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Gulliver's Travels

by ,

In Jonathan Swift's bitter, witty, and utterly brilliant satire of the state of England in the early 18th century, his hero, Lemuel Gulliver (the epitome of the average man), becomes, as he travels, increasingly frustrated by the corruption and irrationality of the human race. His sea voyage takes him first to Lilliput, where he is first exploited by its tiny citizens and then condemned as a traitor. Then he lands in Brobdingnag, to whom he is the Lilliputian; he is repulsed by the size, grossness, and stupidity of the giants who capture him. His third voyage is to Laputa, where Swift wickedly satirizes intellectuals as impractical twits. It's only in the land of the Houyhnhnms that Gulliver finds peace, where gentle, intelligent, and ever-rational horses rule the land and the humans--known as Yahoos--are brutish and stupid. When Gulliver is cast out, he is consumed with grief, and his return to England--the land of true Yahoos--brings him no joy. When it first appeared (1726), GULLIVER'S TRAVELS shocked the reading public with its bitter outlook and general irreverence, and its graphic descriptions of bodily functions. It remains, however, a treasure of English literature. Even for readers who no longer understand the political context that is the main point of the merciless satire, the book is a work of wild imagination, enormous humor, and thrilling adventure. Hide synopsis

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