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The Annotated Gulliver's Travels Hardcover – October 29, 1980

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.; 1st edition (October 29, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517539497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517539491
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 4.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Asimov does his typically thorough job of annotating, filling this book with tons of information about obscure references and historical tidbits. However, I was a bit dismayed at Asimov's heavy-handed critique of Swift in the 3rd book. As many readers of Swift know, the 3rd book contains a very harsh criticism of science and technology. Asimov decides to use his annotations to defend science. While his aims are certainly admirable, I think that he takes Swift's comments out of context in an effort to prove his own case.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
As writer, scientist, and Sci-fi buff, Asimov is the perfect annotator for Swift's masterpiece. A word of caution though: don't read this book unless you have read the without-annotations original first -- and preferably read it twice. I say this because, although the annotations are highly informative, they do distract from the flow of the wonderful narrative.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Incredibly entertaining and enlightening annotated edition of Gulliver.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a scholarly copy and a Kindle copy of Gulliver's Travels, but nothing comes close to the enjoyment of Isaac Asimov's skill. The Annotated Gulliver's Travels is the best of all editions.
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