Thursday, October 28, 1976

Jonathan Swift's Gulliver’s Travels published 250 years ago on this day

First posted 7/4/2020; updated 7/6/2020.

Gulliver’s Travels

Jonathan Swift

First Publication: October 28, 1726


Category: fantasy novel/political parody


Sales: 1 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“Considered the greatest satire ever written in English,” BN Jonathan Swift “shows humans at their worst: whether diminished (in Lilliput) or grossly magnified (in Brobdingnag). Our capacity for self-delusion – personified by the absurdly pompous Gulliver – makes this darkest of novels very funny.” TG He “intended this masterpiece, as he once wrote Alexander Pope, to ‘vex the world rather than divert it.’” AZ

“Savagely ironic, it portrays man as foolish at best, and at worst, not much more than an ape. The direct and unadorned narrative” AZ “chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms.” BN In “the land of Lilliput…six-inch-high inhabitants bicker over trivialities” AZ while Brobdingnag is “a land where giants reduce man to insignificance.” AZ He also visits “Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos.” BN

“Written with disarming simplicity and careful attention to detail, this classic is diverse in its appeal: for children, it remains an enchanting fantasy. For adults, it is a witty parody of political life in Swift’s time and a scathing send-up of manners and morals in 18th-century England.” AZ

“Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver’s Travels is one of literature’s most durable masterpieces.” BN


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Thursday, October 14, 1976

A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh: Published 50 Years Ago Today

Last updated 7/6/2020.

Winnie-the-Pooh

A.A. Milne

First Publication: October 14, 1926


Category: children’s stories


Sales: 2.95 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

In this classic children’s book, “A.A. Milne created a life philosophy with the trials, triumphs and tiddley-poms of the honey-loving, always kind-hearted” TG teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh and his adventures with his friends who include the timid Piglet, the melancholy Eeyore, the wise Owl, the picky Rabbit, and the motherly Kanga looking after her son Roo. The book’s sequel, The House at Pooh Corner, introduced the bouncy Tigger.

“These characters and their stories are timeless treasures of childhood that continue to speak to all of us with the kind of freshness and heart that distinguishes true storytelling.” AZ

In 1926, Saturday Review said: “Winnie-the-Pooh is a joy; full of solemn idiocies and the sort of jokes one weeps over helplessly, not even knowing why they are so funny, and with it all the real wit and tenderness which alone could create a priceless little masterpiece.” AZ

A.A. Milne, “wrote this book for his son, Christopher Robin.” AZ As the illustrator, Ernest H. Shepard “lovingly gave Pooh and his companions shape.” AZ “Portions of the book were adapted from previously published stories. The first chapter, for instance, was adapted from ‘The Wrong Sort of Bees,’ a story published in the London Evening News in its issue for Christmas Eve 1925. The chapters in the book can be read independently of each other, as they are episodic in nature and plots do not carry over from one chapter to the next.” WK


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