Annotations for Gulliver's Travels
, by Jonathan Swift
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Considered the greatest satire ever written in English, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms: Lilliput, where the people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants; Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos.
Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver's Travels is one of literature's most durable masterpieces.
Michael Seidel is Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He has written widely on eighteenth-century literature. His books include Satiric Inheritance: Rabelais to Sterne (1979), Exile and the Narrative Imagination (1986), and Robinson Crusoe: Island Myths and the Novel (1991).