- Series: Classic Fiction
- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks; Abridged edition (June 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9626345772
- ISBN-13: 978-9626345771
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 4.2 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (774 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,819,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gulliver's Travels (Classic Fiction) Abridged Edition
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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 Paperback edition.
One of the masterpieces of satire among the world's literature. . . . --Masterpieces of World Literature
A multifarious book, it is various in its appeal: it is enchantingly playful and fantastic and is often read by children; it is a witty, allegorical depiction of the political life and values of Swift's time; it is a bitter denunciation of mankind; finally it is Swift's reflections on man's corruption of his highest attribute, reason. --The Reader's Encyclopedia
A masterwork of irony...that contains both a dark and bitter meaning and a joyous, extraordinary creativity of imagination. That's why it has lived for so long. --Sir Malcolm Stanley Bradbury CBE (1932- 2000), British author and academic, author of The History of Man --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This piece looks like it was published in someone's basement on a 1980's copier. Bad. Very bad.
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. If a reader is not already somewhat familiar with the conventions of 18th century London or the accompanying vocabulary, he may need to come prepared with a dictionary. This, however, is no major problem; by and large the footnotes are accurate, informative, and brief, offered only where they need offering, and never rambling on in a vain display of the editor's knowledge.
The "Contexts" section is the shortest part of this edition, but is still an enjoyable and enriching read. Included in it are such sundry selections as an advertisement for Gulliver's Travels, Swift's correspondence to such contemporaries as John Gay and Alexander Pope, Pope's own poems inspired by Gulliver's travels (written through Lilliputian, Houyhnhnm, and Brobdingnagian personas), and a few selections from 18th century travelogues. These are all excellent editions to this edition - the travelogues in particular give modern readers a good sense of how Gulliver's Travels parodies a genre which has all but vanished from the modern literary scene.
The "Criticism" section greets the inquisitive reader with a wealth of lenses through which to view Swift's novel. Articles dating from shortly after the novel's release right down to modern times provide erudite and clear stances on how one might read the novel. Topics discussed include reading through the lenses of: satire and allegory, virtue and truth, politics, the novel as a genre, race and gender, science, the extent to which Swift's writing was influenced by London's obsessions with the peculiar and extreme, the author-character-reader interrelationship, and how the novel's frontispiece and paratexts can be read as an integral part of the novel. Reading all of these critical pieces gives one a diverse and well-rounded appreciation of the multifarious nature of Swift's unique satirical work.
While some minor quibbles could be made here and there, overall this is a very solid and effective scholarly edition. As long as those approaching this volume approach it with respect for its intended audience and are willing to engage with it as a scholarly book (and not just a children's adventure novel, as is so often the unfortunate case), this clear and entertaining edition of one of the greatest works of satire ever written props the original text up on a well-polished pedestal of context and criticism, all to the reader's delight.
First, Gulliver is shipwrecked onto the shores of Lilliput, and finds himself tied down by hundreds of tiny ropes. He makes contact with the people native to the island, and is shocked to find them only a few inches tall. He is taken into servitude by the tiny race and learns their language. He soon finds out of another civilization of little people across the small body of water that is a sea to them. They were originally members of the same nation, but they rebelled over a dispute over which end of an egg should be cracked. Political issues lead to plans of Gulliver's execution, but he is informed by a friend of this and moves to the other civilization. Here he repairs a boat of his size that is found in the water and leaves the island, taking a few small animals to use as proof of his journeys.
For his second adventure, Gulliver is stranded on Brobdingnag, and island of giants. Here, even the smallest man is the size of a house. He is discovered by a farming family, and is put on display across the country as a novelty. The family makes its way to the capital and sells Gulliver to the queen. He spends many months as a joke and in severe danger by even the smallest creatures. He is nearly killed by rats and wasps, giving him a true sense of his powerlessness. The king of Brobdingnag inquires with him about the state of the world off the island, and is in tears with laughter. He finds the squabbles of such a small race endearing and cannot take any of it seriously. The king has created a society where free speech is not a right given to the people and finds it absurd to be any other way. Gulliver's stay is interrupted by a bird carrying him off into the ocean, where he finds a ship and gains passage back to England.
Gulliver only stays home for two months before he goes out into the sea once again - and is attacked by pirates. After offending the captain, he is set free into the ocean with only a boat and four days of food. He makes his way to an island and discovers a floating landmass nearby. He hails it and is brought up into the island and meets the king. The people of the island, Laputa, are constantly absorbed in thought, and care only for mathematics and music. Their entire society spurns practicality and suffers for it, houses are poorly made and crops barely grow. Gulliver is sent to a scientific conference, and discovers hundreds of experiments that are all heavily impractical and most are failures. One such presentation hopes to propagate a breed of hairless sheep. He leaves peacefully by travelling to Japan through trade routes.
For his final voyage, Gulliver captains his own ship. That is, until a mutiny left him on the shores of Houyhnhnm. He discovers a race of humanoid savages and a race of intelligent horses. The horses think he is one of the savages, "Yahoos," but are surprised by the civility he displays. He is taken to the leader of their village, and is instructed in their language. To the disbelief of all the horses, "Houyhnhnms", he is as intelligent as they are. Their leader inquires about his world, and is stunned to find that the roles of horses and men are reversed. He is disgusted by the society Gulliver reveals. The society of the Houyhnhnms is much friendlier, but less personal. They do what needs to be done to survive, and don't nurture hate nor encourage violence. Gulliver's eyes are opened by the Houyhnhnms, and finds himself progressively more disgusted by humanity. It slowly dawns on Gulliver that the repulsive Yahoos are actually humans who arrived on the island far earlier. He falls in love with the society of the Houyhnhnms and no longer wishes to leave the island. He is sadly forced off of the island and tries to live in seclusion on a nearby one. He is discovered by sailors and taken aboard against his will. The captain is a very kind and patient man and cares for Gulliver despite his repulsion.
When he arrives home he is disgusted by his own family and can't stand their presence for over a year, instead conversing with a pair of horses he purchased. He ends with a statement about how these islands he visited are technically property of England but that he sees no advantage to colonizing any of them. He desires to protect the Houyhnhnms most of all, as their noble society is something he believes we should all strive for.
While I found the book fairly interesting at times, the language used was hard to follow, and it often went off onto rants that were both uninteresting and irrelevant. However, I do know that this book was intended to be a satire, and the boredom experienced may be an intentional act by Swift. I found many of the ways these societies operated purely ridiculous and totally unsustainable, but perhaps this was also intentional. I would assume that this was done to make me think about WHY I found them ridiculous, and if it was the product of close mindedness or fact. After looking into the story more when writing this, I found many small hints that indicate the satirical tone of the book.
While the first reading was a little grueling, the review and discovery of small hints was very enjoyable. I would recommend this book to anyone with the perseverance to get through the dry parts, as the rest of it is truly interesting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
That's what kept going through my head as I struggled through this sorry excuse for a novel.Read more