Jonathan Swift was born on this day in 1667.
Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667. Swift is famous for works including Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, and A Tale of a Tub. Known for his satirical writings, as well as his poetry and essays, Swift also wrote under several pseudonyms, including the name Isaac Bickerstaff.
A Modest Proposal is considered to be one of the best examples of satire ever written. Have students explore the elements of satire and parody using the lessons below. Then, have them extend that exploration by surveying instances of satire and parody in television and film, advertising, and journalism. Begin by dividing students into three groups and assigning each to either television and film, journalism, or advertising.
- Have each group explore their assigned topic, looking for examples of satire or parody. As they find examples, encourage students to locate concrete examples they can bring in for a class display. Examples might include a DVD case or movie review, a magazine advertisement, a newspaper editorial, a book or book jacket, etc.
- Working as a group, have students create an exhibit that highlights their findings. As part of the display, students should describe how each item is an example of satire or parody, what satirical technique is being used, and other related information.
This site, part of the Victorian Web, includes a biography of Swift, information about the political and social context of his time, his views on religion, and more.
Read a brief biography of Swift at the HyperHistory Online page. Also included is a link to related information.
This website offers the full text of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, available online or in PDF, Kindle, and several other formats.