by Dr. Jonathan Swift
Originally published in 1729
Hmm … not exactly sure what to say about this. In fact, I’m going to suggest that you hop over to Rebecca Read’s review and read before you continue reading this post. She does a great job of analyzing this satirical essay. Had it not been for the fact that I read her review a while back, I would have been completely confused when I read this essay.
~ Ok, I’ll assume you’ve read her review and are back now. ~
I picked this up because it is on the 1,001 Books list and because it is very short. I’d like to know WHY it is on the list though. Is it because it is such a good example of satire? Maybe, but I still found it decidedly unpleasant.
In this essay Swift proposes to solve Ireland’s population and economic problems in the following manner:
A portion of all babies will, at age 1, be sold for food. Their parents would sell them willingly, because they would have enough children to feed/clothe already and because they would get a decent sum of money for their infant. The buyers would be the wealthy who would then serve the meat as a delicacy. This solves the problems of overpopulation (especially Catholic overpopulation) and begging, and also puts money back into the economy.
Yeah, like I said, decidedly unpleasant. Without Rebecca’s review in my mind, I would have been completely disgusted with this essay. As it is, I still didn’t like it at all.
If you didn’t listen to me before, I do suggest you go over and read Rebecca’s review. She’s makes a lot more sense than I do on this one.