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The Annotated Gulliver's Travels Hardcover – October 29, 1980
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Top Customer Reviews
That minor cavil aside, this is an excellent book for young people studying this great classic of literature, and for fans of both Swift and Asimov.
What "value added" does Asimov contribute? Well, for starters, there is the eclectic collection of illustrations, culled from several centuries. Second, there is Asimov's scholarly love of Swift's old-fashioned language (readily understandable for the most part, but sometimes with an exotic ring). Asimov has a knack for finding those words that are likely to confuse the modern reader, and he explains these clearly. Third and most important, as a masterful sci-fi writer, Asimov is able to analyze the contributions of Gulliver's Travels to that genre. For example, Asimov points out that -- particularly in the third book /section (Laputa) -- Swift takes pain to explain "the marvelous" in scientific terms. Well, at least he tries to the extent possible. This is a hallmark of science fiction, as opposed to fantasy.
Another example of sci-fi in Gulliver is the "discovery" of the two moons of Mars. Asimov provides a particularly good discussion on how Swift might have come up with such a prescient "discovery".
Asimov speculates on the made-up languages in Gulliver. At one point he states they are non-sense, but then turns around and speculates that Lilliput is a corruption of "little bit". Good guess - but maybe it is "little part" or "little pint"? Also, Swift's made-up languages often have an Italian ring - Swift himself says so regarding the language of Laputa.Read more ›
Asimov's annotations are wonderful, witty, and conversational. I wish his other annotations were as easy to locate and own.
Would make a great gift for a particularly bright teenager.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Issac Asimov, the science fiction writer? Yes, that Isaac Asimov. While a modern reader MUST have an annotated version of Gulliver's travels in order to get the most out of it... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Hominid Philosophiae
Gulliver's Travels was written long enough ago that the particular politicians and monarchs mocked by Jonathan Swift are probably not going to be immediately obvious to a typical... Read morePublished on February 14, 2011 by Neurasthenic