(PDF) [Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings]

An Excellent conceited Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet jI picked this up to do a re read Out side of the Lilliput part of the story I remember little about this I read it over 20 years agoThe book is several different stories told by Gulliver on his wild travels They are 1 Lilliput the most famous one people know this story for2 Brobdingnag the opposite of lilliput He goes to a land of giants3 Laputa Balnibarbi Luggnagg Glubbdubdrib and Japan4 HouyhnhnmsIf this book hadust been about Lilliput and Brobdingnag it would have been a 4 star read for me but taking the whole into account and it s barely 3 stars There are weird things that happen all through this story In Lilliput the royal uarters are set on fire and Gulliver rushes to helps He urinates on the building to put out the fire The ueen is so upset about this that they want to blind Gulliver The first two parts are interesting Starting in Part 3 things get very slow and somewhat miserable Jonathan is a wonderful writer and that is something but it wa Jonathan Swift 1667 1745 writes towards the end of his book an author perfectly blameless against whom the tribe of answerers considerers observers reflecters detecters remarkers will never be able to find matter for exercising their talents Had Swift known GR he would probably have included reviewers in the above sentence This thought warns me against continuing any further with my reviewBut the Travels of Gullible Gulliver 1726 have made me laugh like no other book for a long time And I want to share thisThe introduction in my edition by Michael Foot was almost as funny For Foot surveys the history of the reaction to Swift s book from its immediate huge success and popularity during the Enlightenment to the deprecating opinion shared by many but not all John Keats was one of the exceptions in puritanical Victorian times They were affronted by the shameful indecency their own minds projected onto Swift s linesSome of the uotes from Victorian responses made me laugh as heartily as Swift s words a monster gibbering shrieks and gnashing imprecations against mankind tearing down all shreds of modesty past all sense of manliness and shame filthy in word filthy in thought furious raging obscene His rehabilitation started during WW1 beginning with a lecture in Cambridge in 1917 Gulliver s attacks on war and the idiocies of nationalism would have met welcoming ears in that university hall Some rejection still lingered for a while and surprisingly both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley were highly critical of SwiftNowadays many aspects of this book appeal strongly to our cynical and detached age What we have now is filtered by the Disney Cartoons and The Economist has chosen Gulliver as the title to its Travel Section And of course the company Yahoo also got its name from the most detestable of Swift s characters As everyone knows this is a book about travelling The popularity of two of its four parts and their easy refashioning into tales for children disguise the fact that the book was written as a parody of the then prevailing travel writing If for us Travel now means consumption then it still meant discovery But in all discoveries there is some degree of presumptuousness And this is what bothered Swift But this book is a ourney in itself Travel into Acerbity Each part becomes acidic and sour than the previous one And if the Victorians found it indecent we have to admit that there is a fair amount of stripping in this book but not of clothes Swift is stripping human nature For apart from the hilarious and highly creative stories the sum of reflections on the relativity of some of our beliefs which we hold as absolute constitutes a fully developed treatise on us The Fantastic and Utopian character is disguised by Swift s framing with exact dates each of the four trips Gulliver sets off on the 4th of May 1699 and returns from his final trip on the 5th of December 1715 May be it was this kind of specificity that made one of Swift s contemporaries go and have a look at his Atlas to check where Lilliput was And another adamantly denied that the whole thing could be trueApart from children some mathematicians have also been delighted by Gulliver s adventures demonstrable proof The third trip to the Land of Laputa some knowledge of Spanish helps in understanding this title is an amusing diatribe against mathematicians and academics A good reader of Swift must be willing to embrace self parodyThe fourth and final trip is the most controversial one since it is a direct blow at the arrogance of human nature And yet this part is an excellent exposition of Swift s thinking and his deep aversion of brutality and despotismApart from Swift s exuberant imagination I have greatly enjoyed his language In spite of the irony and satire his writing reads as coming directly from the pen of Mister Common Sense Swift wrote in a limpid form keeping a perfect pace that accompanied an impeccable stream of clear thinking Swift was known for his conviction on the appropriate use of language That the use of speech was to make us understand one another and to receive information of facts now if any one said the thing which was not these ends were defeated And to make sure of this he would read aloud to his servants to confirm that his text would be understoodHe kept his humour until the end and this is what he wrote for his own epitaph He gave the little wealth he hadTo build a House for Fools and MadAnd shew d by one Satyric TouchNo Nation needed it so much I close this book feeling a great respect for the smart polite Houyhnhnms who enjoy a level of wisdom and common sense that should be the envy of all of us And he gave it for his opinion that whoever could make two ears be the envy of all of us And he gave it for his opinion that whoever could make two ears corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before would deserve better of mankind and do essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together I don t think there will ever be a time when Gulliver s Travels doesn t feel like a perfect mirror of humankind I remember the first time I read it as a child I was immeasurably impressed with the sudden insight that things are small or great depending on comparison with other things and that there are no absolute values That knowledge combined with the idea that you learn So much than ust a fantastical tale of a man ourneying to mystical lands This is thinly veiled satiresuper thinA seafaring Englishman ends up in four fairytale worlds where people are small gigantic smarties in the maths and where people are horses By the second ourney you d think he d be done with all this but in the end he s done with humans and has trouble living amongst his own kindWritten in the old style where listing off occurrences constituted an adventure and a perfectly well constructed off occurrences constituted an adventure and a perfectly well constructed Gulliver s Travels can be at times a tedious read It s filled with a laundry list of actions I did this and then Another excellent invention of the Laputan Academy is a kind of fellowship or club which they call in their language Sdaerdoog or superior literature and indeed the name does not belie the thing for it is uite the most superior manner of enjoying literature yet devized Noting that every man will be well acuainted with the great books of the world yet few have the inclination to read them the Laputan savants have ordained a scheme no less ingenious than euitable whereby this onerous duty is divided among the members of the club On completing the perusal of a book the reader composes a short pamphlet that they term a weiver containing all the knowledge a gentleman of good sense and education may learn from the writing in uestion This he then distributes to his fellows who can can now read a score of weivers in the time they would perforce have laid down on the reading *OF A SINGLE TOME THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE *a single tome There are members of the who do naught but read weivers the length of the day it is impossible to exaggerate the prodigious extent of their learning which would be the envy of any Oxford or Cambridge professor Oh manThis book was sheer torture The writing was dry and bland and boring Swift had some really interesting ideas An island of people no larger than your finger Another island with people that are 60 feet tall A floating island an island of scientists the island of Yahoosbut the execution was hard to appreciate I came very close to put. For the last 250 years people everywhere have enjoyed reading about Lemuel Gulliver's travels in the strange Gulliver's Travels and Other WritingsTion at the end of the novel was a bit of a cop out It appears as though the reader is left to determine whether Gulliver was 1 a man disgusted with humanity as a result of his exposure to the morally righteous and logically rational Houyhnhnm or 2 a man whose ill conceived and intemperate worship of and infatuation with the Houyhnhnm made him Best Practices In Leading The Global Workforce just another unbalanced yahoo whose loss of perspective and left him deranged Part of the answer of this would stem from determining whether Swift was holding up the Houyhnhnms as a model to follow or whether their own passionless adherence to logic was itself a subject of parody However as with the end I think Swift was less than certain of his position or of the position he wanted to state and thus left too much ambiguity to the reader Now I understand that often these kinds of soft endings are perfect as they allow the reader to interpret the work for themselves However here where Swift has been bludgeoning the reader with his opinions throughout the entire work to suddenly punt and not clearly express a case for his protagonist seems to be a miss That said I am the first to acknowledge that it is anywhere from a distinct possibility to a metaphysical certainty that the miss here is on my part but that was how I saw it I wanted Swift to wrap up and summarize the effect of theourney on Gulliver and provide a statement about what should be drawn from his experience so that a better road could be paved for using his travels to address the problems on which it shined its light 30 to 35 stars StillHIGHLY RECOMMENDED Everyone remembers poor Gulliver in breeches and three cornered hat pinned down with cords on a beach by an army of minute soldiers A young boy s nightmare no doubt but there is much to this book than this rosy image reproduced endlessly on the pediments of toy shops and theme parks This is indeed an astonishing book Gulliver s Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World presents itself as the plain and faithful account of the voyages of Lemuel Gulliver a surgeon from Redriff and a captain of ships The name of Jonathan Swift is omitted as well as the fact that the whole narrative is a heap of whoppers from cover to cover Moreover the straight faced narrator fooling his candid reader s credulity concludes the books and declares that he rather chose to relate plain Matter of Fact in the simplest Manner and Style because my principal Design was to inform and not to amuse thee IV 12Swift s novel a masterful sham is indeed written in the detailed and earnest manner of an ethnographic documentary Through the four parts of this book Gulliver first discovers the islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu with its diminutive inhabitants off the coast of Java if you ever fancy going there the narrator provides a few maps and GPS coordinates he then sails to the West coast of America and discovers Brobdingnag where people are on the contrary of gigantic proportions later on he travels across the Pacific Ocean and visits the flying island of Laputa no pun intended and Balnibarbi as well as the necromancers of Glubbdubdrib the immortals of Luggnagg and finally Japan spot the odd one out if you can On his last trip around New Holland aka Australia he travels to the idyllic island of the neighing and rational Houyhnhnms and of the despicable Yahoos the most politically loaded and in my opinion best part of this book A total of seven discoveriesEach time Gulliver s ship is caught in a storm and shipwrecked he lands on a strange island meets the inhabitants is the host of an important figure of that country relates a couple of toilet humour anecdotes learns their tongue twisting language describes their strange manners laws gastronomy and architecture provides to his host s great surprise and dismay an account of the Europeans habits and customsHowever what makes Gulliver s Travels one of the significant works of the early 18th century is apart from the Irish clergyman s zany imagination in devising fictional countries and populations his astounding deadpan humour tongue in cheek mockery and even savage assault against his contemporaries and human nature in general The universal ridicule and relentless attacks aim at practically everything in a sort of encyclopaedic undertaking nobility titles impractical scientific achievements and Royal Academies philosophical argon the Uackery Of Physicians The General of physicians the general that runs among lawyers the foolish wish for a long life European politics and wars the English constitution Western colonialism human grandeur ie vanity itself and apologies to half my Goodreads friends the fake gloss of women s skinSome of the fiercest invectives against the human race are of course put in the mouths of Gulliver s non human hosts for instance the Prince of Brobdingnag I cannot but conclude the Bulk of your Natives to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth II 6 Sometimes Gulliver speaks for himself having strictly examined all the Persons of greatest Name in the Courts of Princes for an hundred Years past I found how the World had been misled by prostitute Writers to ascribe the greatest Exploits in War to Cowards the Wisest Counsel to Fools Sincerity to Flatterers Roman Virtue to Betrayers of their Country Piety to Atheists Chastity to Sodomites Truth to Informers adding ust after that with a magnificent irony I hope I may be pardoned if these Discoveries inclined me a little to abate of that profound Veneration which I am naturally apt to pay to Persons of high Rank who ought to be treated with the utmost Respect due to their sublime Dignity by us their Inferiors III 8 However harsh and offensive these comments might sound even today I must confess there is always something extraordinarily amusing and toe curling invigorating even about Swift s prose It is all in all an essential book on the human conditionNeedless to say Gulliver s Travels it at the epicentre of a literary tradition of both adventures on sea to which it is an obvious parody and social satire that goes as far back as Homer s Odyssey through Sindbad s tales the Travels of Marco Polo Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel Erasmus In Praise of Folly Thomas More s Utopia Dafoe s Robinson Crusoe Montesuieu s Persian Letters up to a significant part of modern literature Voltaire s Candide and Microm gas James Cook s Voyages of Discovery Poe s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Carroll s Alice s Adventures in Wonderland Wells Island of Dr Moreau Orwell s Animal Farm and all their recent avatars say The Hitchicker s Guide to the Galaxy to name ust one book or even Godzilla and King Kong on the big screen This was my favorite reuired reading in high school well actually probably tied with Animal Farm It was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise The reference points I had were cartoon retellings of this from my youth I only really had an image of Gulliver vs the Lilliputians and that was only the most basic giant in a land full of very small people storylines well they were trying to entertain children so it doesn t have to get much complex than that But the Book Is Made Up Of Stories Than Just Gulliver As is made up of stories than ust Gulliver as giant hence the Travels plural The content of these stories is witty and not so thinly veiled political and social commentary In the end it didn t feel like reuired reading at all it was a truly enjoyable adventure I was glad to take Okay I didn t finish this sucker It was poor I was kind of shocked I was thinking why does no one point out that this is a giant rip off of Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Honey I Blew Up the Kid It s painfully obvious I don t see why this Danial Defoe mope has not had his ass sued maybe he avoided that by writing his ripoff in a long ass frankly Boring Olde Worlde Style So That All The Lawyers Would olde worlde style so that all the lawyers would asleep before they got their writ typed up The other stuff that isn t Lillypoot and Borodbynag or whatever is talking horses and shit and I m pretty sure they re in Lord of the Rings so ripoff although I never saw that movie all the way through because it s kind of boring and also kind of gayps some real geek types have PMed me saying that Daniel Dafoe didn t write thia d it was Jonathon Swift I mean get a life They re all dead right they re like deader than dead who cares lol. E to life in Martin Aitchison's vivid illustrations Here is a story to make you laugh but to make you think to. .

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Ting this novel down many many times I admit to not being a fan of early victorian literature but this was Vida de perros just painful Let s face it Jonathan Swift was a snarky snarky bitch Gulliver s Travels is like a giant pimp slap across the human race face and I am so glad I finally read this in a non school non structured environment because I had a whole lot fun with it this time around Swift s wit insight and delivery are often though not always remarkable and he crams well thought outabs and toe steppings in this slim 250 page novel than I would have thought possible in a work twice this long This is certainly a classic that I believe people should read and experience for themselves outside of any reuired scholarly endeavors because I think that many of the ills injustices and idiocies that Swift addresses in this novel are still unfortunately very relevant today While Swift is short on resolutions or ideas for improvement one of my disappointments he does a marvelous Oeuvres de Ennius Quirinus Visconti, Vol. 3 job of exposing the problems that he perceived as existing within the 18th Century world most particularly England and opening the door for a expansive popular discussion on these issuesKudos for that Mr Swift From a plot perspective Gulliver s Travels is a series of adventures by Lemuel Gulliver to various undiscovered fictional worlds that act as a backdrop for Swift through his main charactermouthpiece to scathe rebuke poke fun at andor uestion all manner of political religious and social institutions philosophies and groups Everything from blind adherence to political ideologies or religious dogma to ideological intolerance to arbitrary social divisions and even the non practical aspects of the rampant scientific explorations so in vogue at the time Few groups were spared from Swift s caustic lens and many of his attacks are vehement bordering on brutal Good That is how such a work should be IMHO Overall I thought this was very worthwhile and many of Swift s commentaries were piercing brilliant and exceptionally well done Some of my personal favorites include Parodying the massive waste of energy and resources expended in political infighting in Great Britain between the Whigs and Tories by having the two Lilliputian political parties separated solely by the aesthetic choice between wearing high heels and low heels I can only imagine how this parody played out among the MP of England at the time Making light of the tremendous importance placed on seemingly trivial differences in religious doctrine that often lead to the most acrimonious wars and civil strife by explaining that the genesis of a long and bloody war between rival factions of Lilliputians stems from a disagreement over where to crack eggs One group break their eggs on the small end Small Endians and the other break their eggs on the large end Big Endians What I found most clever about this attack was the use of an ambiguous reference in each side s holy book that states all true believers break their eggs at the convenient end That isust about perfect satire Mr Swift A biting ab at traditions and customs that people cling to long after there is no practical reason to do so is elouently made when Gulliver describes the Lilliputians custom of burying their dead head first They bury their dead with their heads directly downwards because they hold an opinion that in eleven thousand moons they are all to rise again in which period the earth which they conceive to be flat will turn upside down and by this means they shall at their resurrection be found ready standing on their feet The learned among them confess the absurdity of this doctrine but the practice still continues in compliance to the vulgar When Swift is on his game he is very very effective A wonderful anti war statement is made through the horror and disgust with which the King of the giant Brobdingnagians their size depicted as representing moral superiority reacts to Gulliver s description of gunpowder and his offer to teach the Brobdingnagians the formula for producing it I told him of an invention discovered between three and four hundred years ago to make a certain powderthat a proper uantity of this powderwould drive a ball of iron or lead with such violence and speed as nothing was able to sustain its force That the largest balls thus discharged would not only destroy whole ranks of an army at once but batter the strongest walls to the ground sink down ships with a thousand men in each to the bottom of the sea and when linked together by a chain would cut through masts and rigging divide hundreds of bodies in the middle and lay all waste before them That we often put this powder into large hollow balls of iron and discharged them by an engine into some city we were besieging which would rip up the pavements tear the houses to pieces burst and throw splinters on every side dashing out the brains of all who came nearThe king was struck with horror at the description I had given of those terrible engines and the proposal I had made He was amazed how so impotent and groveling an insect as Icould entertain such inhuman ideas and in so familiar a manner as to appear wholly unmoved at all the scenes of blood and desolation which I had painted as the common effects of those destructive machines whereof he said some evil genius enemy to mankind must have been the first contriver As for himself he protested that although few things delighted him so much as new discoveries in art or in nature yet he would rather lose half His Kingdom Than Be kingdom than be to such a secret which he commanded me as I valued any life never to mention any Sorry for the long uote but I thought that was a particularly moving passage My personal favorite purely from an enjoyment standpoint is but I thought that was a particularly moving passage My personal favorite purely from an enjoyment standpoint is depiction of the scientifically adept and common senseless Laputans who exemplify Swift s serious gripe against scientific research that doesn t have a practical and foreseeable benefit to society The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect with sooty hands and faceHe has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers He told me he did not doubt that in eight years he should be able to supply the governor s gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate Gulliver s exploration of the scientific academy of Laputa was my favorite part of the novel and I thought Swift s satiric chops were at there sharpest in relaying the societal dysfunction of the Laputans Now I must drop some ice in the bath water As much as there was to enjoy in this work I was not as blown away by it as I would have liked to have been For one thing I thought that Swift s prose was merely serviceable and I didn t find much in the way of elouence in his delivery It was missing the ear pleasing lyrical uality that I have come to expect when reading classic literature The writing wasn t bad by any means but it wasn t as enjoyable or memorable as I had hoped This may be an unfair critiue given that this book s legacy lies with its content but the lack of beautiful prose kept me from being able to enjoy the interludes and non meaty passages of the work Also some of Swift s critiues fell a bit flat and didn t resonate with me as much as those mentioned above For instance the recasting of famous historical figures like Alexander Hannibal and Caesar as being subject to the moral frailties of the human animal than the established texts would have us believe Swift uses this as the springboard to discuss the less Than Wholesome Practices Of Securing wholesome practices of securing power today and that is a good thing I ust found the use of the legends of antiuity unnecessary and not particularly effective That s probably a personal bias of mine as I have always found those figures fascinating to read about Here s my biggest problem One of the principal arguments that Swift makes in his novel is that balance and moderation are the keys to success both individually and as a people Extremes of behavior and belief are the seeds from which disastrous conseuences are born according to Swift That s easy to say and it has an attractive ring to it but I wish Swift had done a little with it This walkmy right into my biggest complaint about the storythe ending I thought that the ambiguity of Gulliver s condi. Ountries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag The people of these countries with all their curiously human failings com. .