Satire, naturally, is in the eye of the beholder: the literary world, consequently, is full of satirists who made the fatal mistake of failing to take their audiences with them. One of the funniest (and also one of the most depressing) moments in Malcolm Bradbury’s Stepping Westward (1966), set in an American university in the shadow of the Rockies, comes when its visiting English creative-writing professor, James Walker, decides to whisk his class through Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal (1729). Swift’s mocking solution to the problem of Irish famine is for the Hibernian poor to sell their children to be eaten by the rich. To a man, or woman, Walker’s pupils are either puzzled or outraged. It is left to the class anarchist to suggest that maybe we should re-evaluate our attitudes to cannibalism.


A Message from the Editors

Your donation sustains our efforts to inspire joyous rediscoveries.

Popular Right Now