Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Voltaire and Swift

The more I read Candide, the more I discover similarities between Voltaire's rhetorical devices and those of Jonathan Swift. In  "A Modest Proposal", Swift completely satirizes British authority by using irony and extreme examples of hyperbole, especially when he sardonically suggests that Irish children should be cooked and eaten. Similarly, Candide makes absurd references to cannibalism and satirizes religious structure. Both writers make statements about their respective views of society through comedic (and often horrific) details.


chrissy said...

I admire both Voltaire and Swift for so blatantly making fun of the society's they lived in. They disagreed with many things going on in their time and weren't afraid to speak their minds, in hilarious ways.

Olivia Celata said...

Ironically while Swift satirizes England's government, Voltaire actually prefers England over France. He only retreats there, feeling like France has too much censorship, since England has more freedom of speech. Voltaire does agree with Swift that England has definite problems with fighting in their Parliamentary system.

C-Sted said...

As we mentioned in class, Candide is also reminiscent of Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The satire, the picaresque style, the apparent mockery of the fictional novel... these books are so similar that one must conclude that Voltaire and Swift were significantly influenced by each other. I wonder, since they were in fact contemporaries, if they ever met.