Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels was written in 1726 by Jonathan Swift. He actually wrote the book to be four distinct trips:

Voyage to Lilliput

Voyage to Brobdingnag

Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib,  and  Japan

Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms

The book Gulliver’s Travels was designed to read like a travel journal written by a gentleman named Lemuel Gulliver. Mr. Gulliver was trained to be a surgeon, but loved to travel.

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) is considered a satirist. He had ties to both England and Ireland. He ended up traveling, working, and living in both countries. The original title, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, was later renamed Gulliver’s Travels. Many of his works were published under different names, such as Lemuel Gulliver or even anonymous.

Gulliver’s Travels has never been out of print. It has been reworked in many different forms. You can read the book in it’s entirety, you can listen to an audiobook, you can watch the movies that are made, watch cartoons, read comic strips, or even read spin off short stories. eReading: Gulliver’s Travels is an app that can be downloaded on your iPad, iPhone, or iTouch and describes the first voyage.

The most popular story from all four voyages in Gulliver’s Travels is the Voyage to Lilliput. In this first voyage, Gulliver is shipwrecked and finds himself on the island of Lilliput. He is a giant among them. He quickly learns their language and realizes that they are in a futile war within their own country and at war with the neighboring island, Blefuscu. He seems to take the infighting and differences in stride, although he appears to grow impatient with their narrow viewpoints on life. After the story was published, small things or small people were often referred to as Lilliputian.

Gulliver’s Travels second voyage becomes more interesting as he is in the land of giants (Brobdingnag). He has to watch out for every animal (as they are also very big in size). Several times he had very close calls. Gulliver explains wars, government, religions, and cannon power to the King of Brobdingnag. The king is appalled. He tells Gulliver that he feels the English are: “a pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”

In Gulliver’s third voyage in Gulliver’s Travels, he gets shipwrecked again but in this case he is saved by a flying island called the Kingdom of Laputa. Laputa has scientists, musicians, and mathematicians and at first seems a great place for Gulliver. However there is no real practical use for the scientists on the floating island and they often resort to throwing rocks at cities below them.

His last voyage in Gulliver’s Travels is darker and angrier. He gets marooned on an island inhabited by very sophisticated horses who are the rulers. The humans, called Yahoos, are their slaves.

Swift designed Gulliver’s Travels as a satire of English politics and religion.

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