Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

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Jonathan Swift’s ironical essay “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or Country; and for making them beneficial to the Publick”, commonly shortened to “A Modest Proposal”, was printed anonymously in late October 1729. It is the most original of the several tracts that Swift wrote in the 1720s, when he was Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, to draw attention to the plight of Ireland, the country of his birth. Repressive laws, heavy taxation, and absentee landlordism had for decades crippled the Irish economy. The situation worsened in the late 1720s, when successive harvest failures caused widespread famine and increased beggary. On 11 August 1729, Swift wrote to his friend the poet Alexander Pope…

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Citation: Fachard, Alexandre. "A Modest Proposal". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 January 2014 [, accessed 17 April 2024.]

7048 A Modest Proposal 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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