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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