Maria-Angeles Ruiz Moneva
A Modest Proposal in the Context of Swift’s Irish Tracts: A Relevance-Theoretic Study
Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. Isbn13: 978-1-4438-1662-5
Swift's A Modest Proposal has always aroused the interest not just of literary critics, but also of linguists and pragmatists. Within the latter approaches, the study of irony, and more concretely, the intentions and attitudes that must have guided the production of such an intricate work, have always been paramount. However, it seems that within pragmatics the analysis has been restricted so far to the 1729 work itself. In the present author's view, it is interesting to contextualise this masterpiece of irony and satire within Swift's wider writing on Ireland, an approach that remains to be carried out. Accordingly, this work sets out to analyse a selection of Swift’s Irish Tracts, with a view to tracing the evolution within Swift's literary production of his views and attitudes towards the situation of his homeland. Although different pragmatic approaches are applied, the emphasis is laid upon the contributions that the relevance-theoretical framework and its studies on irony may bring to the understanding of this particular Tract. The works selected are meant to cover and also be representative of the main phases currently distinguished within Swift's writing on the "Irish Question". It is therefore hoped that a deeper analysis of the former works by Swift on this topic will provide new insights for a better understanding of A Modest Proposal.
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