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Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences-biographical, historical, and literary-to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
Considered the greatest satire ever written in English, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms: Lilliput, where the people are six inches tall;
Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants; Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos. Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver's Travels is one of literature's most durable masterpieces. Michael Seidel is Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He has written widely on eighteenth-century literature. His books include Satiric Inheritance: Rabelais to Sterne (1979), Exile and the Narrative Imagination (1986), and Robinson Crusoe: Island Myths and the Novel (1991). Â
About The Author Michael Seidel is Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He has written widely on eighteenth-century literature. His books include Satiric Inheritance: Rabelais to Sterne (1979), Exile and the Narrative Imagination (1986), and Robinson Crusoe: Island Myths and the Novel (1991).
Reviews Gr 7 Up-Jonathan Swift's satirical novel was first published in 1726, yet it is still valid today. Gulliver's Travels describes the four fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a kindly ship's surgeon. Swift portrays him as an observer, a reporter, and a victim of circumstance. His travels take him to Lilliput where he is a giant observing tiny people. In Brobdingnag, the tables are reversed and he is the tiny person in a land of giants where he is exhibited as a curiosity at markets and fairs. The flying island of Laputa is the scene of his next voyage. The people plan and plot as their country lies in ruins. It is a world of illusion and distorted values. The fourth and final voyage takes him to the home of the Houyhnhnms, gentle horses who rule the land. He also encounters Yahoos, filthy bestial creatures who resemble humans. The story is read by British actor Martin Shaw with impeccable diction and clarity and great inflection. If broken into short listening segments, the tapes are an excellent tool for presenting an abridged version of Gulliver's Travels.
Thought-provoking and still relevant to the political follies of modern times, if you look past the veneer of the entertaining story. It has probably been 40 years since I read this in high school, and wanted to re-read it following a visit to Ireland. The story is based on 4 fantasy voyages to different isolated areas of the globe, outside the known geography of the time it was written, 1726 - it would be set in modern times as different planets, like Star Trek episodes. The allegories and satire appear to elude many of those who are writing 2 line reviews of this story, like -boring, too many pages, archaic. Those reviewers must be products of the dumbed-down education rubric of today, looking at the story at face value simply for entertainment without trying to understand the author's intent or interest in the story behind the story. Most people are acquainted with the Lilliputians, the tiny people, but are unfamiliar with the rest of the book. Having recently read a novel based on the writings of Roger Williams in the 1600's, this book was highly influenced by the political events of the English Civil War and that of the Protestant/Anglican in-fighting represented by the Big-Endians and Little-Endians, fighting battles over which end to crack open an egg . Some things seem astonishingly prescient that conditions have changed very little in nearly 400 years, such as the Royal Academy scientists of Laputa spending years of research to extract sunshine from cucumbers, or mixing paint by smell, compared to the grant-writing researchers of today, like shrimp on a treadmill. The fourth voyage to the land of the Houyhnhnms described a utopian society, where the dignity and intelligence of the horse-like creatures ruled, without lying or guile, and the inferior human-like Yahoos describes the unfortunate lot of those living in modern society, infested with imperfections, disease, crime, greed, and envy. Remarkable insights can be taken, particularly in this edition, with linked footnotes, an interactive glossary for the archaic terms (there were a few that got missed), and the extras about the various films that have been made over the years. An excellent commentary to be shared and discussed.
Love this book! Own all four volumes. Read it sometime, it's really good. Oh, and don't mind if it's political. It mentions a lot of political stuff because Jonathan Swift (the author) was very political himself. He, in fact, wrote this story for political reasons. Just letting you know that. Oh! And Lilliput isn't as nice as they put it in the movies. The giants from Brobdingnag are better and also the Houyhynhyms from volume four. Well, enjoy this book!
Guliver's Travels is an exiting book as John Swift brings you in to the lives of: little peole, giants,and brings you into worlds of imortality, a floating island, a world were horses have peple as pets, and much more.
Read An Excerpt From Michael Seidel's Introduction to Gulliver's Travels When pressed to write up his own account of his travels by the captain who rescued him from Brobdingnag, Lemuel Gulliver says, "I thought we were already overstocked with books of travels: that nothing could now pass which was not extraordinary". Gulliver has an odd sense of his experiences if he thinks they would pass for anything but extraordinary, and extraordinary they certainly are. Gulliver's Travels was a phenomenal success upon its publication in October 1726, read as eagerly and voraciously by all classes of English society as Defoe's Robinson Crusoe had been a few years before, in 1719. The poet and dramatist John Gay wrote Swift about the reception of the Travels in London: "From the highest to the lowest it is universally read, from the cabinet-council to the nursery" (October 28, 1726). Within a year of its publication, editions of Gulliver's Travels were pirated and translated on the European continent. Its famous episodes and its nomenclature-Lilliputians, Brobdingnagians, Yahoos-are to this day recognized all over the world, from Gulliver theme parks in Japan to the most up-to-date dictionaries of modern slang. How did Gulliver's Travels get written and what were Jonathan Swift's motives in writing it? In the first decade of the eighteenth century, Swift shared certain obsessions with others, namely a group of writers, statesmen, and professionals who called themselves the Scriblerus Club, consisting of the poets Alexander Pope, Thomas Parnell, and John Gay, the Queen's physician, John Arbuthnot, and the chief minister of state, Robert Harley. Under the general direction of Pope, one of the club's primary projects was a volume of memoirs written purportedly by the invented character who gave the club its name, Martin Scriblerus, a modern hack-writer or scribbler (the terms were interchangeable) who embodied all the cultural, intellectual, and political vacuities of the early eighteenth century as Pope, Swift, and their friends saw them. In 1713 Pope assigned Swift the sixteenth chapter of a proposed satiric memoir on Scriblerus's various journeys, intending to capitalize on the immensely popular genre of travel writing. He encouraged Swift to detail Martin's travels to four different lands, mapping voyages to distant continents along the sea-lanes of known and unknown worlds: "to the Remains of the Pygmaean Empire," to "the Land of the Giants," to the "Kingdom of Philosophers, who govern by the Mathematicks," and to a land in which "he discovers a Vein of Melancholy proceeding almost to a Disgust of his Species" (Pope, The Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus, p. 165). Pope must have sensed he had assigned Swift what amounted to a labor of love in parodying the travel literature of the time because, as is often true for satirists, Swift thrilled at making fun of those things that he found appalling. And
there is little doubt Swift found appalling the sorry lot of characters Gulliver describes in the Travels as crisscrossing the world: "fellows of desperate fortunes," some of whom "were undone by lawsuits; others spent all they had in drinking, whoring, and gaming; others fled for treason; many for murder, theft, poisoning, robbery, perjury, forgery, coining false money; for committing rapes or sodomy; for flying from their colours, or deserting to the enemy; and most of them had broken prison". Memoirs by these sorts and their more sanitized brethren filled Swift's personal library, which, in lots cataloged at his death, contained more than 600 travel accounts. When Swift began the assignment given him by Pope, he sketched out some material for what would become the first and third books of the Travels, the Lilliputian and Laputian voyages. But he shelved the rest of the assignment before the end of 1713 at a time when the high-ranking political ministers for whom he worked in England fell out of power. Swift felt it prudent to abscond to Ireland, and although he held the position of Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin-which seemed to him a booby prize for his larger ambitions-he considered himself a virtual exile in Ireland for the rest of his life. The political situation soured for Swift to an even greater extent in the early 1720s. With his patrons dead, still out of power, or in exile, and with some of his friends under scrutiny for treason, he decided to reprise his notes for the Scriblerus project and convert them into a four-part book. He completed the first and third voyages and supplemented them by composing what is now the fourth voyage to the land of horses, Houyhnhnmland, and then returning to what is now the second voyage, to the land of giants, Brobdingnag. By 1725 he was boasting in letters to Pope that he thought he had something truly splendid on his hands, and he asked his friend to arrange for publication. Pope handled all the necessary details in England. After a decade and a half, Swift made good on his original commitment, though Martinus Scriblerus fell out and Lemuel Gulliver dropped in.
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