- Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
- Format: Paperback | 240 pages
- Dimensions: 132mm x 208mm x 18mm | 136g
- Publication date: 24 January 1997
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0486292738
- ISBN 13: 9780486292731
- Edition: New edition
- Edition statement: New edition
- Illustrations note: Ill.M.
- Sales rank: 143,912
Swift's masterful satire is as entertaining today as it was when first published in 1726. Written with great wit and invention, Gulliver's Travels has captivated readers for nearly three centuries.
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In cut and bowdlerized versions, Swift's Gulliver's Travels has been turned into a book for children. The humour of scale accounts for this: Gulliver as a giant among the tiny Lilliputians, Gulliver as a finger-sized manikin among the giant Brobdingnagians. Mary Norton exploited the same fantasies in The Borrowers: the device appeals to children, who are giants to their toy soldiers and farm animals, and dwarfed by adults. But Gulliver uncut is emphatically a book for adults and, like so much that Swift wrote, both funny and shocking. Through Gulliver he exposes the unutterable horror of war and the destructive and sometimes pointless excesses of science; he anatomizes greed, hypocrisy, pretension, oppression, vanity, pettiness and the ludicrous posturing of politicians. Swift's contemporaries picked up specific references to persons and events which may mean little to us now. But it matters not at all, as flaws in humanity are timeless and universal, and as tragi-comically prevalent now as in 1726. Our task is still, as in Forster's phrase from Howards End, to connect 'the beast and the monk' within us. The Yahoos in Gulliver are gross, primitive, savage, coarse, violent and mindless. Gulliver recognized to his mortification that he, like all humans, was basically a Yahoo and that the best we can hope for is to be 'clean, civil, reasoning Yahoos'. Review by Victoria Glendinning, whose many books include a biography of 'Jonathan Swift' (Kirkus UK)
Back cover copy
Regarded as the preeminent prose satirist in the English language, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) intended this masterpiece, as he once wrote Alexander Pope, to "vex the world rather than divert it." Savagely ironic, it portrays man as foolish at best, and at worst, not much more than an ape. The direct and unadorned narrative describes four remarkable journies of ship's surgeon Lemuel Gulliver, among them, one to the land of Lilliput, where six-inch-high inhabitants bicker over trivialities; and another to Brobdingnag, a land where giants reduce man to insignificance. Written with disarming simplicity and careful attention to detail, this classic is diverse in its appeal: for children, it remains an enchanting fantasy. For adults, it is a witty parody of political life in Swift's time and a scathing send-up of manners and morals in 18th-century England.