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Gulliver's Travels [Paperback]

Jonathan Swift
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gulliver's travels Feb. 21 2004
By Puabi
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Who would have expected that I would come away from this book liking it so very much? Trying to read it on my own, I failed, but reading it in class helped me to see it in context, and appreciate it as a funny, thoughtful, and sometimes cruel work, a satire that can be real fun and thought-provoking once you get into the right mood for reading it.
Jonathan Swift was an Irish-born Tory who possessive of a famous aversion to humantiy in general. (Or so I am apt to classify him. There is something charming about misanthropes, one can really sympathize with them when one is cranky.) His Captain Lemuel Gulliver ends up stranded in various wondrous and edifying lands. I needn't tell you about Lilliput (six inch high people) and Brobdingnag (giants), but you might have forgotten Laputa, the floating island, and the land of the H----'s (don't bother me with the bloody spelling), those uber-intelligent horses. It's that last part, with the H----'s that is pretty shocking even today. You and me are both Yahoos of a kind, and Gulliver sails back to his people in raft with a sail made from Yahoo-skins. With Yahoo meat as provisions.
But there are lots of disturbing, warped things in this book. I remember passages in Brobdingnag with the most fondness. There Gulliver, reduced to the status of a plaything, is quite helpless, and delightfully so. He is dropped into a bowl of cream by a dwarf and embarrasingly discommoded by a pet monkey. The ladies at the court take a perverse delight in bouncing him up and down on their breasts. Gulliver, being tiny, is able to note the physical human imperfections of his captors magnified--cancerous lumps, blemishes of the skin, moles and wrinkles appear in all their sordidness. And what interesting things these are to read about, in retrospect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Feb. 14 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Doesn't get better than this. A hilarious, disturbing, and thought provoking novel. Even people who dislike 18th century literature will find this one engaging.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless In More Than One Way June 5 2010
By Dave_42 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Its actual title is "Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World" as if by Lemuel Gulliver, but most people know it as "Gulliver's Travels" and the actual author is Jonathan Swift. The book works on numerous levels, it could be viewed as an adventure story for children, an early example of fantasy/science fiction, a general satire of humanity, or a more specific satire of events, society, and politics in which Swift lived. The latter was undoubtedly the way it was taken when first publish ed in 1726 and amended in 1735, but that is the most difficult way for the reader to view the book today. The Penguin Classics edition of "Gulliver's Travels" is of great assistance in helping the reader appreciate that aspect of the book, with a fine introduction by Robert Demaria, Jr., and detailed notes throughout the text to help explain many of the references.

Part I, "A Voyage to Lilliput" is the best known part of the book. This section has often been used in isolation of the other three parts of the book. This is the story where Gulliver is shipwrecked and washed up on a distant shore, only to find himself a captive of the Lilliputians, who are 1/12th the size of Gulliver. Swift is very detailed in discussing the minutia of Gulliver's experience, from how much he has to eat, to how he relieves himself. Swift satirizes the court of King George I, and of course travel books where the authors stretch the truth. Gulliver starts as a captive, becomes a loyal subject, but then is forced by his own morals to refuse the requests of the King of Lilliput which allows his enemies to work against him. As a result, Gulliver is forced to flee and as fortune would have it he makes it back to home.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The original satire Jan. 12 2004
By Frikle
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is probably the best known full-length satire of society. In it, Swift mocks what he feels to be the all the iniquities of the 18th century. And of course, it's far from being a children's book.
There are four voyages and only the first two are known in the popular imagination. In each voyage, Gulliver goes to a country/countries that are radically different from those known and stays with the court/government learning about the country and sometimes helping out.
Part 1 is a voyage to Lilliput. Here, the people are very very small. This is the most well-known part, containing famous satires such as that of the Big-Endians and Little-Endians. The small characters generally satirise the characteristic of pettiness.
Part 2 is a voyage to Brobdingnag. Here, the people are very large. As such, they satirise the opposite quality - that of being overbearing. Here, Gulliver is paraded as a pet.
Part 3 is a voyage to Laputa (and other islands including Japan). Here, Swift mocks scholarship and science. Each of the several islands has a peculiar trait to do with science. Here, you'll find such classics as the novel-writing machine and the country where the linguists decided that words are too indirect to communicate being signs of signs so everyone carries a large sack of objects to point to in direct communication - which sounds like something from a modern academic, except this is interesting.
Part 4 is a voyage to the country of the Huyhnhnms. Here, Swift departs from tongue-and-cheek and becomes biting. The country is a utopia populated by benevolent horses and the humanoids are wild and uncivilised so they're "looked after". As a result of the horses' brilliance, Gulliver becomes disgusted with the human race after seeing the difference.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Proceed with caution.
It is only fair that those unfamiliar with this work are warned of its 18th century prose, which may distract, if not exceedingly annoy, some readers.
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Edition
There is no need for me to go into what a marvelous and timeless classic "Guliver's Travels" is. Read more
Published on June 18 2004 by J Bucknoff, PMP
1.0 out of 5 stars Great books do not exist
While cultural pundits try to convince you that some literature is better than other literature, the truth is that all art is relative to individial tastes. Read more
Published on May 6 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Past it?
A dry old read that has not withstood the test of time. Wordy prose, redundant grammar and forced wit. Useful only as a study of 18th Century Literature.
Published on March 1 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Satire still applies--should have ended after 2 adventures
I appreciated the adventure element of the voyages to Lilliput (where the inhabitants are only 6 inches tall) and Brobdingnag (where the inhabitants are 60 feet tall). Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2004 by Anthony Manno
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it to your children to turn them into pessimists.
_Gulliver's Travels_ has been comfortably wrapped in a bookcover of sorts which presents it as a cozy fairy tale for young readers. Yet I know of no book so utterly anti-human. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2003 by Fan of Fred Williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Disquieting read.
This is of course one of the most famous works of literature in the world, especially thanks to the Japanese, who realised a consistent amount of cartoons for the home-video market... Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2003 by "ranagrossa"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, a lot of satire on the way people act.
Gulliver's Travels was a book that was the required reading in my high school senior english class. At first, you think of Gulliver's Travels as a kid's book due to the cartoons... Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2003 by M. C. Martinez
1.0 out of 5 stars Ummm. . . yeah, so sure.
Well, I tried to read this book because I had to read a 12th grade reading level book because thats the level I read at, but I was bored from the start. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003
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