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Gulliver's Travels (Signet Classics)

548 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0451527325
ISBN-10: 0451527321
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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.-Jean Deck, Lambuth University, Jackson, TN

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.


"An excellent edition: I have used the Penguin edition, but yours is superior. The notes are much more useful, especially in a history class in which the context of the work is emphasized."--Winfield J.C. Meyers, University of Georgia

"The best cheap paperback edition available with an excellent, informative, and readable introduction by Paul Turner."--W.G. Walton, Jr., Meredith College

"This edition has excellent notes - better than Penguins. Aim for their market with more editions of this quality and you'll capture much of their market." --Winfield J. Myers, University of Georgia

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527325
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (548 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,384,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 177 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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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
It's amazing how our perspective changes as we age. What we thought was important as children may now seem completely insignificant, replaced by entirely new priorities, priorities children wouldn't even understand. At the same time, things we used to take for granted, like having dinner on the table, being taken care of when we're ill, or getting toys fixed when they are broken, have become items on adult worry lists.

Your perspective on literature can change, too. Reading a story for a second time can give you a completely different view of it. "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, which I enjoyed as a sort of an adventure story when I was a kid, now reads as a harsh criticism of society in general and the institution of slavery in particular.

The same thing is true of "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift. The first thing I realized upon opening the cover of this book as a college student was that I probably had never really read it before.

I knew the basic plot of Lemuel Gulliver's first two voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag, home of the tiny and giant people, respectively, but he had two other voyages of which I was not even aware: to a land of philosophers who are so lost in thought they can't see the simplest practical details, Laputa, and to a land ruled by wise and gentle horses or Houyhnhnms and peopled by wild, beastly human-like creatures called Yahoos.

While this book has become famous and even beloved by children, Jonathan Swift was certainly not trying to write a children's book.

Swift was well known for his sharp, biting wit, and his bitter criticism of 18th century England and all her ills.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Brandon W on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is classic work of satire and adventure that hardly needs my recommendation. Instead, let me comment on this edition published by Sterling. It's a nice hardcover with dustjacket and placeholder ribbon. There are a number of illustrations by Scott McKowen and an afterword by Arthur Pober. If you're looking for a inexpensive, but nice edition of Gulliver's Travels, this book would be a good choice.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Louie Louie on February 16, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All I remembered about Gulliver's Travels was the Golden Book or other children's versions of the story that I read when I was still a wee young thing. The real story is much more thought provoking, and the style is quite interesting. Swift writes about his travels to various countries where he encounters people and customs far different from what he is used to. Nevertheless, he writes from an objective viewpoint without discussing what is wrong or right about any of the cultures he visits.

The last place he visits is a country that is populated by extremely intelligent horses, who after hearing Gulliver's explanation of his own country and government, give their impressions of what is wrong with the English government and monarchy. Very tactful, but it makes the points he wants readers to understand. Many similar ideas to Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" come out in the horses' discussions.

A bit long. I thought it might be a bit childish at first. But it was well worth reading from cultural, political and historical points of view.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By majormajormajormajor on November 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While other reviews seem focused on Swift's original novel, it would seem to me that anyone reading the reviews for this particular edition would be far more interested in the quality of the contents of the Norton Critical Edition, rather than the text itself. The text, after all, is a seminal classic satire, and even the worst printing and editing would find it very difficult to obscure it. Swift is brilliant, but that is not the focus of this review. Rather, I will be discussing the merits of this particular critical edition of his work.

This Norton Critical Edition is, as all Norton Critical Editions are, split up into three main parts - an authoritative version of the text with footnotes, a selection of works contemporary with the original text, and a selection of critical works dating from the original release down to the present.

The text is presented in its full form, complete with the original frontispiece, illustrations from the original edition, and footnotes where appropriate. The text is reproduced faithfully, and any decisions made by the editor are duly noted in footnotes. In fact, the editor has remained so true to the original text that he has retained the 18th century convention of capitalizing every single noun. This could, conceivably, be off-putting for some modern readers. Yet, for the scholarly audience doubtless intended for this edition, it seems appropriate that such a level of faithfulness be maintained. Indeed, the intended audience seems to color the entire volume, for, if a novice reader completely new to the text were to pick up the novel for the first time in this edition, the reader might find himself occasionally bewildered. The footnotes added by the editor are judicious, but perhaps too few.
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