Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
Letters from Africa

Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

You would think that such a devastating satire would have had an enormous impact when it was published in Dublin in 1729, but in fact it didn't. Swift's Anglo-Irish contemporaries saw it for what it was, a scathing Tory attack on Whig policies in Ireland, and (almost) everyone enjoyed it enormously. Many recognized it echoed Roman satires and placed it in the tradition of Dryden, Defoe (notably The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters, 1702) and Pope.

Does satire like this change anything? Perhaps not so much when your readers are on to you.



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