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Gulliver's Travels (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 25, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0141439495 ISBN-10: 0141439491 Edition: Revised

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Editorial Reviews


Four-part satirical novel by Jonathan Swift, published anonymously in 1726 as Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. The novel is ostensibly the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon and sea captain who visits remote regions of the world. In the beginning Gulliver is shipwrecked on Lilliput, where people are six inches tall. The Lilliputians' utterly serious wars, civil strife, and vanities are human follies so reduced in scale as to be rendered ridiculous. His second voyage takes him to Brobdingnag, where lives a race of giants of great practicality who do not understand abstractions. Gulliver's third voyage takes him to the flying island of Laputa and the nearby continent and capital of Lagado. There he finds pedants obsessed with their own specialized areas of speculation and utterly ignorant of the rest of life. At Glubdubdrib, the Island of Sorcerers, he speaks with great men of the past and learns from them the lies of history. He also meets the Struldbrugs, who are immortal and, as a result, utterly miserable. In the extremely bitter fourth part, Gulliver visits the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent, virtuous horses served by brutal, filthy, and degenerate creatures called Yahoos. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Anglo-Irish poet, satirist and clergyman, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), was born in Dublin to English parents. He embarked on a career as diplomatic secretary and became increasingly involved in politics. He published many satirical works of verse and prose, including 'A Tale of a Tub', 'A Modest Proposal', and 'Gulliver's Travels'. Robert DeMaria, Jr. is Henry Noble MacCracken Professor of English at Vassar College, New York. He has published widely on 17th and 18th century literature.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (February 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439495
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Swifts prose is clear and concise.
We get a good idea of the issues that dominated English, Irish, and European politics as well as other important social matters.
Bill R. Moore
I recommend this book for all ages especially those people who love adventure.
Mr B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

162 of 170 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am certain that nearly every person in the Western world (and some beyond it) is familiar with the quintessential scene of "Gulliver's Travels," that of a man tied down to the ground and surrounded by tiny humans. I am equally certain however, that only a very small percentage of these people have actually read Jonathan Swift's satirical novel, first published in 1726. If you consider yourself a serious reader, then "Gulliver's Travels" is essential reading, one of the many classic novels that you simply *have* to read before you die.

Divided into four parts, "Gulliver's Travels" is presented as the historical memoirs of Lemuel Gulliver who narrates his strange adventures in undiscovered countries. In doing so, Swift explores and satirises almost every conceivable issue important in both his time and in ours: politics, religion, gender, science, progress, government, family and our basic ideas of defining humanity. As well as this, the novel is full of wonder and humour (some of it bordering on the vulgar!) and Swift's exploration of imaginary societies and countries is satire at its peak - no one before or since has reached Swift's mastery of this style.

Some of the more direct parodies concern people and events that have long since passed away, and as such an index or extensive background is required in order to fully understand the allusions that Swift is making. However, a far larger portion of the text discusses issues that are still relevant to today's readers, especially in the responsibilities of power and the limits to technological/scientific progression.

Part One: "A Voyage to Lilliput" is the most famous segment of the novel, and the context of the afore-mentioned "hostage episode".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark on February 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Swift's Gulliver's Travels is one of the smartest British novels ever written. It is a funny, sharp, poignant, and startling look at human nature. The most interesting part of the novel is the many conversations between Gulliver and the Houyhnhnm master relating to the causes of war and other aspects of human nature. This novel is a wonderful reflection of human society that really makes the reader question his or her methods or discourse.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Gulliver's Travels" is perhaps the best known of a classical satires, following the adventures of Lemuel Gulliver on multiple journeys all of which serve his objective of profiling the moral (and physical) fragility of mankind, with special care taken to point out problems associated with hubris and war (Swift was an extreme pacifist.) This edition of the book features commentary and notes by Robert DeMaria which are helpful putting the book in context, especially for those deficient in knowledge of English political history. As an aside, the textual notes are so numerous, that footnotes would have been vastly more functional to the reader than endnotes, nevertheless, the commentary is largely on the mark and helpful.

The book is written in four parts, of which most students are only exposed to part one, as I was previously. In part one, Gulliver ventures to Lilliput, where he is a giant among men, the Lilliputians being very small. He is in fact referred to as "Quinbus Flestrin," or, the "Man-Mountain." Part one is essentially about political strife in England, and directly skewers the Walpole government with the character of Flimnap. One of the issues for readers will be keeping a running account of all the over-the-top names Swift uses throughout the book (Houyhnhnms, Traldragdubb, Balnibarbi, Brobdingnag, etc.) The notes explain how these are clever, playful words satirizing specific people or things in Europe as it then was, but I must admit to finding them a bit wearisome to wade through after a few hundred pages. Perhaps the most recognizable of the satirized states is Blefuscu, a dead ringer for France.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Naomi on January 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lemuel Gulliver is a surgeon/ship¨ˆs captain who embarks on several intriguing adventures. His first endeavor takes him to Lilliput, where all inhabitants are six inches tall, but resemble normal humans in every other respect. His next voyage lands him on Brobdingnag, where a grown man is sixty feet tall, and even the shortest dwarf stands thirty feet tall. On his third trip, he travels to several locations, including a floating island. During Gulliver¨ˆs final voyage, he is abandoned by his mutinous crew on the island of the Houyhnhnms, which are extremely intelligent horses. No evil or concept of lying exists among these creatures. The island is also inhabited by Yahoos, savage, irrational human-like creatures who are kept as pets by the Houyhnhnms. Gulliver wishes to spend the rest of his life on this peaceful island, but he is banished and forced to return to England.
I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to people 14 or older. Since the novel was written in the 1700¡¯s, the words, grammar and usage are a little confusing. The reader also must have prior knowledge of 18th-century politics to get a full image of what Swift is trying to convey. At some points, the author goes into detail about nautical terms and happenings, and that tends to drag. Overall, the book is well-written, slightly humorous, if not a little confusing.
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