slightest clue what I'm talking about, so they don't laugh. Nor do they get offended, so it's probably for the best; I'd get my ass kicked a lot more often if more poeple had read/remembered A Modest Proposal.
I usually refer to it when I need to define satire, as opposed to parody - a subtlety sadly lost on much of this television-drenched world.
It's funny that you should mention it. We were just talking about this the other day at my book club. It's been so long since any of us had actually read the damn thing.
Thanks for the link.
We read it in English class in high school, when studying satire. Some people were horrified; I was all "hehe, eating babies."
Oh, and I do whip it out to discuss the present political situation.
I make some of my more advanced students read it without preamble, and then ask them what they think.
Hours and hours of fun!
I bet. I'm guessing a lot of them are pretty damned offended and upset.
or they suspect something is up.
Afterwards, we can have an effective discussion on the role of satire, but usually they don't get juvenalian satire unless they're hit over the head with it.
Sometimes though, it's mostly for my own amusement.
I had to read it for one of my first year classes at uni. I thought it was brilliant. It reminded me of Valorie Solanas' The SCUM Manifesto. I enjoy satire more than most genres.
It reminded me of Valorie Solanas' The SCUM Manifesto.
Oh shit. That was satire? I always read it as the straight-up ravings of a mad-woman (in both senses of the term).
Oh my. I must re-read that.
Well, she was mad. I heard she was in many asylums. And of course, shooting Andy probably just verified her madness. (She did have her reasons though-- not that they were valid.) I think you have to take something so outrageous as satire. It's just as outrageous as suggesting human beings eat babies, no? There has been controversy surrounding it but I didn't find myself thinking of it as anything but a parody.
Asylums, eh? Maybe I wasn't so wrong after all (especially since I momentarily forgot the assassination attempt).
I think you have to take something so outrageous as satire. It's just as outrageous as suggesting human beings eat babies, no?
Do you? I hate to risk invoking Hitler during an internet discussion, but his plans for the Final Solution were about as far as you can get from a joke. There are some very sick bastards in this world, and sometimes, they aren't kidding at all.
I read she was in two or three of them. And yes, can't forget the lovely assassination attempt.
You have a point and I agree. I suppose it depends on how far you take it. Solanas didn't actually attempt to eliminate the male species. I'm not saying that automatically means she wasn't too serious about her suggestions, but it's probably more likely. I just felt a sense of parody while I was reading it. A mocking tone.
I just felt a sense of parody while I was reading it. A mocking tone.
I wonder if you read it the same way I did, some years ago, a very earnest newsgroup for Greek Orthodox people. The discussions were almost entirely about what were - to me - incredibly arcane disagreements based on two fundamental beliefs - (1) that there is a God; and (2) that the Orthodox are closer to him than anyone else - that to me were non-sensical.
To make a long story short, I wonder if you were reading-in parody where it wasn't intended.
Well, religion never enters into anything I do, say or read. So yes, non-sensical indeed.
There is no way to ever know what an author's intentions were unless you ask them directly. And really, it doesn't matter. I am quite sure authors would be rolling in their graves if they saw the way their works were being taught in high school, college or university.
People read things and have different interpretations of the same piece. I found more people in my class read it as a parody than as a real opinion though, including my professor and TA.