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Swift's A Modest Proposal

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 29 January 2009

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most brilliant and shocking satires ever written in English – Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Masquerading as an attempt to end poverty in Ireland once and for all, a Modest Proposal is a short pamphlet that draws the reader into a scheme for economic and industrial horror.

Published anonymously but written by Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal lays bare the cruel presumptions, unchecked prejudice, the politics and the poverty of the 18th century, but it also reveals, perhaps more than anything else, the character and the mind of Swift himself.

With John Mullan, Professor of English at University College London; Judith Hawley, Professor of 18th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London and Ian McBride, Senior Lecturer in the History Department at King’s College London.

  • Beggar Mother and Child

  • Further Reading

    Jonathan Swift: Major Works, ed. Angus Ross and David Woolley (Oxford World’s Classics)

    Robert Mahony, Jonathan Swift: The Irish Identity (Yale University Press)

    David Nokes, Jonathan Swift: A Hypocrite Reversed (Oxford University Press)

    Stephen Fox, The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Swift (Cambridge University Press)

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