Read Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings by Jonathan Swift Online


Ted Danson reads the official tie-in to Hallmark Entertainments NBC-TV television event! Imagine the greatest adventure of all time.... Rediscover the immortal story of Lemuel Gulliver and his fantastic voyage. Join him on his journey to the land of the six-inch-high Lilliputians...and into the royal court of the sixty-foot-tall Brobdingnagians. Ascend with him to the flyiTed Danson reads the official tie-in to Hallmark Entertainments NBC-TV television event! Imagine the greatest adventure of all time.... Rediscover the immortal story of Lemuel Gulliver and his fantastic voyage. Join him on his journey to the land of the six-inch-high Lilliputians...and into the royal court of the sixty-foot-tall Brobdingnagians. Ascend with him to the flying island of Laputa, whose inhabitants are endowed with uncommon intelligence, but no common sense at all. And follow him into the world of the Houyhnhnms, a race of civilized horses -- lords and masters of the brutish human Yahoos. The tale of a lifetime, "Gulliver's Travels" is filled with action, romance, danger, satirical wit, timeless wisdom, and the high drama only a classic of this caliber can convey. Set sail!...

Title : Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings
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ISBN : 9780808519591
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Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings Reviews

  • Nathan
    2019-02-10 16:15

    A Bantam pb from 1962, reprint 1981. Some of this stuff was written in 1697. It’s ôld. Into the gutter left and right about two-letters’ worth of a span are nearly illegible. But for fifty coppers, I knew what I was getting. One makes due. And plans for a better annotated, more nicely bound edition in one’s future.The first piece, popularly known as Gulliver’s Travels, I have failed to review elsewhere. I hesitate to link to that Review knowing that such appearance of self-promotion is and ought to be frowned upon. But I recognize too that the mere mention of the fact that I’ve made mention of it here will impel you to seek it out and Like it anyway. Or not. What you will read there, should you head thitherward, is the mere recommendation of it as “required reading”, a spurned designation which says little more than “classic.” It has both its wit and its entertainment value. The Travels, I mean.Second piece is a lovely novel called A Tale of a Tub: Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind (spelling here slightly modernized). What is bound in this Bantam is a reproduction of the fifth edition, described as “With Author’s Apology and Explanatory Notes. By W. W--tt--n, B.D. and others.” The following treatises wrote by the author are announced as forthcoming (I’m still waiting) :: A Character of the present Set of Wits in this Island.A panegyric Essay upon the Number Three. (would that he had writ one upon Four).A Dissertation upon the principal Productions of Grub Street. Lectures upon a Dissection of Human Nature. A Panegyric upon the World. An analytical Discourse upon Zeal, histori-theo-physi-logically considered. A general History of Ears (for a general theory of noses, vide Tristram Shandy).A modest Defence of the Proceedings of the Rabble in all Ages. A Description of the Kingdom of Absurdities. A Voyage into England, by a Person of Quality in Terra Australis incognita, translated from the Original. A critical Essay upon the Art of Canting, philosophically, physically, and musically considered. These several treatises are touched upon and lightly discussed in the work under discussion.A Tale of a Tub, being a charming, if rather standard and Traditional kind of novel, is organized along the following lines. (I make this delineation if only to demonstrate the rather straight=forward and conventional nature of what has been previously dismissed as a “difficult” work).The first :: “An Apology, For the, &c.”. This from our Author’s hand, June 3, 1709.Secondly :: “Postscript”. The which is an apparent appendage to the first. Followed by “To the Right Honourable, John Lord Somers.” which will be acknowledged as an entirely justifiable practice. (from the hand of “The Bookseller”).Fourth, “The Bookseller to the Reader”. (a nice touch, if a bit overdone).The next piece is of high=conventional fictioneering, “The Epistle Dedicatory to His Royal Highness Prince Posterity.”Properly placed in the succeeding position, “The Preface” which is well placed in towards the beginning of our novel.And thus with the meat of the matter taken care of, wrapped warmly in packaging paper and set aside we continue to the middle matter::“Section I. The Introduction.”In order to more fully sketch the true structure of this work, the following items will be delineated along two lines, nämlich, the central thread first followed by a sketch of the digressive matter. Thusly we read :: “Section III. A Digression Concerning Critics.”“Section V. A Digression in the Modern Kind.”“Section VII. A Digression in Praise of Digressions.”“Section IX. A Digression concerning the Original, The Use, And Improvement of Madness in a Commonwealth.” (self-explanatory)“The Conclusion” (in which a number of conclusionary remarks and remarks by way of concluding are made ; all without being superfluous). Into this novel Mr Swift has felt it necessary, perhaps due to a fit of pretentiousness, to weave in a little moral story about three brothers and their Dead Father. It’s a nice enough tale and perhaps he needed to include it in order to get his novel past the censors, but it would have been nice if he stuck straight to his narrative and had disallowed his own propensity for showing=off from getting in the way of what would have been a very enjoyable novel with real characters that just jump off the page like Salmon at Leixlip! That digressionary tale is structured in the following manner ::“Section II.” (bears no subtitle).“Section IV. A Tale of a Tub”.“Section VI. A Tale of a Tub.” (Our author is rather annoyingly redundant in the subtitling of these digressive passages).“Section VIII. A Tale of a Tub.” [sic]“Section X. A Tale of a Tub.” [ditto]“Section XI. A Tale of a Tub.” (Our author’s lack of originality really starts to show in these section=titles).So much for what ought to count as Swift’s mastery of the form of the novel, entire and complete. For we must recognize that those little digressionary passages containing the story of those three brothers and their Dead Father must count as that part of the novel-definition in which we understand “something wrong with it.”If I may intrude just for a brief moment. In order to settle things even, fair & square, &c., with the current critical and perspicacious practice among our Good Readers, I do owe it to point out that this edition contains at least one typographical error. I recall not precisely where, which page, although it was verso, the final word. The err’r consists of a failing “i” in the word “critic.” Make of that what you will, but I think the joke is quite plain. Which reminds me. Also according to standard practice, I, your Faithful Reviewer, will float this Review into your literary and critical Feed Troughs each time I endeavor to correct a comma, dot an i or perform like function upon a tee, or should any peas and cues require Verbesserung. I confess my failure heretofore in properly performing this social grace and vow, &c, &c, & &c.Back to our book...Next in our Bantam :: “A Full and true Account of the Battel Fought last Friday, Between the Antient and the Modern Books in St. James’s Library.” The astute reader will recognize this as the purist of plagiarisms, ripping off almost without blushing the current story underway, nämlich, “The Present and Continuing Account of the Bottle Being Fought Presently and Currently Right Now, Between Good Books and Popular Books on” Nevertheless, there is a charming story contained herein about a battle between a spider and a bee. Not to be missed!“A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit in a Letter to a Friend. A Fragment.” This and the above were at one time bound together with the above=twice. But this “discourse” is entirely disappointing for this reason :: it leaves me failing the capacity to make the comment I had intended to make upon reading its title but prior to reading its text. Namely of course, that Swift has written the wrong thing here. Instead of writing a satirical piece about the gaseous wailing of persons religious and spirituoso, he ought to have written about the mechanistic philosophy of mind then detectable in the likes of philosophers such as Mr Hobbes. Had he done so then herein this Review I could have remarked about how little progress have we made in the direction of a truly philosophical understanding of the mind ; substituting for ourselves instead a bunch of erroneous naturalistic superstitions and neuro-xyz junk. So I’ll just say what I want to say anyway and let the rest of you take the easy- and cheap- shots at the religiously clownish.Had Swift been a man of the Left instead of the conservative creep and party=switcher which he in fact was, we could have imagined a present-day Swift writing a satirical piece entitled “An Argument to Prove That the Abolishing of the Private Health Insurance Industry In the USofA. May, as Things Now Stand, Be Attended with Some Inconveniences, and Perhaps Not Produce Those Many Good Effects Proposed Thereby.” Instead, he predicts our present times quite perspicaciously whereby we retain nominal christianity and nominal atheism both as our national religions. [I confess that this locution, “nominal atheism” may prove controversial. By it one should understand merely that assemblage of atheists who feel compelled to confess their atheism. The parallel with the nominal christian should be made clear enough when considered in contrast to each their opposite, the ‘real’ or ‘true’ version of each.] There’s more stuff in this Bantam. Not to spoil plot or anything by putting flowers on its grave, but here’s what’s there ::“The Bickerstaff Papers” (three items) -- So a target easy which might be an equivalent today to the (still) easy target of astrological prognostication, may I suggest the TED talks?“The Examiner: No. 14, Nov. 9, 1710”. I don’t know what this is because I’ve not read it yet but the title is rather appealing, to use an understatement expression.“The Drapier’s Letters: The First Letter”. Required Reading, probably, for Wakeans and a variety of Finnegans, whether awake, alive or merely asleep.“A Modest Proposal” I understand this to be a kind of PoMo cookbook (ie, a PoMoCoBo).Swift’s Correspondence (a meager three exemplars). Again, do you know Stella & Stella? Ppt!Swift’s Poems. God help us all if we’ve gotta read poems just for in order to get page=count credit!Chronology. I always skip these things. As boring as History.Selected Bibliography -- Please don’t tell me what to read. I’m perfectly happy just knowing what I like.And to conclude, the opening line of the Introduction, not from Our Author’s hand ::“Of satire in general and of Jonathan Swift in particular, this may safely be prognosticated -- * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * “✝✝”"Here is pretended a defect in the manuscript, and this is very frequent with Our Reviewer, either when He thinks He cannot say anything worth reading, or when He has no mind to enter on the subject, or when it is a matter of little moment, or perhaps to amuse His reader (whereof he is frequently very fond) or lastly, with some satirical and plagiaristic intention.""

  • Leo .
    2019-02-19 16:16

    What high adventure. Maybe I was Gulliver in my youth. I certainly had an adventure.🐯👍

  • Jeanette
    2019-01-24 17:14

    I picked up this collection because I wanted to read A Modest Proposal. It's one of those must-reads, and only nine pages long. Written in 1729, it's a bitingly satirical economic solution to the problem of poverty among Irish families with too many mouths to feed. Quite funny in some places, unless you're a very literal person, in which case you'll find it gruesome. Here's a example: "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." Three stars for that selection. As for the rest of the book, I've decided not to waste my time. Since I had the book around, I slogged through Part I of Gulliver's Travels and then quit. I've heard about it all my life...classic, right? Huh, well, don't waste your time. I'm well aware that it is carefully veiled political satire aimed at specific personages, but it's now so outdated as to be meaningless. Even with the copious explanatory footnotes in the version I read, it made little sense to me. Besides that, it's un-be-freaking-lievably boring, and just plain gross in some places. One star for Gulliver.I read bits and pieces of other selections in the book, and won't be reading any more. Overall assessment = 2 stars

  • Sarah Rose
    2019-02-07 12:20

    This is just a review of Gulliver's Travels.There are two ways to read this book: 1, as satire, and 2, as a fantasy/travel story. If I was living in 18th century Britain, I'm sure I would appreciate all the little jabs and bits of satire found within it. Unfortunately I do not, so I was only able to understand and appreciate a small amount of the wit.Thus, I read it purely as a fictional narrative, which is simply what it is not meant to be. You get very little sense of who the narrator is as a person; the people he encounters are clearly meant to be satire, which the reader cannot comprehend. In my opinion, when fantasy elements only exist for the purpose of satire, they stop being fantasy. There was more focus on the culture of these beings (for the purposes of satire) than on any actual plot.Not to mention, of all the bizarre places he visits, one of them is Japan, which apparently has trade relations with some of these fantastic creatures, and there is just so much wrong with that.For people well versed in British political history of this time period, I'm sure the book is a delight, and if I was reading it at that time period, as a member of the intended audience, I may have appreciated it more. However, reading it as a tale of fiction I found it simultaneously dull and ridiculous, and overall found it to be distinctly un-enjoyable.

  • Michael
    2019-01-31 14:01

    I read this at the turn of the millennium, along with Ambrose Bierce and H. L. Mencken, as it seemed an ideal time to get to know the great cynics of the English language. I was mostly familiar with Gulliver through various child-oriented media adaptations, and had never really experienced the whole story as it was intended - as a satire of European society in the Age of "Enlightenment." Happily, this version gave me that opportunity, and was also annotated to give context to some of what Swift was lampooning, as well as a chance to read a few of Swift's other works.“Gulliver’s Travels” is a novel-length tale that takes up just over half the volume. It is, I think, the most readily accessible to a modern reader of the works in here. It is a rousing adventure story, similar in some ways to “Robinson Crusoe,” in which a luckless traveler is castaway in unexplored regions of the Earth’s oceans and must fend for himself in a strange environment. Fortunately (mostly) for Gulliver, the islands he encounters are populated, but by various strange inhabitants, whose customs and physical form he must adapt to. The most well-known of these are the Lilliputians, who are the first people he encounters, and who stand only six inches high. They have a fairly European culture, in spite of their diminutiveness, and Gulliver gets along with them well, ultimately arbitrating in a war with their miniature neighbors which is started over which side of an egg one “ought” to crack open. This part is a mockery of the minor points of theology that divided Englighmen at the time, but can be extended to any sectarian dispute or cause for war. He later encounters a land of giants, in which he seems the Lilliputian, and also the dread Yahoos and the noble Houyhnhmms, a race descended from horses, who are clearly superior to human beings. Throughout, the language and descriptions are delightful, and there is enough action to hold the attention of a modern reader.“The Tale of a Tub,” “The Battle of the Books,” and “The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit” are shorter pieces which satire English learned society in their spiritual hypocrisy, their divisiveness, and their disregard for tradition. “The Tale of a Tub” is fairly hard going, grounded in disputes of the day and using intentionally overblown language, although it does contain a good parody of the three major Christian sects of the day, and their lack of respect for their heritage. “Battle of the Books” is more exciting, with a library coming to life and drawing lines between “Ancients” and “Moderns,” who conduct an amusing war with one another. The “Ancients,” it is presumed, win due to their possessing greater substance. In some ways, it is a commentary on the proliferation of writing made possible by the printing press, and the corresponding decline of quality as quantity increased. This could be relevant to today’s explosion of electronic publishing as well. “Mechanical Operation of the Spirit” is a sort of parody of the “Enthusiastic” religious trend of his day, essentially arguing that they have confused sensual pleasure for religious devotion.Also worth noting are “A Modest Proposal” and “The Abolishing of Christianity,” both of which satire positions in an extreme way, making it appear that the author is arguing for the exact opposite of what he wants. Instead, he is showing the logical conclusion of his opponent’s arguments, and thereby destroying that position. In “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being Poor,” Swift argues satirically that the most kind approach to the problem of Ireland within the Empire would be to start eating Irish babies and prevent their continued procreation. It is worth noting that Swift was Irish himself, and felt that the English had no business trying to repress the Irish national spirit. “The Abolishing of Christianity in England” essentially argues that if the Church of England continues on its present course, there will be no future for Christianity in England. He pretends to be arguing against an already-decided course, and to be very humbly suggesting that Christianity’s merits may be being overlooked, but in fact he is arguing very strongly that political and religious developments in England are appalling.There are several more small pieces in the book, including some of Swift’s poetry, which very from difficult to delightful. The whole is well worth the time of anyone interested in modern English writing and thought and its historical development.

  • Fenixbird SandS
    2019-02-16 15:23

    has a collection of Swift's poems+ politically incorrect, "A Tale of a Tub." "A Description of the Morning" (1709) by Jonathan SwiftNow hardly here and there a hackney-coachAppearing, showed the ruddy morn's approach.Now Betty from her master's bed had flown,And softly stole to discompose her own.The slipshod prentice from his Master's door,Had par'd the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.Now Moll had whirl'd her mop with dext'rous airs,Prepar'd to scrub the entry and the stairs.The youth with broomy stumps began to trace,The kennel-edge where wheels had worn the place.The small-coal man was heard with cadence deep,'Till drown'd in shriller notes of chimney-sweep,Duns at his Lordship's gate began to meet,And brickdust Moll had scream'd thru half the street.The turnkey now his flock returning sees,Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees:The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands;And school-boys lad with sachels in their hands.Simply loved this classic children's tale (THIS edition does have footnotes) As this author was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1667 the son of English parents. Active in politics, he returned to Ireland following years in England, filling the spot of "Chaplain to the Lord Justice," Jonathan Swift was a "Tory" a supporter of the Irish resistance. "A wee bit of history" lies in these pages....This edition has a collection of Swift's poems, correspondence + his politically incorrect, "A Tale of a Tub."

  • Sarah
    2019-01-29 16:28

    There was some interesting social and political commentary in here, especially in Parts III and IV. And I appreciated that. And I know this complaint sort of is beside the point, but it's my honest complaint and I'm going to state it. Why the hell did this guy ever get married and have kids? He always goes on adventures because he apparently can't stand to be at home for more than a couple of months at a time and craves the open seas. And when he's on these adventures, he never seems to miss his family back home. It seems like an afterthought combined with a tidy way of wrapping up each tale--on the last page it's always "and then I returned home to my wife and children." The end. Annoying.

  • Mo
    2019-02-14 14:28

    I remember this being much more interesting when I was a kid. Maybe I was reading a children's or abridged version because I couldn't even finish part one this time. It's too bad because it does sound like a really interesting story, just not so much while I'm actually reading it.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-25 16:15

    I read this years ago too, but I still remember a lot of it. ;-)

  • Carol
    2019-02-09 16:24

    This is a book that everyone should read at some point in their life. I was surprised a few times to discover that some of the ideas that I thought were fairly new, actual were already being talked about in Swift's time. You can get a good view of what society was doing and how little some of it has changed over time. like with many classical books, we all think that we know the story until you read them. That's when you can get the little details hidden in the greater story that makes it complete and real. Go to the Library, Book Store or download it, but please do read it.

  • Joy Gerbode
    2019-01-22 14:18

    This is an interesting story of a man traveling and meeting people SO different from himself. It is difficult to read ... the language is a bit unusual, but mostly it's just the writing style is hard to follow. In honesty, while I read the entire book, I'm not sure I really "got" it all. And I'm sure there is some deeper symbolism that I didn't even begin to uncover. Might be worth another read sometime down the road.

  • Kyle K
    2019-01-25 16:21

    Gulliver's Travels - A Tale of a Tub - The Battle of the Books - A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit - The Abolishing of Christianity in England - The Bickerstaff Papers:Predictions - The Accomplishment - A Vindication - The Examiner: No. 14, Nov. 9, 1710 - The Drapier's Letters: The First Letter - A Modest Proposal - Swift's Correspondence:Journal to Stella, Letters II, L - Swift to John Gay - Swift to Alexander Pope - Swift's Poems:A Description of the Morning - A Description of a City Shower - Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D. - On Poetry: A Rhapsody -

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-02-12 14:25

    The introduction to my edition claims that "Gulliver's Travels has held our attention for nearly three centuries because of its uncanny ability to be whatever we have wanted it to be: a political book, a children's book, a merry book, a mad book, satiric, ironic, parodic, perhaps a novel, perhaps not." The source material sure doesn't read like children's fare. Although I suppose small boys might very well adore the bathroom humor, I can't see them getting past the antique language with unending paragraphs, random capitalizations, archaic spellings and a wealth of political allusions needing footnotes to unravel. And after the first half, with Gulliver as giant to the Lilliputans and then a doll-sized figure among the giant Brobdingnags, these tall tales become both too erudite and too bitter for children. In the third part dealing with the flying island of Laputa, the political allegory becomes a lot more pointed. Gulliver's Travels reminds me of a blend of Alice in Wonderland and science fiction--using strange unknown lands and peoples to look at ourselves in fresh ways. It's often funny and wildly imaginative in its details, although other parts make for heavy reading with lots of dense, pedantic exposition. I wouldn't call Swift congenial company among classic writers. He said in a letter to Pope his purpose is "to vex the world rather than divert it." Swift also strikes me as a very conservative mindset, and I don't mean that in a simple political capital "C" contemporary sense. In fact in some ways he can be very forward looking for his period. He believed women should be educated the same as men and had the same intellectual potential. So the introduction and notes say, and you can see hints of that view in Gulliver's Travels and more explicitly in his "Letter to a Young Lady." But Swift is also deeply suspicious of innovation or the possibility of real progress. To change is to degenerate according to Swift, not improve. The derision leveled at the Academy in Part III and its junk science and absurdest art is particularly cutting--and still feels relevant. (Although that's nothing to the utterly scathing rant against lawyers in Part IV--and yes, a lot of its points are still relevant too.) Certainly his tale in the last part of the Yahoos (humanoid beasts) and Houyhnhnms (horse-shaped but noble and rational) is deeply biting about human nature. Given this is all told through Gulliver's first person narrative and the way Gulliver degenerates after living among the Houyhnhms I'm not certain which ways it cuts. Are the Houyhnhms really noble creatures against which humans are found wanting? Or are they a commentary about the dehumanizing effects of slavery and imperialism?I suppose I might be able to tell better by reading more of Swift. And I tried. The edition I have includes other writings by Swift, the most substantial of which is The Tale of the Tub. I'm afraid I found it far less engaging than Gulliver's Travels. Perhaps if I were a student of the period or a contemporary of Swift I might have found it much more relevant or amusing. But since I really couldn't care less whether Roman Catholicism, the Church of England, or "Dissenters" such as Baptists or Quakers constitute the "true" faith I admit I was soon so very, very bored--and grateful I wasn't forced to read this for school. The one other work of Swift beside Gulliver's Travels I would very much recommend to a general reader is his lacerating satiric essay "A Modest Proposal." I don't want to give too much away, but it's one of those very few essays, such as Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own," that you remember vividly once read even decades later.

  • Arielle Masters
    2019-01-24 19:20

    Read this once or twice growing up; now re-reading it for a library book club I'm in. By reading this, I mean Gulliver's Travels - not the essays (other than A Modest Proposal, which I did re-read).From previous readings, I mostly remembered Gulliver going to Lilliput, where he was the huge guy; then going to Brobdingnag (sp?), where he was the tiny guy, and then there being a land with talking horses but no details from that stayed with me. I hadn't remembered a flying island or any of Gulliver's other pit stops, nor the length of his time away from home, so it's very likely that my previous readings were of an abridged or completely kid-oriented version of the book rather than the copy I currently have (which is pretty old and well-used).Then vs. now: I remembered it as an adventure story with a bit of humor as Gulliver's [Swift's] society was compared and contrasted a little with each of the others. I did not, however, know or remember the extent of the comparisons - with characters representing specific politicians, royalty, scientists, and philosophers and places representing London/Britain/Ireland/other specific real-world locations. I had remembered it as being light-hearted; reading it as an adult, it was rather serious and very long-winded most of the time as philosophies and cultures were related (or skewered) in detail and at length and specific lines of scientific inquiry were ridiculed. I had not remembered any sexual references or much about marital relationships from previous readings, and there were a couple of the former and many comments about the latter. Gulliver was away from his wife for months to years at a time yet seems hardly to miss her while away and seems hardly to care once he returns. Same for Gulliver's child(ren). Gulliver comments on the women in the various societies he visits; yet almost nothing about his own family. Doesn't sound like Swift thought much of women, although I suppose that wasn't that unusual three hundred-odd years ago.In our discussion of the book at the library book club, which is what I re-read it for this round, we decided the scientific explanation for the flying island could be read as a very early example of science fiction. We agreed that was pretty imaginative for the early 1700s. This time around, I noticed the diagram for the literary machine (at the science academy, in the flying island portion of the book) and realized it was basically - or at least was very closely based on - a chart of Japanese syllables. I couldn't make a lot of them out, not being able to read the language, but they looked like handwritten versions of the printed versions of that alphabet. A quick Google search turned up someone else's reference to that chart as likely being based on a specific French chart of the Japanese alphabet from a little before Swift's time. Interestingly, that chart shows up in the book *before* the section in which Gulliver goes - very briefly - to visit Japan.The book was well worth reading, for its imagination and various insights into good and bad aspects of society. Without knowing the history and settings of Swift's lifetime better, it was hard for me to know how Swift's contemporaries would have read it. How clearly would the historical, political, and scientific allusions have stuck out to them? Would they take it basically as we see lighthearted political roasts? Would they have been more amused or offended while reading it? How much would they have agreed or disagreed with his political and social opinions?Lots to think about, but it wasn't as much fun as on previous reads when it was mostly an imaginative, fantastic adventure story.

  • Realini
    2019-01-26 13:02

    Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan SwiftClassic, yes but just 7 out of 10 for this pretentious reader- Is there any novel more famous than Gulliver’s Travels- I doubt it These are notes that do not refer to style, objective merits, historical context and all the other literary aspects.For a professional opinion a reader is way better off searching for an appreciated critic and skip these amateur scribbling.For what is worth, once in a while curiosities attract our attention, be they cats that adopt baby ducks or amateur opinions on…Gulliver.We all know about the shipwreck and the ordeal of the giant- in the first part- trapped by the Lilliputians. I was curious to see what effect this story will produce on me after so many years and what it looks like in a different form.Mindset makes a tremendous difference.When I approach a book thinking it will be a disappointment, it is most of the time, even if it is acclaimed as a masterpiece.Gulliver is not in the same position, for I know that it was included in the list of best 100 books ever written.So it is not a flimsy creation, even if I would not place it among my favorite 100 books and would not take it on an island.This is mainly because I thought of it as a children’s book and not really worth the attention of an adult…well, educated grown up in any case.This proves how superficial a judgment call can beFirst of all, there are symbols in the book and references to major themes and important subjects of the day.If I remember correctly, Swift has transported some of the issues of his time into the lands and disputes that take place in The Travels.Second of all, there are passages that are inappropriate for children, with more than erotic flavor and perhaps even pornographic.Maybe it is just my sick imagination or a bad memory, but I think that when Gulliver was visiting the giants he was kind of abused.- Or was he quite happy with the treatment received?The adaptation that I heard this morning does not delve into that Paternal Guidance or adult material.But what I recall is that Gulliver had a giant companion that he played with him in a sexually explicit manner.She would be charged with harassment in the world of today.And it does come back to me- Gulliver was not pleased with being moved over the nearly naked (?) body of a woman.As a giant, the smells of the lady were appropriately huge and disturbing.The same happened with her features- breasts were not pleasant, attractive female attributes, but hills.Small pimples were like disgusting extra organs or limbs, the whole was more of a monstrosity than enticing partner.I wonder how my macaws see me- as a giant freak?

  • Dee
    2019-01-21 15:22

    It's a wonderful book. At first, I didn't like it but that was because I was reading it as an adventure book and not as a satire. This book is a satire criticizing scientists, philosophers and the politicians of then England. AMAZING!

  • Susan
    2019-02-13 18:20

    I don’t think I read this as a kid, or if I did I only read the Lilliput part, though I did remember that Gulliver also met big people who treated him like a little doll. Those were parts 1 and 2. In part 3, he visits a number of different places trying to get home. He encounters people whose dedication to science makes them incapable of doing anything practical and some humans who never die but continue to age, being “written off” by their culture when their contemporaries die so that the live a painful and miserable death. Finally, in part 4, he lands in the land of the Houyhnhnms who are rational horses who don’t even have words for lie, deceit, murder, etc. There are also Yahoos, and they look just like Gulliver but are assumed to be completely irrational because all they do is scrap and fight. Gulliver is finally forced to leave because he appears to be a Yahoo—even though he’s made friends among the Houyhnnms. He makes his way back to England and turns in revulsion from his wife and children and all other humans, being so traumatized by the Yahoos and his own sense that he’s really one of them.The satire is funny, even when you don’t track down all the specific references to Swift’s contemporary world, but the last part where Gulliver is revolted by the Yahoos and their behavior is no longer so funny. The reader is tempted, like Gulliver, to revile one’s own kind who, even 300 years later, are still busy lying, cheating and making war.

  • Eric
    2019-02-04 18:08

    This was a bit of a struggle. At some point it came close to being more than I could handle; I began to get dispirited and discouraged, my reading slowing to a crawl as I got lost in its labyrinthine passages and suffocated under a veritable deluge of description/exposition. Thankfully I rallied, & in the end raced over the finish line as the book itself took on a whole new dimension of profundity in its final section. Far more than the imaginative adventure story parody its reputation would suggest, this is a daring masterpiece that skewers almost every element of "modern" society and "civilization" keenly & mercilessly, from colonialism & war, the structures and politics of nations to the most basic human interactions, and all done with such a brilliant, hyperactive imagination way beyond anything else to be found in literature. If Alan Moore wrote in the 1700s while on a continuous speed binge, you would get something along these lines. Part of the problem for me is the unvarying tone, all so matter-of-fact, so prehistoric in its way as compared to the various moods & voices of the modern & post modern authors who have populated our reading for the past century or so.

  • Damien Malcolm
    2019-01-30 17:05

    Due mostly to the age of the book and language idiosyncrasies of time, I often found this difficult to read out loud, as did my children find it equally difficult to understand. Having said that, the story itself is not bad; some parts are quite entertaining and the premise is interesting. The author frequently waffles off on a tanjent, though, going into far too much detail on a certain subject - then ironically pulling himself up a page later saying something like "but I would not bother the reader with that." Well, you just did, mate. ;) My eldest son wanted me to give this only one star, and the others concurred. However I feel they didn't fully grasp the classic stature of the story. It's a part of historical literary culture, and should be respected for that. It's a story all young people should have a go at when their reading level becomes strong enough. Just keep an old Oxford handy for when you stumble over those now unused 300yr old words and want to know what they mean.

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    2019-01-24 15:08

    Will the real Gulliver please stand up?Is it an authentic Gulliver experience to read the children's picture book?Or is it a more genuine experience to read it, unedited, without pictures, on a Kindle?I read both this week. I liked the children's version better. The pictures were fun and the edited text included the best of the original and omitted the extraneous material that seemed irrelevant to the heart of the book. I'm happy I read the original as well as the edited version. I can see the appeal of this book for readers. Funny. Thoughtful. Gulliver visits places in the world that make his entire worldview shift and crumble and, finally, evolve. A wonderful book. Or books.

  • Tyler Chatelain
    2019-01-21 14:29

    Gulliver's Travels is an absolutely ridiculous tale, throwing Lemuel Gulliver into a series of strange encounters which seem like alternate worlds that parallel society. The novel was so appealing throughout due to the way the satire treats society, particularly in response to the feudalism of the Lilliputs (whose society appears comical in trying to oppress the "giant" Gulliver) and the seemingly sardonic take on the English Royal Society and its incredibly disgusting, often inane experiments. Throughout the nvel Swift shows how a writer can take the ridiculous notions of society and twist them into something even more absurd to draw reflection on how we consider such aspects.

  • Micah Grant
    2019-02-05 17:23

    I was under the impression that this was a book of fairy tales, but it turned out to be commentary on the social structure, government, and morality of the people of his time. Many things he pointed out are still applicable today. His descriptions of the way people view morality and reason, among other things, are very insightful. This should be required reading in schools to help give people the perspective they need to look at their own lives and see where they need to improve. I'll likely make this required reading for my own children.

  • Diane
    2019-01-22 13:27

    I finally finished this book today. I extremely struggled to get through the Other Stories part. The part with Gulliver's Travels surprised me. I've always thought it was just about the little people of Lilliput ... but there's 3 other sections which include Giants, an Island in the Sky and Horses. So on a scale of 5 stars .... I give Gulliver's Travels a 3 and the Other Stories a 1 ... so giving the book a 2 (or 4 on a scale of 10 stars).

  • Dorothy R
    2019-02-20 11:16

    Finally read this one. Probably would have been much more fulfilling if I were up on my British history of the time frame during which he wrote - although some of the satire was even funnier considering the passage of time. For example, I am sure that his making fun of Isaac Newton's belief in gravity is much more interesting since it is no longer questioned as a valid scientific operator but is accepted as the truth. And learning where the word "yahoo" came from was a little bonus.

  • Rebeca
    2019-02-19 12:17

    The real rating I give this book is a 1.5 star, but I put 2 just to be nice. I just hated the ending and the constant satire. It annoyed me to death. I should just be able to read a book without having to analyze it and think about what Swift's meaning behind it is supposed to be. For Gulliver to end up conversing with his horses after all he experienced just isn't a great ending to me, let alone a great book.

  • Clintington Clintington
    2019-02-19 15:14

    I grew up reading the different chapters sprinkled in bits and pieces all through elementary and junior high. The novel as a whole is a great fantasy for all ages. Yes, there is social commentary, but when you're a kid you enjoy the fantasy elements. The social commentary stuff is enjoyable for we adults who think so highly of ourselves now that we can "analyze" things. ;-) Point being, an enjoyable read.

  • Laura
    2019-02-21 15:18

    I'm not going to say that this is a terrible book it was probably an awesome book when it was written it's just that all the satire went right over my head. The story itself I found way to long and can't see it being a good children's story at all. It was just crammed with some much boring detail that I didn't find entertaining or necessary.

  • Kirsten
    2019-02-21 15:28

    Some classics tell their age more than others. Swift wrote satire about current events--and that quite brilliantly--but some of the objects of his critique are dead and buried. Still, the story itself holds its own well enough. New lands, giants, ship wrecks, pirates, mad scientists, talking horses...there's something in it for everyone.

  • Laila Doncaster
    2019-02-02 19:23

    Gulliver's Travels was one of my all-time favorite books as a child and young adult. Adventures beyond the known and off into the worlds of the unknown, there are remarkable things to discover and rediscover as you follow Gulliver through his world of travels. Swift makes creating other worlds a fun and fascinating venture. This book is on my bookshelf of children's best reads.

  • Sharon
    2019-01-27 19:24

    The first time I tried to read this for high school English I had a version that was printed as Swift had written it: strange spelling, capital letters in the middle of sentences. I could not get through it. Once I found a more comprehensible version, I made it through, but I never really enjoyed any of it. Adore the animated film, though ("All's well!).