Annotations for Gulliver's Travels : The 1726 Text : Contexts, Criticism
Blackwell North Amer
Shipwrecked and cast adrift, Lemuel Gulliver wakes to find himself in Lilliput, an island inhabited by little people, whose six-inch height makes their quarrels over fashion and fame seem ridiculous. His subsequent encounters - with the crude giants of Brobdingnag, the abstracted scientists of Laputa, the philosophical Houyhnhnms and brutish Yahoos - give Gulliver new, bitter insights into human behaviour.
Although Gulliver's journeys take us to strange and wonderful places, it is impossible to ignore the reflections of ourselves with which Swift peoples his realms, where humankind is seen in a satirical hall of mirrors as a diminished, magnified and finally bestial species. With its wild distortions, optical illusions and undertones of madness and the grotesque, Gulliver's Travels defies our expectations of a conventional traveller's tale. It is in fact a brillantly and rudelly subversive book.
It is accompanied by detailed explanatory annotations.
"Contexts"collects materials that influenced Swift's writing of the novel, aswell as documents that suggest its initial reception, including Swift'scorrespondence, Alexander Pope's poems on Gulliver's Travels, andrelevant passages from Gargantua and Pantagruel.
"Criticism" includes fourteen assessments of Gulliver's Travels by theEarl of Orrery, Sir Walter Scott, Pat Rogers, Michael McKen, J.A.Downie, J. Paul Hunter, Laura Brown, Douglas Lane Patey, Dennis Todd,Richard H. Rodino. Irvin Ehrenpreis, Janine Barchas, Claude Rawson, andHoward D. Weinbrot.
A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included.
This new edition of Swift's satiric classic is based on the 1726text--the edition textual scholars now consider the most authoritative.