Polite Conversation

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Overview

A companion piece to the popular Directions to Servants, Polite Conversation is a witty, brilliantly conceived treatise on manners and small talk from the master of English satire. Beginning with an "expert" introduction to the perils of ill-educated discourse, Swift seeks to offer a remedy for conversational disasters. His aim: to ensure one is always equipped with the correct response, no matter the situation, and the means with which to stoke up conversation when it lapses into awkward silence. To prove his ...

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Overview

A companion piece to the popular Directions to Servants, Polite Conversation is a witty, brilliantly conceived treatise on manners and small talk from the master of English satire. Beginning with an "expert" introduction to the perils of ill-educated discourse, Swift seeks to offer a remedy for conversational disasters. His aim: to ensure one is always equipped with the correct response, no matter the situation, and the means with which to stoke up conversation when it lapses into awkward silence. To prove his theses, he then proffers three mock dialogues, citing the drawing room as the most suitable place to display the art of elegant and polite conversation. The result is a hilarious and deeply ironic analysis that is as relevant today as when it was first conceived. Irish clergyman and satirist Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) is best remembered for his philosophical parody Gulliver's Travels.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843911470
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Series: Hesperus Classics
  • Pages: 124
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Irish clergyman and satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is best remembered for his philosophical parody Gulliver's Travels.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    Social Lubricant

    It's surprising how many of the cliches and witticisms in this book are still around. You may enjoy spotting familiar phrases that Swift has turned on their side. The introduction is valuable: don't skip it. At its core, this work of satire mocks the pretentions of the well-connected and the tremendous effort that shallow, educated people often go through to avoid being seen as foolish or awkward when in the company of other well-coiffed, vacuous members of the elite. Sure, the book was written ages ago and class systems have shifted drastically, but you will find that Swift captured something truly enduring in this book: desperate ('this reeks of effort') and un-self-aware ('they can't be serious') desire for perfectly manicured conversations.

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