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Gulliver's Travels  
Gullivers travels.jpg
First Edition of Gulliver's Travels
Author Jonathan Swift
Original title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships
Country England
Language English
Genre(s) Satire and sometimes Science Fiction
Publisher Benjamin Motte
Publication date 1726
Media type Print

Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships, is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.

The book became tremendously popular as soon as it was published. (John Gay said in a 1726 letter to Swift that "it is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery" [1] ); since then, it has never been out of print. The book is also required reading for many high school students, including high school Literature Advanced Placement students (US).

Contents

Plot summary

The book presents itself as a simple traveller's narrative with the disingenuous title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, its authorship assigned only to "Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, then a captain of several ships". Different editions contain different versions of the prefatory material which are basically the same as forewords in modern books. The book proper then is divided into four parts, which are as follows.

Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput

Mural depicting Gulliver surrounded by citizens of Lilliput.

May 4, 1699 — April 13, 1702

The book begins with a short preamble in which Gulliver, in the style of books of the time, gives a brief outline of his life and history prior to his voyages. He enjoys traveling, although it is that love of travel that is his downfall.

On his first voyage, Gulliver is washed ashore after a shipwreck and awakes to find himself a prisoner of a race of people one-twelfth the size of normal human beings (6 inches/15 cm tall), who are inhabitants of the neighbouring and rival countries of Lilliput and Blefuscu. After giving assurances of his good behavior, he is given a residence in Lilliput and becomes a favorite of the court. From there, the book follows Gulliver's observations on the Court of Lilliput, which is intended to satirize the court of George I (King of England at the time of the writing of the Travels). Gulliver assists the Lilliputians to subdue their neighbors the Blefuscudians (by stealing their fleet). However, he refuses to reduce the country to a province of Lilliput, displeasing the King and the court. Gulliver is charged with treason and sentenced to be blinded. With the assistance of a kind friend, Gulliver escapes to Blefuscu, where he spots and retrieves an abandoned boat and sails out to be rescued by a passing ship which safely takes him back home.

Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag

Gulliver Exhibited to the Brobdingnag Farmer by Richard Redgrave

June 20, 1702 — June 3, 1706

When the sailing ship Adventure is steered off course by storms and forced to go in to land for want of fresh water, Gulliver is abandoned by his companions and found by a farmer who is 72 feet (22 m) tall (the scale of Lilliput is approximately 1:12; of Brobdingnag 12:1, judging from Gulliver estimating a man's step being 10 yards (9.1 m)). He brings Gulliver home and his daughter cares for Gulliver. The farmer treats him as a curiosity and exhibits him for money. The word gets out and the Queen of Brobdingnag wants to see the show. She loves Gulliver and he is then bought by her and kept as a favourite at court.

Since Gulliver is too small to use their huge chairs, beds, knives and forks, the queen commissions a small house to be built for Gulliver so that he can be carried around in it. This box is referred to as his travelling box. In between small adventures such as fighting giant wasps and being carried to the roof by a monkey, he discusses the state of Europe with the King. The King is not impressed with Gulliver's accounts of Europe, especially upon learning of the usage of guns and cannons. On a trip to the seaside, his "travelling box" is seized by a giant eagle which drops Gulliver and his box right into the sea where he is picked up by some sailors, who return him to England.

Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan

August 5, 1706 — April 16, 1710

After Gulliver's ship is attacked by pirates, he is marooned near a desolate rocky island, near India. Fortunately he is rescued by the flying island of Laputa, a kingdom devoted to the arts of music and mathematics but utterly unable to use these for practical ends.

Laputa's method of throwing rocks at rebellious surface cities also seems the first time that aerial bombardment was conceived as a method of warfare. While there, he tours the country as the guest of a low-ranking courtier and sees the ruin brought about by blind pursuit of science without practical results in a satire on the Royal Society and its experiments.

While waiting for passage Gulliver takes a short side-trip to the island of Glubbdubdrib, where he visits a magician's dwelling and discusses history with the ghosts of historical figures, the most obvious restatement of the "ancients versus moderns" theme in the book. He also encounters the struldbrugs, unfortunates who are immortal, but not forever young, but rather forever old, complete with the infirmities of old age. Gulliver is then taken to Balnibarbi to await a Dutch trader who can take him on to Japan. Whilst there, Gulliver asks the Emperor: 'to excuse my performing the ceremony imposed upon my countrymen of trampling upon the crucifix', which the Emperor grants. Gulliver returns home, determined to stay there for the rest of his days.

Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms

September 7, 1710 – July 2, 1715

Despite his earlier intention of remaining at home, Gulliver returns to sea as the captain of a 35tun merchant man as he is bored of the employment as a surgeon. On this voyage he is forced to find new additions to his crew who he believes to have turned the rest of the crew against him. His pirates then mutiny and after keeping him contained for some time resolve to leave him on the first piece of land they come across and continue on as pirates. He is abandoned in a landing boat and comes first upon a race of (apparently) hideous deformed creatures to which he conceives a violent antipathy. Shortly thereafter he meets a horse and comes to understand that the horses (in their language Houyhnhnm or "the perfection of nature") are the rulers and the deformed creatures ("Yahoos") are human beings in their base form. Gulliver becomes a member of the horse's household, and comes to both admire and emulate the Houyhnhnms and their lifestyle, rejecting humans as merely Yahoos endowed with some semblance of reason which they only use to exacerbate and add to the vices Nature gave them. However, an Assembly of the Houyhnhnms rules that Gulliver, a Yahoo with some semblance of reason, is a danger to their civilization and he is expelled. He is then rescued, against his will, by a Portuguese ship, and is surprised to see that Captain Pedro de Mendez, a Yahoo, is a wise, courteous and generous person. He returns to his home in England. However, he is unable to reconcile himself to living among Yahoos; he becomes a recluse, remaining in his house, largely avoiding his family and his wife, and spending several hours a day speaking with the horses in his stables.

Composition and history

It is uncertain exactly when Swift started writing Gulliver's Travels, but some sources suggest as early as 1713 when Swift, Gay, Pope, Arbuthnott and others formed the Scriblerus Club, with the aim of satirising then-popular literary genres. Swift, runs the theory, was charged with writing the memoirs of the club's imaginary author, Martinus Scriblerus. It is known from Swift's correspondence that the composition proper began in 1720 with the mirror-themed parts I and II written first, Part IV next in 1723 and Part III written in 1724, but amendments were made even while Swift was writing Drapier's Letters. By August 1725 the book was completed, and as Gulliver's Travels was a transparently anti-Whig satire it is likely that Swift had the manuscript copied so his handwriting could not be used as evidence if a prosecution should arise (as had happened in the case of some of his Irish pamphlets). In March 1726 Swift travelled to London to have his work published; the manuscript was secretly delivered to the publisher Benjamin Motte, who used five printing houses to speed production and avoid piracy.[2] Motte, recognising a bestseller but fearing prosecution, simply cut or altered the worst offending passages (such as the descriptions of the court contests in Lilliput or the rebellion of Lindalino), added some material in defence of Queen Anne to book II, and published it anyway. The first edition was released in two volumes on October 26, 1726, priced 8s. 6d. The book was an instant sensation and sold out its first run in less than a week.

Motte published Gulliver's Travels anonymously and, as was often the way with fashionable works, several follow-ups (Memoirs of the Court of Lilliput), parodies (Two Lilliputian Odes, The first on the Famous Engine With Which Captain Gulliver extinguish'd the Palace Fire...) and "keys" (Gulliver Decipher'd and Lemuel Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World Compendiously Methodiz'd, the second by Edmund Curll who had similarly written a "key" to Swift's Tale of a Tub in 1705) were produced over the next few years. These were mostly printed anonymously (or occasionally pseudonymously) and were quickly forgotten. Swift had nothing to do with any of these and specifically disavowed them in Faulkner's edition of 1735. However, Swift's friend Alexander Pope wrote a set of five Verses on Gulliver's Travels which Swift liked so much that he added them to the second edition of the book, though they are not nowadays generally included.

Faulkner's 1735 edition

In 1735 an Irish publisher, George Faulkner, printed a complete set of Swift's works to date, Volume III of which was Gulliver's Travels. As revealed in Faulkner's "Advertisement to the Reader", Faulkner had access to an annotated copy of Motte's work by "a friend of the author" (generally believed to be Swift's friend Charles Ford) which reproduced most of the manuscript free of Motte's amendments, the original manuscript having been destroyed. It is also believed that Swift at least reviewed proofs of Faulkner's edition before printing but this cannot be proven. Generally, this is regarded as the editio princeps of Gulliver's Travels with one small exception, discussed below.

This edition had an added piece by Swift, A letter from Capt. Gulliver to his Cousin Sympson which complained of Motte's alterations to the original text, saying he had so much altered it that "I do hardly know mine own work" and repudiating all of Motte's changes as well as all the keys, libels, parodies, second parts and continuations that had appeared in the intervening years. This letter now forms part of many standard texts.

Lindalino

The short (five paragraph) episode in Part III, telling of the rebellion of the surface city of Lindalino against the flying island of Laputa, was an obvious allegory to the affair of Drapier's Letters of which Swift was proud. Lindalino represented Dublin and the impositions of Laputa represented the British imposition of William Wood's poor-quality copper currency. For uncertain reasons Faulkner had omitted this passage, either because of political sensitivities raised by being an Irish publisher printing an anti-British satire or possibly because the text he worked from didn't include the passage. It wasn't until 1899 that the passage was finally included in a new edition of the Collected Works. Modern editions thus derive from the Faulkner edition with the inclusion of this 1899 addendum.

Isaac Asimov notes in The Annotated Gulliver that Lindalino is composed of double lins; hence, Dublin.

Major themes

Gulliver's Travels has been the recipient of several designations: from Menippean satire to a children's story, from proto-Science Fiction to a forerunner of the modern novel.

Published seven years after Daniel Defoe's wildly successful Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels may be read as a systematic rebuttal of Defoe's optimistic account of human capability. In The Unthinkable Swift: The Spontaneous Philosophy of a Church of England Man Warren Montag argues that Swift was concerned to refute the notion that the individual precedes society, as Defoe's novel seems to suggest. Swift regarded such thought as a dangerous endorsement of Thomas Hobbes' radical political philosophy and for this reason Gulliver repeatedly encounters established societies rather than desolate islands. The captain who invites Gulliver to serve as a surgeon aboard his ship on the disastrous third voyage is named Robinson.

Possibly one of the reasons for the book's classic status is that it can be seen as many things to many different people. Broadly, the book has three themes:

  • a satirical view of the state of European government, and of petty differences between religions.
  • an inquiry into whether men are inherently corrupt or whether they become corrupted.
  • a restatement of the older "ancients versus moderns" controversy previously addressed by Swift in The Battle of the Books.

In terms of storytelling and construction the parts follow a pattern:

  • The causes of Gulliver's misadventures become more malignant as time goes on - he is first shipwrecked, then abandoned, then attacked by strangers, then attacked by his own crew.
  • Gulliver's attitude hardens as the book progresses — he is genuinely surprised by the viciousness and politicking of the Lilliputians but finds the behaviour of the Yahoos in the fourth part reflective of the behaviour of people.
  • Each part is the reverse of the preceding part — Gulliver is big/small/sensible/ignorant, the countries are complex/simple/scientific/natural, forms of Government are worse/better/worse/better than England's.
  • Gulliver's view between parts contrasts with its other coinciding part — Gulliver sees the tiny Lilliputians as being vicious and unscrupulous, and then the king of Brobdingnag sees Europe in exactly the same light. Gulliver sees the Laputians as unreasonable, and Gulliver's Houyhnhnm master sees humanity as equally so.
  • No form of government is ideal — the simplistic Brobdingnagians enjoy public executions and have streets infested with beggars, the honest and upright Houyhnhnms who have no word for lying are happy to suppress the true nature of Gulliver as a Yahoo and equally unconcerned about his reaction to being expelled.
  • Specific individuals may be good even where the race is bad — Gulliver finds a friend in each of his travels and, despite Gulliver's rejection of and horror toward all Yahoos, is treated very well by the Portuguese captain, Don Pedro, who returns him to England at the novel's end.

Of equal interest is the character of Gulliver himself — he progresses from a cheery optimist at the start of the first part to the pompous misanthrope of the book's conclusion and we may well have to filter our understanding of the work if we are to believe the final misanthrope wrote the whole work. In this sense Gulliver's Travels is a very modern and complex novel. There are subtle shifts throughout the book, such as when Gulliver begins to see all humans, not just those in Houyhnhnm-land, as Yahoos.

Despite the depth and subtlety of the book, it is often classified as a children's story because of the popularity of the Lilliput section (frequently bowdlerised) as a book for children. It is still possible to buy books entitled Gulliver's Travels which contain only parts of the Lilliput voyage.

Cultural influences

From 1738 to 1746, Edward Cave published in occasional issues of The Gentleman's Magazine semi-fictionalized accounts of contemporary debates in the two Houses of Parliament under the title of Debates in the Senate of Lilliput. The names of the speakers in the debates, other individuals mentioned, politicians and monarchs present and past, and most other countries and cities of Europe ("Degulia") and America ("Columbia") were thinly disguised under a variety of Swiftian pseudonyms. The disguised names, and the pretence that the accounts were really translations of speeches by Lilliputian politicians, were a reaction to a Parliamentary act forbidding the publication of accounts of its debates. Cave employed several writers on this series: William Guthrie (June 1738-Nov. 1740), Samuel Johnson (Nov. 1740-Feb. 1743), and John Hawkesworth (Feb. 1743-Dec. 1746).

The popularity of Gulliver is such that the term "Lilliputian" has entered many languages as an adjective meaning "small and delicate". There is even a brand of cigar called Lilliput which is (not surprisingly) small. In addition to this there are a series of collectible model-houses known as "Lilliput Lane". The smallest light bulb fitting (5mm diameter) in the Edison screw series is called the "Lilliput Edison screw". In Dutch, the word "Lilliputter" is used for adults shorter than 1.30 meters. On the other side, "Brobdingnagian" appears in the Oxford English Dictionary as a synonym for "very large" or "gigantic".

In like vein, the term "yahoo" is often encountered as a synonym for "ruffian" or "thug".

In the discipline of computer architecture, the terms big-endian and little-endian are used to describe two possible ways of laying out bytes in memory; see Endianness. One of the satirical conflicts in the book is between two religious sects of Lilliputians, some of whom who prefer cracking open their soft-boiled eggs from the little end, while others prefer the big end.

Allusions and references from other works

References

  • Philip K. Dick's short story "Prize Ship" (1954) loosely referred to Gulliver's Travels[3]
  • Hayao Miyazaki's anime film Laputa: Castle in the Sky is about a mythical flying island.
  • In Fahrenheit 451, Montag briefly reads a section of Gulliver's Travels to his wife, who insists that it makes no sense. The section read is "It is computed that eleven thousand persons have at several times suffered death rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end."
  • In the anime series Digimon Adventure 02 of the popular Digimon franchise, episode 28 referred to Gulliver's Travels by Iori who compared it to that of the Giga House that they were in.
  • In the novel Waves, by Ogan Gurel, Chapter 6 (Happiness) includes a descriptive scene in which a fantastically microscopic 'Dr.Lilliput' (a cross between Gulliver and the Lilliputians) travels inside the brain touching cells and proteins.
  • In an episode of Midsomer Murders, "Small Mercies", one of the victims is found murdered tied down like Gulliver in Lilliput.
  • Online MMORPG Latale has a town named Lilliput. To the right of this town, one may fight boats of the Lilliput army. Everything in the town is miniature, probably about 1/12 the size of your character.
  • The third page in Francisco Goya's Bordeaux Album I (also known as Album H), one of eight albums of personal drawings created by the Spanish artist, is entitled "Gran coloso durmido (Large giant asleep)." It depicts the large head of a sleeping man, with dozens of miniature people next to and on him, having used ladders to climb up. According to the Goya expert Pierre Gassier (1915-2000) in his catalogue raisonné of Goya's personal album drawings[5], Goya was directly inspired by Part I, Chapter I of Gulliver's Travels.

Sequels and imitations

  • Many sequels followed the initial publishing of the Travels. The earliest of these was the Abbé Pierre Desfontaines' Le Nouveau Gulliver ou Voyages de Jean Gulliver, fils du capitaine Lemuel Gulliver (The New Gulliver, or the travels of John Gulliver, son of Captain Lemuel Gulliver), published in 1730. The author was also the first French translator of Swift's story.
  • The Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938) wrote two novels in which a 20th-century Gulliver visits imaginary lands. One, Utazás Faremidóba (i.e. Voyage to Faremido), recounts a trip to a land with almost robot-like, metallic beings whose lives are ruled by science, not emotion, and who communicate through a language based on musical notes. The second, Capillaria, is a satirical comment on male-female relationships. It involves a trip by Gulliver to a world where all the intelligent beings are female, males being reduced to nothing more than their reproductive function.
  • Soviet Ukrainian science fiction writer Vladimir Savchenko published Gulliver's Fifth Travel - The Travel of Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and Then a Captain of Several Ships to the Land of Tikitaks (Russian: Пятое путешествие Гулливера - Путешествие Лемюэля Гулливера, сначала хирурга, а потом капитана нескольких кораблей, в страну тикитаков) - a sequel to the original series in which Gulliver's role as a surgeon is more apparent. Tikitaks are people who inject the juice of a unique fruit to make their skin transparent, as they consider people with regular opaque skin secretive and ugly.
  • Davy King's 1978 short story "The Woman Gulliver Left Behind"[6] is a sort of satirical feminist spin on the tale, telling it from the point of view of Gulliver's wife. Alison Fell's novel "The Mistress of Lilliput" does likewise: Mary Gulliver goes travelling herself.
  • The British children's book Mr Majeika on the Internet (2001) by Humphrey Carpenter includes modernized parallels to the lands of the Lilliputians, Brobdingnagians, Laputans and Houyhnhnms.
  • Adam Roberts' novel Swiftly (2008) is set 120 years after Gulliver's time and shows a world where the inhabitants of Lilliput and Blefuscu are now slaves of the British, and the Brobdingnagians are allied to France in a war against Britain.

Uses of characters

Gulliver

Lilliputians

  • The novel Mistress Masham's Repose (1946) by T. H. White features descendants of Lilliputians that were captured and brought to England.
  • The novel Castaways in Lilliput (1958) by Henry Winterfeld is about three normal-sized children who land in a modern version of Lilliput.
  • The TV series The Return of the Antelope (Granada Television) centres around the adventures of three Lilliputian sailors shipwrecked in England. The series was subsequently made into the stories The Return of the Antelope (1985) and its sequels The Antelope Company Ashore (1986) and The Antelope Company at Large (1987), all by Willis Hall. Republished as The Secret Visitors, The Secret Visitors Take Charge, and The Secret Visitors Fight Back.
  • The comic book series Fables (2002-) has a city called "Smalltown" which was founded by self-exiled Lilliputian soldiers. All small Fables (not just Lilliputians) have a tendency to refer to normal-sized people as "gullivers" or as being "gulliver-sized".
  • In early printings of The Hobbit, hobbits are contrasted (in size) with Lilliputians. The reference was removed in the third edition.

Houyhnhnms

  • In John Myers Myers novel Silverlock, the protagonist, A. Clarence Shandon, encounters the Houyhnhnms, and is dismissed by them as a Yahoo.

Adaptations

Literary abridgments

  • "A Voyage to Lilliput" was adapted for inclusion in Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book

Music

  • German composer Georg Philipp Telemann wrote a suite for two violins, the "Gulliver Suite." The five movements are "Intrada," "Chaconne of the Lilliputians," "Gigue of the Brobdingnagians," "Daydreams of the Laputians and their attendant flappers," and "Loure of the well-mannered Houyhnhnms & Wild dance of the untamed Yahoos." Telemann wrote his suite in 1728, only two years after the publication of Swift's novel. In recent years, an eclectic "Gulliver Suite" was written and recorded (2008) by the Italian musician and producer Andrea Ascolini
  • One of popular funk band No More Kings' most popular songs, "Leaving Lilliput", is a retelling of Gulliver's first voyage.
  • In Sereno, an album by Spanish Pop singer Miguel Bosé, he has a song in reference to Gulliver titled Gullever.
  • British Psychedelic Folk band The Yellow Moon Band's debut (2009) album was titled "Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World" in a reference to Swift's book and the ranging and eclectic mix of sounds and influences on the album. The band's guitarist Rudy Carroll has also commented that he lived in a house called "Lilliput" when he was a child.

Film, Television and Radio

Gulliver's Travels has been adapted several times for film, television and radio:

  • The New Gulliver (1935): Russian film by Aleksandr Ptushko about a Soviet schoolboy who dreams about ending up in Lilliput. Notable for its intricate puppetry and a decidedly strange twisting of Swift's tale in favour of Communist ideas. This was the first film to contain stop motion animation in nearly its entire running time.
  • Gulliver's Travels (1981): BBC Radio 3 Drama. 4 Episodes covering each adventure, and transmitted from 4.10.1981 to 25.10.1981. Starring Frank Finlay, William Rushton, Miriam Margolyes, Spike Milligan, Percy Edwards and Margot Boyd.
  • Gulliver's Travels (1996): Live-action television mini-series starring Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. In this version Dr. Gulliver has returned to his family from a long absence. The action shifts back and forth between flashbacks of his travels and the present where he is telling the story of his travels and has been committed to an asylum. It is notable for being one of the very few adaptations to feature all four voyages, and is considered the closest adaptation to the book despite taking several liberties, such as Gulliver not returning home between each part and leaving out the original children from the book for an only child named Thomas.
  • Albhutha Dweepu (2005) A Malayalam Movie based upon Gulliver's Travels, features Prithviraj and Mallika Kapoor in the prominent roles besides 300 dwarfs all through the movie. This movie was later dubbed to Tamil in 2007.
  • Gulliver's Travels (2007) Theatrical adaptation of all four travels. Dramatised by Brian Wright, with music from David Stoll. Performed by Masque Youth Theater in Northampton.
  • Gulliver's Travels (2008) Musical adaptation of all four travels by Chris Chambers and Andy Rapps. Performed at The Minack Theatre, Cornwall in 2008 by The Mitre Players.

Parody

  • A parody exists in the 2010 Chick-fil-A calendar "Great Works of Cow Literature" in June where the novel is referred to as Bulliver's Travels.

See also

References

  1. ^ Gulliver's Travels: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical and Historical Contexts, Palgrave Macmillan 1995 (p. 21). The quote has been misattributed to Alexander Pope, who wrote to Swift in praise of the book just a day earlier.
  2. ^ Clive Probyn, ‘Swift, Jonathan (1667–1745)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2004)
  3. ^ Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick: Volume One, Beyond Lies The Wub, Philip K. Dick, 1999, Millennium, an imprint of Orion Publishing Group, London
  4. ^ The Lilliput Legion, Simon Hawke, 1989, Ace Books, New York, NY
  5. ^ Gassier, Pierre. Les Dessins de Goya: Les Albums. Fribourg: Office du Livre, 1973.
  6. ^ http://www.davyking.com/The%20Woman%20Gulliver%20Left%20Behind.pdf
  7. ^ Internet Archive: Details: Gulliver's Travels
  8. ^ "Chris O'Dowd: The IT Man From The IT Crowd". SuicideGirls.com. 09 May 2009. http://suicidegirls.com/interviews/Chris+O%27Dowd%3A+The+IT+Man+From+The+IT+Crowd/. Retrieved 2009-05-11. .

External links

Online Text

Film

Other Information


Jonathan Swift
File:Jonathan Swift by Charles Jervas
Born 30 November 1667(1667-11-30)
Dublin, Ireland1
Died 19 October 1745 (aged 77)
Ireland
Pen name M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff
Occupation Satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, priest
Language English
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin
Notable work(s) Gulliver's Travels
A Modest Proposal
A Tale of a Tub
Drapier's Letters

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish[1] satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

He is remembered for works such as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

Contents

Biography

Youth

Jonathan Swift was born at No. 7, Hoey's Court, Dublin, and was the second child and only son of Jonathan Swift (a second cousin of John Dryden) and wife Abigail Erick (or Herrick), paternal grandson of Thomas Swift and wife Elizabeth Dryden, daughter of Nicholas Dryden (brother of Sir Erasmus Dryden, 1st Baronet Dryden) and wife Mary Emyley. His father was Irish born and his mother was the sister of the vicar of Frisby-on-the-Wreake, England. Swift arrived seven months after his father's untimely death. Most of the facts of Swift's early life are obscure, confused and sometimes contradictory. It is widely believed that his mother returned to England when Jonathan was still very young, then leaving him to be raised by his father's family. His uncle Godwin took primary responsibility for the young Jonathan, sending him with one of his cousins to Kilkenny College (also attended by the philosopher George Berkeley).

In 1682 he attended Dublin University (Trinity College, Dublin), receiving his B.A. in 1686. Swift was studying for his Master's degree when political troubles in Ireland surrounding the Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688, where his mother helped him get a position as secretary and personal assistant of Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Farnham. Temple was an English diplomat who, having arranged the Triple Alliance of 1668, retired from public service to his country estate to tend his gardens and write his memoirs. Gaining the confidence of his employer, Swift "was often trusted with matters of great importance."[cite this quote] Within three years of their acquaintance, Temple had introduced his secretary to William III, and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments.

When Swift took up his residence at Moor Park, he met Esther Johnson, then 8 years old, the fatherless daughter of one of the household servants. Swift acted as her tutor and mentor, giving her the nickname "Stella", and the two maintained a close but ambiguous relationship for the rest of Esther's life.

Swift left Temple in 1690 for Ireland because of his health, but returned to Moor Park the following year. The illness, fits of vertigo or giddiness—now known to be Ménière's disease—would continue to plague Swift throughout his life. During this second stay with Temple, Swift received his M.A. from Hertford College, Oxford in 1692. Then, apparently despairing of gaining a better position through Temple's patronage, Swift left Moor Park to become an ordained priest in the Established Church of Ireland and in 1694 he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim.

Swift appears to have been miserable in his new position, being isolated in a small, remote community far from the centres of power and influence. While at Kilroot, however, Swift may well have become romantically involved with Jane Waring. A letter from him survives, offering to remain if she would marry him and promising to leave and never return to Ireland if she refused. She presumably refused, because Swift left his post and returned to England and Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696, and he remained there until Temple's death. There he was employed in helping to prepare Temple's memoirs and correspondence for publication. During this time Swift wrote The Battle of the Books, a satire responding to critics of Temple's Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1690). Battle was however not published until 1704.

On January 27, 1699 Temple died. Swift stayed on briefly in England to complete the editing of Temple's memoirs, and perhaps in the hope that recognition of his work might earn him a suitable position in England. However, Swift's work made enemies of some of Temple's family and friends who objected to indiscretions included in the memoirs. His next move was to approach King William directly, based on his imagined connection through Temple and a belief that he had been promised a position. This failed so miserably that he accepted the lesser post of secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland. However, when he reached Ireland he found that the secretaryship had already been given to another. But he soon obtained the living of Laracor, Agher, and Rathbeggan, and the prebend of Dunlavin in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

At Laracor, a mile or two from Trim, County Meath, and twenty miles (32 km) from Dublin, Swift ministered to a congregation of about fifteen people, and had abundant leisure for cultivating his garden, making a canal (after the Dutch fashion of Moor Park), planting willows, and rebuilding the vicarage. As chaplain to Lord Berkeley, he spent much of his time in Dublin and traveled to London frequently over the next ten years. In 1701, Swift published, anonymously, a political pamphlet, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome.

Writer

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. That spring he traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnson—now twenty years old—and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple's household. There is a great mystery and controversy over Swift's relationship with Esther Johnson nicknamed "Stella". Many[who?] hold that they were secretly married in 1716.

During his visits to England in these years Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club (founded in 1713).

Swift became increasingly active politically in these years. From 1707 to 1709 and again in 1710, Swift was in London, unsuccessfully urging upon the Whig administration of Lord Godolphin the claims of the Irish clergy to the First-Fruits and Twentieths ("Queen Anne's Bounty"), which brought in about £2,500 a year, already granted to their brethren in England. He found the opposition Tory leadership more sympathetic to his cause and Swift was recruited to support their cause as editor of the Examiner when they came to power in 1710. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet "The Conduct of the Allies," attacking the Whig government for its inability to end the prolonged war with France. The incoming Tory government conducted secret (and illegal) negotiations with France, resulting in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ending the War of the Spanish Succession.

Swift was part of the inner circle of the Tory government, and often acted as mediator between Henry St. John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710–15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (1711–1714). Swift recorded his experiences and thoughts during this difficult time in a long series of letters to Esther Johnson, later collected and published as The Journal to Stella. The animosity between the two Tory leaders eventually led to the dismissal of Harley in 1714. With the death of Queen Anne and accession of George I that year, the Whigs returned to power and the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France.

Also during these years in London, Swift became acquainted with the Vanhomrigh family and became involved with one of the daughters, Esther, yet another fatherless young woman and another ambiguous relationship to confuse Swift's biographers. Swift furnished Esther with the nickname "Vanessa" and she features as one of the main characters in his poem Cadenus and Vanessa. The poem and their correspondence suggests that Esther was infatuated with Swift, and that he may have reciprocated her affections, only to regret this and then try to break off the relationship. Esther followed Swift to Ireland in 1714, where there appears to have been a confrontation, possibly involving Esther Johnson. Esther Vanhomrigh died in 1723 at the age of 35. Another lady with whom he had a close but less intense relationship was Anne Long, a toast of the Kit-Cat Club.

Maturity

File:St. Patrick's Cathedral Swift
Bust in St. Patrick's Cathedral

Before the fall of the Tory government, Swift hoped that his services would be rewarded with a church appointment in England. However, Queen Anne appeared to have taken a dislike to Swift and thwarted these efforts. The best position his friends could secure for him was the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin. With the return of the Whigs, Swift's best move was to leave England and he returned to Ireland in disappointment, a virtual exile, to live "like a rat in a hole".

Once in Ireland, however, Swift began to turn his pamphleteering skills in support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier's Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot.

Also during these years, he began writing his masterpiece, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver's Travels. Much of the material reflects his political experiences of the preceding decade. For instance, the episode in which the giant Gulliver puts out the Lilliputian palace fire by urinating on it can be seen as a metaphor for the Tories' illegal peace treaty; having done a good thing in an unfortunate manner. In 1726 he paid a long-deferred visit to London, taking with him the manuscript of Gulliver's Travels. During his visit he stayed with his old friends Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of his book. First published in November 1726, it was an immediate hit, with a total of three printings that year and another in early 1727. French, German, and Dutch translations appeared in 1727, and pirated copies were printed in Ireland.

Swift returned to England one more time in 1727 and stayed with Alexander Pope once again. The visit was cut short when Swift received word that Esther Johnson was dying and rushed back home to be with her. On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died; Swift had prayed at her bedside, even composing prayers for her comfort. Swift could not bear to be present at the end, but on the night of her death he began to write his The Death of Mrs. Johnson. He was too ill to attend the funeral at St. Patrick's. Many years later, a lock of hair, assumed to be Esther Johnson's, was found in his desk, wrapped in a paper bearing the words, "Only a woman's hair."

[[File:|thumb|left|150px|Swift's death mask]] Death became a frequent feature in Swift's life from this point. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, his own obituary published in 1739. In 1732, his good friend and collaborator John Gay died. In 1735, John Arbuthnot, another friend from his days in London, died. In 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness, and in 1742 he appears to have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak and realizing his worst fears of becoming mentally disabled. ("I shall be like that tree," he once said, "I shall die at the top.") To protect him from unscrupulous hangers on, who had begun to prey on the great man, his closest companions had him declared of "unsound mind and memory." However, it was long believed by many that Swift was really insane at this point. In his book Literature and Western Man, author J.B. Priestley even cites the final chapters of Gulliver's Travels as proof of Swift's approaching "insanity".

In part VIII of his series, The Story of Civilization, Will Durant describes the final years of Swift's life as such:

"Definite symptoms of madness appeared in 1738. In 1741 guardians were appointed to take care of his affairs and watch lest in his outbursts of violence he should do himself harm. In 1742 he suffered great pain from the inflammation of his left eye, which swelled to the size of an egg; five attendants had to restrain him from tearing out his eye. He went a whole year without uttering a word."[2]

In 1744, Alexander Pope died. Then, on October 19, 1745, Swift died. After being laid out in public view for the people of Dublin to pay their last respects, he was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson's side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (twelve thousand pounds) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, originally known as St. Patrick’s Hospital for Imbeciles, which opened in 1757, and which still exists as a psychiatric hospital.

Epitaph

Text extracted from the introduction to The Journal to Stella by George A. Aitken and from other sources)

Jonathan Swift wrote his own epitaph:

Hic depositum est Corpus
IONATHAN SWIFT S.T.D.
Hujus Ecclesiæ Cathedralis
Decani,
Ubi sæva Indignatio
Ulterius
Cor lacerare nequit,
Abi Viator
Et imitare, si poteris,
Strenuum pro virili
Libertatis Vindicatorem.
Obiit 19º Die Mensis Octobris
A.D. 1745 Anno Ætatis 78º.

The literal translation of which is: "Here is laid the Body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce Indignation can no longer injure the Heart. Go forth, Voyager, and copy, if you can, this vigorous (to the best of his ability) Champion of Liberty. He died on the 19th Day of the Month of October, A.D. 1745, in the 78th Year of his Age."

William Butler Yeats poetically translated it from the Latin as:

Swift has sailed into his rest.
Savage indignation there
cannot lacerate his breast.
Imitate him if you dare,
world-besotted traveller.
He served human liberty.

Works

Swift was a prolific writer, notable for his satires. The most recent collection of his prose works (Herbert Davis, ed. Basil Blackwell, 1965-) comprises fourteen volumes. A recent edition of his complete poetry (Pat Rodges, ed. Penguin, 1983) is 953 pages long. One edition of his correspondence (David Woolley, ed. P. Lang, 1999) fills three volumes.

Major prose works

File:Jonathan Swift - Project Gutenberg eText
Jonathan Swift at the Deanery of St. Patrick's, illus. from 1905 Temple Scott edition of Works
File:Swift
The title page to Swift's 1735 Works, depicting the author in the Dean's chair, receiving the thanks of Ireland. The Horatian motto reads, Exegi Monumentum Ære perennius, "I have completed a monument more lasting than brass." The 'brass' is a pun, for Wood's half-pence (alloyed with brass) is scattered at his feet. Cherubim award Swift a poet's laurel.

Swift's first major prose work, A Tale of a Tub, demonstrates many of the themes and stylistic techniques he would employ in his later work. It is at once wildly playful and funny while being pointed and harshly critical of its targets. In its main thread, the Tale recounts the exploits of three sons, representing the main threads of Christianity, who receive a bequest from their father of a coat each, with the added instructions to make no alterations whatsoever. However, the sons soon find that their coats have fallen out of current fashion, and begin to look for loopholes in their father's will that will let them make the needed alterations. As each finds his own means of getting around their father's admonition, they struggle with each other for power and dominance. Inserted into this story, in alternating chapters, the narrator includes a series of whimsical "digressions" on various subjects.

In 1690, Sir William Temple, Swift's patron, published An Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning a defense of classical writing (see Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns) holding up the Epistles of Phalaris as an example. William Wotton responded to Temple with Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694) showing that the Epistles were a later forgery. A response by the supporters of the Ancients was then made by Charles Boyle (later the 4th Earl of Orrery and father of Swift's first biographer). A further retort on the Modern side came from Richard Bentley, one of the pre-eminent scholars of the day, in his essay Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris (1699). However, the final words on the topic belong to Swift in his Battle of the Books (1697, published 1704) in which he makes a humorous defense on behalf of Temple and the cause of the Ancients.

In 1708, a cobbler named John Partridge published a popular almanac of astrological predictions. Because Partridge falsely determined the deaths of several church officials, Swift attacked Partridge in Predictions For The Ensuing Year by Isaac Bickerstaff, a parody predicting that Partridge would die on March 29. Swift followed up with a pamphlet issued on March 30 claiming that Partridge had in fact died, which was widely believed despite Partridge's statements to the contrary.

Drapier's Letters (1724) was a series of pamphlets against the monopoly granted by the English government to William Wood to provide the Irish with copper coinage. It was widely believed that Wood would need to flood Ireland with debased coinage in order make a profit. In these "letters" Swift posed as a shop-keeper—a draper—in order to criticize the plan. Swift's writing was so effective in undermining opinion in the project that a reward was offered by the government to anyone disclosing the true identity of the author. Though hardly a secret (on returning to Dublin after one of his trips to England, Swift was greeted with a banner, "Welcome Home, Drapier") no one turned Swift in. The government eventually resorted to hiring none other than Sir Isaac Newton to certify the soundness of Wood's coinage to counter Swift's accusations. In "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift" (1739) Swift recalled this as one of his best achievements.

Gulliver's Travels, a large portion of which Swift wrote at Woodbrook House in County Laois, was published in 1726. It is regarded as his masterpiece. As with his other writings, the Travels was published under a pseudonym, the fictional Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon and later a sea captain. Some of the correspondence between printer Benj. Motte and Gulliver's also-fictional cousin negotiating the book's publication has survived. Though it has often been mistakenly thought of and published in bowdlerized form as a children's book, it is a great and sophisticated satire of human nature based on Swift's experience of his times. Gulliver's Travels is an anatomy of human nature, a sardonic looking-glass, often criticized for its apparent misanthropy. It asks its readers to refute it, to deny that it has adequately characterized human nature and society. Each of the four books—recounting four voyages to mostly-fictional exotic lands—has a different theme, but all are attempts to deflate human pride. Critics hail the work as a satiric reflection on the shortcomings of Enlightenment thought.

In 1729, Swift published A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public, a satire in which the narrator, with intentionally grotesque logic, recommends that Ireland's poor escape their poverty by selling their children as food to the rich: ”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food...” Following the satirical form, he introduces the reforms he is actually suggesting by deriding them:
Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients...taxing our absentees...using [nothing] except what is of our own growth and manufacture...rejecting...foreign luxury...introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance...learning to love our country...quitting our animosities and factions...teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants....Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

According to other sources,[citation needed] Richard Steele uses the personae of Isaac Bickerstaff and was the one who wrote about the "death" of John Partridge and published it in The Spectator, not Jonathan Swift.*

Essays, tracts, pamphlets, periodicals

File:CBI - Series B - Ten pound
Swift as depicted on the Irish £10 banknote, issued 1976–1993.

Poems

File:International Mag Jonathan
An 1850 illustration of Swift

Correspondence, personal writings

  • "When I Come to Be Old" – Swift's resolutions. (1699): Full text: JaffeBros
  • The Journal to Stella (1710–1713): Full text (presented as daily entries): The Journal to Stella; Extracts: OurCivilisation.com;
  • Letters:
  • 'The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D'. Edited by David Woolley. In four volumes, plus index volume. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : P. Lang, c1999-c2007.

Sermons, prayers

Miscellany

Legacy

John Ruskin named him as one of the three people in history who were the most influential for him.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Anglo-Irish author, who was the foremost prose satirist in the English language".
  2. ^ "The Story of Civilization", V.8., 362.
  3. ^ John Ruskin: Sesame and Lillies

Biographical sources

  • Samuel Johnson's "Life of Swift": JaffeBros. From his Lives of the Poets.
  • William Makepeace Thackeray's influential vitriolic biography: JaffeBros. From his English Humourists of The Eighteenth Century.
  • Bullitt, John M. Jonathan Swift and the Anatomy of Satire: A Study of Satiric Technique, 1953, Cambridge: Harvard U P,
  • Jae Num Lee "Swift and Scatological Satire", 1971, University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 0826301967 jstor review
  • Lee, Jae Num. "Scatology in Continental Satirical Writings from Aristophanes to Rabelais" and "English Scatological Writings from Skelton to Pope." Swift and Scatological Satire. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1971. 7–22; 23–53.
  • Susan Gubar "The Female Monster in Augustan Satire" Signs, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter, 1977), pp. 380–394
  • Many other sources are listed here.

See also

External links

E-texts of works


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Jonathan Swift article)

From Wikiquote

Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style.

Jonathan Swift (30 November 166719 October 1745) was an Irish writer and satirist. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, although he is also well known for his poetry and essays.

Contents

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  • When I behold this I sighed, and said within myself, "Surely mortal man is a broomstick!" Nature sent him into the world strong and lusty, in a thriving condition, wearing his own hair on his head, the proper branches of this reasoning vegetable, till the axe of intemperance has lopped off his green boughs, and left him a withered trunk; he then flies to art, and puts on a periwig, valuing himself upon an unnatural bundle of hairs, all covered with powder, that never grew on his head; but now should this our broomstick pretend to enter the scene, proud of those birchen spoils it never bore, and all covered with dust, through the sweepings of the finest lady's chamber, we should be apt to ridicule and despise its vanity. Partial judges that we are of our own excellencies, and other men's defaults!
    • Meditation on a Broomstick (1703-1710)
  • There are certain common privileges of a writer, the benefit whereof, I hope, there will be no reason to doubt; particularly, that where I am not understood, it shall be concluded, that something very useful and profound is couched underneath; and again, that whatever word or sentence is printed in a different character, shall be judged to contain something extraordinary either or wit of sublime."
  • I have one word to say upon the subject of profound writers, who are grown very numerous of late; and I know very well the judicious world is resolved to list me in that number. I conceive therefore, as to the business of being profound, that it is with writers as with wells - a person with good eyes may see to the bottom of the deepest, provided any water be there: and often when there is nothing in the world at the bottom besides dryness and dirt, though it be but a yard and a-half under-ground, it shall pass, however, for wondrous deep upon no wiser reason than because it is wondrous dark.
  • Books, the children of the brain.
    • A Tale of a Tub, Sec. 1 (1704)
  • Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
    • The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)
  • Instead of dirt and poison we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.
    • The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)
  • Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
    • A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind (1707)
  • There is nothing in this world constant, but inconstancy.
    • A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind (1707)
  • There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake, though all the World sees them to be in downright nonsense.
    • The Tatler No. 63 (September 1709)
  • And surely one of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid…
    • Hints Toward an Essay on Conversation (1709)
  • 'Tis very warm weather when one's in bed.
    • Journal to Stella (November 8, 1710)
  • We are so fond of one another, because our ailments are the same.
    • Journal to Stella (February 1, 1711)
  • I love good creditable acquaintance; I love to be the worst of the company.
    • Journal to Stella (May 17, 1711)
  • …one enemy can do more hurt, than ten friends can do good.
    • Journal to Stella (30 June, 1711)
  • But nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches, as to conceive how others can be in want.
    • A Preface to the Bishop of Sarum's Introduction to the Third Volume of the History of the Reformation of the Church of England (8 December, 1713)
  • 'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
    That flattery's the food of fools;
    Yet now and then your men of wit
    Will condescend to take a bit.
    • Cadenus and Vanessa (1713)
  • Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style.
    • Letter to a Young Clergyman (January 9, 1720)
  • ...reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired...
    • Letter to a Young Clergyman (January 9, 1720), on proving Christianity to freethinkers
  • If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.
  • So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
    And yet so strong, thou triumph'st o'er the wise.
    • To Love
      • found in Miss Vanhom­righ's desk after her death, in Swift's hand­writing
  • For, in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery: but in fact, eleven men well armed will certainly subdue one single man in his shirt.
  • Libertas et natale solum:
    Fine words! I wonder where you stole 'em.
    • Verses Occasioned by Whitshed's Motto on his Coach (1724)
      • Whitshed was a chief justice enraged by The Drapier's Letters
  • A set of phrases learnt by rote;
    A passion for a scarlet coat;
    When at a play to laugh, or cry,
    Yet cannot tell the reason why:
    Never to hold her tongue a minute;
    While all she prates has nothing in it.
    • The Furniture of a Woman's Mind (1727)
  • For conversation well endued;
    She calls it witty to be rude;
    And, placing raillery in railing,
    Will tell aloud your greatest failing.
    • The Furniture of a Woman's Mind (1727)
  • Those dreams that on the silent night intrude, and with false flitting shapes our minds delude ... are mere productions of the brain. And fools consult interpreters in vain.
    • On Dreams (1727)
  • This evil fortune, which generally attends extraordinary men in the management of great affairs, has been imputed to divers causes, that need not be here set down, when so obvious a one occurs, if what a certain writer observes be true, that when a great genius appears in the world the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
    • Essay on the Fates of Clergymen (1728)
  • I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
  • A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
  • Yet malice never was his aim;
    He lashed the vice but spared the name.
    No individual could resent,
    Where thousands equally were meant.
    His satire points at no defect
    But what all mortals may correct;
    For he abhorred that senseless tribe
    Who call it humor when they gibe.
    • Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, l. 459 (1731)
  • Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
    Lives in a state of war by nature.
    • On Poetry: A Rhapsody (1733)
  • So, naturalists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
    And these have smaller still to bit 'em;
    And so proceed ad infinitum.
    Thus every poet, in his kind,
    Is bit by him that comes behind.
    • On Poetry: A Rhapsody (1733)
  • Conversation is but carving!
    Give no more to every guest
    Than he's able to digest.
    Give him always of the prime,
    And but little at a time.
    Carve to all but just enough,
    Let them neither starve nor stuff,
    And that you may have your due,
    Let your neighbor carve for you.
    • Conversation
  • Under an oak, in stormy weather,
    I joined this rogue and whore together;
    And none but he who rules the thunder
    Can put this rogue and whore asunder.
    • Marriage Certificate. From the Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes, James Sutherland, ed. (1975), no. 77
  • Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred in the company.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754, published posthumously)
  • Pedantry is properly the over-rating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding
  • Pride, ill nature, and want of sense, are the three great sources of ill manners.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding
  • I can discover no political evil in suffering bullies, sharpers, and rakes, to rid the world of each other by a method of their own; where the law hath not been able to find an expedient.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding
  • Nothing is so great an instance of ill manners as flattery. If you flatter all the company, you please none; if you flatter only one or two, you affront the rest.
    • Hints on Good Manners
  • It is impossible that any thing so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.
    • Thoughts on Religion (1765, published posthumously)
  • I shall be like that tree; I shall die from the top.
    • Predicting that he would go senile.[1]
  • Ubi saeva indignatio ulterius cor lacerare nequit
    • Translation: Where savage indignation can lacerate his heart no more.
    • Epitaph. Inscribed on Swift's grave, St. Patrick's, Dublin.

Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)

  • We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
  • Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old.
  • A nice man is a man of nasty ideas.
  • Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
  • What they do in heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not we are told expressly: that they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.
  • The Stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.
  • The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable; for the happy impute all their success to prudence or merit.
  • The latter part of a wise man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
  • Positiveness is a good quality for preachers and orators, because he that would obtrude his thoughts and reasons upon a multitude, will convince others the more, as he appears convinced himself.
  • Politics, as the word is commonly understood, are nothing but corruptions, and consequently of no use to a good king or a good ministry; for which reason Courts are so overrun with politics.
  • Men are contented to be laughed at for their wit, but not for their folly.
  • Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.
  • Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.
  • Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.
  • Invention is the talent of youth, and judgment of age…
  • I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.
  • No wise man ever wished to be younger.

Gulliver's Travels (1726)

  • He (the Emperor) is taller by almost the breadth of my nail, than any of his court, which alone is enough to strike an awe into the beholders.
    • Voyage to Lilliput, Ch. 2
  • I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
    • Voyage to Brobdingnag, Ch. 6
  • And he gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
    • Voyage to Brobdingnag, Ch. 6
  • He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.
    • Voyage to Laputa, Ch. 5
  • I said the thing which was not. (For they have no word in their language to express lying or falsehood.)
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 3
  • Poor Nations are hungry, and rich Nations are proud, and Pride and Hunger will ever be at Variance.
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 5
  • A soldier is a Yahoo (man) hired to kill in cold blood as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can.
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 5
  • I told him...that we ate when we were not hungry, and drank without the provocation of thirst.
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 6

Polite Conversation (1738?)

Dialogue 1

  • The sight of you is good for sore eyes.
  • 'Tis as cheap sitting as standing.
  • I hate nobody: I am in charity with the world.
  • I won't quarrel with my bread and butter.
  • She's no chicken; she's on the wrong side of thirty, if she be a day.
  • She wears her clothes, as if they were thrown on her with a pitchfork.
  • …promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.

Dialogue 2

  • He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.
  • That's as well said, as if I had said it myself.
  • Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives.
  • She has more goodness in her little finger, than he has in his whole body.
  • Lord, I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing!
  • The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.
  • May you live all the days of your life.
  • I always love to begin a journey on Sundays, because I shall have the prayers of the church to preserve all that travel by land, or water.
  • I thought you and he were hand-in-glove.
  • Better belly burst than good liquor be lost.
    • Earlier proverb, quoted in James Howell's English Proverbs (1659)
      • Better belly burst than good drink lost.

Dialogue 3

  • She watches him, as a cat would watch a mouse.
  • She pays him in his own coin.
  • There was all the world and his wife.

Attributed

  • You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come;
    Knock as you please, there's nobody at home.
    • On a Dull Writer, reported in John Hawkesworth, The Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin (1754), p. 265. Alternately attributed to Alexander Pope by Bartlett's Quotations, 10th Edition (1919). Compare: "His wit invites you by his looks to come, But when you knock, it never is at home", William Cowper, Conversation, line 303.

Misattributed

  • There is, indeed, no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.
    • Christian Nestell Bovee, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought
  • As love without esteem is volatile and capricious; esteem without love is languid and cold.

External links

Wikipedia
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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735) is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is his most celebrated work and one of the indisputable classics of the English language. The book became tremendously popular as soon as it was published (John Gay stated that "From the highest to the lowest it is universally read, from the Cabinet-council to the Nursery" [1]) and it is likely that it has never been out of print since then. George Orwell declared it to be among the six most indispensable books in world literature, and it is claimed the inspiration for Gulliver came from the sleeping giant profile of the Cavehill in Belfast.Excerpted from Gulliver's Travels on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Speaker Icon.svg one or more chapters are available in a spoken word format.

Table of Contents

Part I - A Voyage to Lilliput

Part II - A Voyage to Brobdingnag

Part III - A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan

Part IV - A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms

  1. Gulliver's Travels, 2002 Norton Critical Addition

Simple English

Gulliver's Travels, or Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships, is a 1726 fictional satire by Jonathan Swift. The novel follows main character Lemuel Gulliver and his journey to four countries.

The four countries are Lilliput, a land of little people, Brobdingnag, a land of big people, Laputa, a land of intelligent but useless people, and Houyhnhnm, a land of horses.

Swift wrote the novel for adults to show that some people and governments were wrong. The story was intended to make them change.









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