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Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings Paperback – 1961

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 564 pages
  • Publisher: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd (1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395051231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395051238
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
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First Sentence
I hope you will be ready to own publicly, whenever you shall be called to it, that by your great and frequent urgency you prevailed on me to publish a very loose and uncorrect account of my travels; with direction to hire some young gentlemen of either university to put them in order, and correct the style, as my cousin Dampier did by my advice, in his book called A Voyage round the World. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Puabi on Feb. 21 2004
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 By ThrustViper on 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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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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Format: Paperback
_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. Gulliver, the narrator, is an elegant writer who sets himself up as an ideal vehicle for irony-- that is, he is totally sincere. He states the facts, often in terms of measurements, and records his travels quite faithfully. He's a bit dull, perhaps, but at least he's a careful observer. And in so recording his observations he undermines, completely turns on its head, all that we value in humanity. How? Gulliver-- Swift, really-- reduces everything to a matter of perspective or proportion. It's a shockingly decedent approach. For suddenly the fair perfumed skin of a young lady, enlarged hundreds of times, is a dark-haired surface with moon-craters and a horrid stench. Is this who we really are? Only our eyes and nose cannot detect the truth? The pleasant image of Gulliver tied in tiny ropes by a tiny people is destroyed by a certain Swiftian madness, a sense that humans are-- in short-- vile. Read closely then try walking down the street and looking these two-legged creatures in the eye.
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By A Customer on Nov. 13 2003
Format: Paperback
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 inspired by it.
I must say I was not very surprised by this work, as I knew from the start whre everything would go. The letter and the spirit of Gulliver's Travels are one of the most divulgated to students from primary till high school. That's why I particulartly liked the account of Laputa, which is one of the lesser known episodes (and I looked forward to it, since Italo Calvino had done a remarkable publicity for it once). Especially the Academy of Sciences of that noble country had an interesting Sadian feeling (Swift is one of those philosophic minds which delight in fustigating philosophers); plus, you could witness the explosion of a dog.
There's rather a disquieting feeling hanging around these pages. From neurotic midgets who receive rains of urine on their heads, giants with a deformed and stinking skin (not different from our own, if we could magnify it adequately, the author says), to people who after they've come home from a long voyage, prefer talking to two horses and have to hold a handkerchief in front of their nose when they're with their wives and children. Vanitas vanitatum, memento mori. No wonder Swift was an Irish clergymen. But this exposes also a difficulty in his social criticism; generally, we point towards him as a spur to reform. But, how can a work with such a deeply rooted convinction in the decline of humanity stimulate to politicalaction. rather, ity is an invitation to a stoic ideal of life, not unlike Voltaire's in "Candide".
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