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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
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Gulliver's Travels (original 1726; edition 2011)

by Jonathan Swift

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13,058135175 (3.64)445
Member:Keksa
Title:Gulliver's Travels
Authors:Jonathan Swift
Info:Penguin Press/Classics (2011), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Victorian, fantasy, adventure

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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)

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Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Jonathan Swift’s classic satire novel Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships was released in 1726 but in 1735 the title was amended simply to Gulliver’s Travels. The novel was popular not only because it was a parody on the popular “travellers’ tales” genre but as a satire on human nature. It later gained increase popularity in its abridged form as a classic in children’s literature.

It seems a little odd to me that many people have experienced Gulliver’s Travels as a children’s book. Comparing what I know from the abridged children’s book to the version I just read, it feels like a completely different book. The abridged version I believe only focuses on books 1 and 2 and all satire, allegory or symbolism has been stripped from it, which means the bulk of makes Jonathan Swift a great writer has been completely removed and only the fantastical elements remain. Other classics received a similar treatment to turn into a kids book including, Robinson Crusoe, The Thousand and One Nights (known as The Arabian Nights) and to a less extent Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan.

When reading a book like Gulliver’s Travels it is important to remember that Jonathan Swift deals heavily in irony. Take for example his essay ‘A Modest Proposal’ in which he suggests a solution to the population issue in Ireland. He suggested that we need to “regard people as commodities” and went on to say that “A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.” This straight-faced proposal is a form of Juvenalian satire where Swift mocks the heartless attitudes the government has towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.

Gulliver’s Travels’ satirical themes are very subtle but are typically directed towards moral, political, social and religious ideals. The main satirical themes I found within the novel focused on war, corruption in the laws and politics and the ignorance or arrogance of doctors. There is a lot of irony within the book, for example the term medical malpractice refers to ordinary medical practices and horrific carnage is meant to be extremely fun.

This is a book that comes with more layers than an onion; we could look at the travel novel as a genre, colonialism, and even the changes in Gulliver’s opinions and language over the course of the book. You could even read this as a rebuttal to Defoe’s optimistic account of human capability in Robinson Crusoe which was published seven years earlier. On the surface, you can look at Gulliver’s Travels as four different short stories but if you decide to explore it deeper you are heading down a rabbit hole you may never escape.

I have to admit I didn’t spend as much time as I should have and explored some of the ideas within this classic a little deeper. I was very aware that if I dug deeper I would be stuck reading this book for the rest of the year, maybe the next. I am fascinated by this book, I would love to dig deeper in the future but with the aid of a study guide or something similar. I will be reading this book again and I would like to encourage others to pick it up if they haven’t done it in the past. Swift really has a decent grasp on satire; so much so that we have the term Swiftian to refer to his satirical tone and pessimistic outlook in literature.

This review originally appeared on my blog: http://literary-exploration.com/2014/11/18/gullivers-travels-by-jonathan-swift/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Nov 27, 2014 |
The first time I read Gulliver’s Travels, I was ten. My father and I were up in Michigan visiting my paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I remember it was the holidays, and we spent Christmas morning hopping around between family members’ homes.
My Great Uncle John, owner of a grand library, gave me a copy. Said it was his favorite when he was a boy (which I imaged had to be long, long ago since at 50, he seemed ancient).
I tackled this bad-boy like it was the best Christmas present in the world. While parts of it went right over my head at the time, I loved the idea of traveling to these bizarre worlds. It opened my brain up to the idea of fantasy novels.
As an adult, I can see the satire for what it is, which only makes me love it more.
Read the full review here: www.ravenoak.net ( )
  kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
Aargh. Really tedious. The tale of being in Lilliput was fairly humorous, but the rest were just tedious to the point of beating a dead horse (or a Honyhnhnm, as the case may be).

The Lilliput saga worked as a story, but none of the others did and I didn't think any of it worked as allegory either. Instead of learning from the civilizations he encountered, he became an unhappy shell of a person who couldn't even stand being in the same room with his wife and children. If there was no hope for the human race, why didn't he just off himself and put the reader out of his/her misery?! ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
I am doing work on masculinity with this book, but even with that interest in mind I did not particularly enjoy Gulliver. ( )
  raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
Read this in college. Obviously, extremely over-discussed. Not really my kind of read. ( )
  pife43 | Jul 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels: Reviewing a Classic in a Modern Context
 

» Add other authors (166 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Swift, Jonathanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asimov, IsaacEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blankensteyn, C. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christian, AntonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Amico, MasolinoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dettore, UgoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Formichi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geismar, MaxwellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grandville, JeanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kottenkamp, FranzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mehl, DieterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nimwegen, Arjaan vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nimwegen, Arjaan vanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, R.M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuenke, ChristaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weisgard, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winter, MiloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the third of five sons.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the main work for Gulliver's Travels. Please do not combine with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439491, Paperback)

Shipwrecked castaway Lemuel Gulliver’s encounters with the petty, diminutive Lilliputians, the crude giants of Brobdingnag, the abstracted scientists of Laputa, the philosophical Houyhnhnms, and the brutish Yahoos give him new, bitter insights into human behavior. Swift’s fantastic and subversive book remains supremely relevant in our own age of distortion, hypocrisy, and irony.


@LittleBigMan Awoke in an unfamiliar land. The boat and my crew are gone. Oh dear, the people here are very small. Oops. Sorry about that.

I don’t mean to boast; I’m not a terribly tall man. But these people of Lilliput are the size of child’s Johnson. Still, they have captured me.

I have become a great favorite of the Lilliputian court, whose antics are like an adorable tiny version King George’s, the blithering idiot.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:11 -0400)

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The unusual voyages of Englishman Lemuel Gulliver carry him to such strange locales as Lilliput, where the inhabitants are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land of giants; an island of sorcerers; and a nation ruled by horses.

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6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439491, 0140382402, 0451531132, 0141196645, 0141195177, 0141198982

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2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763624098, 0763647403

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Editions: 1478330945, 1909175943

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