Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels also exploits some of the potential for absurdity that was evident in travel accounts. In contemporary travelogues, one way in which authors attempted to emphasize the authenticity of their account was by representing islands in woodcuts as they would appear if they were seen through a telescope. Having no sea shown on them, and cut off at the base, they in fact look as if they’re flying through the air. When Laputa flies over Balnibarbi, Swift literalizes the comic potential of the travel narrative and its illustrative apparatus.

Gulliver's Travels | Jonathan Swift | Lit2Go ETC

 Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Li2Go edition, (1906), accessed March 07, 2018, .

Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, is a novel by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the “travellers’ tales” literary sub-genre. It is widely considered Swift’s magnum opus (masterpiece) and is his most celebrated work, as well as one of the indisputable classics of English literature.

Book Review: Gulliver's Travels-Jonathan Swift

If the Travels were initially generated by the Scriblerians interest in mocking pedantry and contemporary science, it was Swift alone who fleshed out the narrative of a Scriblerus character sent off on a series of imaginary journeys. From Swift's correspondence, we know that the main composition of Gulliver began around the end of 1720, and was finished in the autumn of 1725.

In his novel, Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift satirizes this English society in many ways

Jonathan Swift's classic takes a naughty turn

So here already we have a rather strange set of relationships established between Swift and the authorship of Gulliver's Travels. First the book starts out as the product of several minds, a group project. Then it becomes Swift's own, but one from which he distances himself by pretending that its really by its fictional narrator, Gulliver, and brought to the publisher by Gulliver's fictional cousin, Sympson. Then the book is published, and rather than getting Swift’s own version of Gulliver's Travels, the London literati get a version bowdlerised by the publisher. Nonetheless, it is a hit, and Swift revels in the success of 'his' book; yet he continues to pretend that it's not 'really' by him. By 1726, the notion of authorship of Gulliver's Travels is a tricky business.

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This essay is only the beginning of an attempt to situate some of the salient features of Gulliver's Travels in the context of existing texts and ideas, and to consider how the fantastical world described by Swift's maverick traveler might relate to wider concerns about the relationship between authenticity and authorship, and authenticity and truth.

Gulliver's Travels, a misanthropic satire of humanity, was written in 1726 by Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels derived much of its popularity from the contemporary readers' enthusiastic consumption of travel compilations and the records of journeys and voyages. Swift himself owned a number of accounts by famous travel writers, including the sixteenth century such as travel writers Richard Hakluyt, Samuel Purchas, and William Dampier. There is a sustained imitation of various travel accounts in Gulliver's Travels: the description of the storm in Book II closely copies the style of a seventeenth narrative called Mariners Magazine by Captain Samuel Sturmy. Swift places the locations of his fictitious voyages in regions visited by one of the most famous travel writers of the period: the pirate, explorer and author William Dampier. Dampier produced an account of his 1699 expedition to Australia, then known as New Holland, which had appeared as a two part account called A Voyage to New Holland published in 1702, and A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland published in 1709. Lilliput is supposed to be between Van Dieman's land, which was Tasmania, and the northern coast of Australia. The land of the Houyhnhnms in Book 4 is just south west of Australia.

Gulliver's Travels is an all time literary classic by Jonathan Swift. Read a review of the play here.

Gulliver's Travels (1939 film) - Wikipedia

But the emergent novel wasn't the only genre marked by these defences of authenticity. They are also found in contemporary travel writing. Swift's use of the name Sympson in his negotiations with his publisher, and his creation of this Sympson as a fictional cousin of Gulliver's, links him to Captain William Sympson, the equally fictitious author of A New Voyage to the East Indies (1715). A New Voyage asserted in bold terms the autobiographical nature of its account, but was in fact plagiarized from an earlier travel book.