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Particularly in the 1720s, Swift became vehemently engaged in Irish politics. He reacted to the debilitating effects of English commercial and political injustices in a large body of pamphlets, essays, and satirical works, including the perennially popular Gulliver's Travels. A Modest Proposal, published in 1729 in response to worsening conditions in Ireland, is perhaps the severest and most scathing of all Swift's pamphlets. The tract did not shock or outrage contemporary readers as Swift must have intended; its economics was taken as a great joke, its more incisive critiques ignored. Although Swift's disgust with the state of the nation continued to increase, A Modest Proposal was the last of his essays about Ireland. Swift wrote mostly poetry in the later years of his life, and he died in 1745.
In the Fall of 1994 I spent an afternoon in the Sinatras’ house in Palm Springs, CA because I was the Faberge expert for Christie’s auction house and the Sinatras had a Faberge collection they wanted appraised. For some reason, Christie’s decided that it would add glamour to the house call if I took the European Faberge expert wth me, a twerp who was supposed to be some Russian Prince. Actually, Alexi wasn’t as bad as some of the other Russian “nobility” I’ve met in the course of my work in Faberge, which has left me with a profound skepticism that the words “Russian” and “nobility” ever make sense together.