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“I enjoyed reading this book and was surprised by some of its contents. Gulliver's Travels is a book that I had heard about and read excerpts from -- part of the story of Gulliver's visit to Lilliput was in a High School English text -- but not a book that I had ever read.
Didn’t Like It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“Ugh...this is the WORST book I've ever read. It's SO SO boring. Read it and see for yourself!”see full review » see other reviews »
“for book group 2014-01”Laur J wrote this review 3 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Gulliver's Travels written by Jonathan Swift is an exceptional story with its fictional characters and geography filled with adventure. The story first takes place talking about where the main character, Lemuel Gulliver, originated in Nottinghamshire and how he traveled throughout Europe to end up as a surgeon for the ship the Antelope, only to be shipwrecked onto the island nation of Liliput, further on to the island of Brobdingnag, then to the floating island of Laputa, onward to Japan, and finally to the island of Houyhnhnm . Liliput, Brobdingnag, and Laputa all resembled Medieval Europe except that the Laputa's inhabitants were only 6 inches and Brobdingnag had giants whose landscape was proportional to their size. Also, Houyhnhnm was filled with majestic horses named Houyhnhnms who spoke and understood English. The land was also filled with humanoid creatures who resembled humans named Yahoos. The setting showed a very nostalgic yet different environment for the protagonist which shows Jonathan Swift's creative and unique way of writing.
Lemuel Gulliver is the protagonist and narrator of the story. Gulliver is a very educated man who mastered mathematics and navigation at the University of Leiden. His lust for adventure brings him on to face great obstacles. He is adaptable to wherever mysterious island he arrives and becomes allies with the inhabitants. However, at the end of the story he neglects humankind and refers them to "Yahoos" and is thought to be insane for trying to communicate with horses after his visit to Houyhnhnm.
It is not one character that effects Lemuel Gulliver but a whole race. This race is the Houyhnhnms whose basis of reason sways the Protagonist. Their basis of reason, organized civilization, and peaceful methods influences Lemuel into thinking that humankind is inferior. In the end, Lemuel neglects the human society and is thought to be insane as he tries to communicate with average horses. In a way, we could say that the author, Jonathan Swift,feels this way as well and unleashes his opinion into Gulliver's Travels.
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is a very unique book that deserves to be enlisted as one of English's greatest literatures. Its story will awe and give the audience a sense of adventure. In your minds you will see the 6 inch inhabitants of Lilipita, the giants of Brobdingin, the intelligent Laputa, and the advance horses of Houyhnhnms. Although the book's vocabulary resembles 16th century literature which may be hard for some readers a hard time reading, it is a very extraordinary story. Gulliver's Travels was ahead of its time and even has a film that features Jack Black (though the film does not cover all of the story). ”
“NC1370L (Non-Conforming)”Lacey Renee wrote this review Monday, November 4, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Lovely illustrations on this kindle version. Re-reading this childhood favorite from the library, now mine on kindle.”Moon Cat wrote this review Sunday, October 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“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.”
“Classic tale of a traveler who gets lost twice on the high-seas.... the story of his journeys and the differences and similarities of the civilizations he experiences... Also subtle suggestions of how silly our civilization acts in our day to day world that we know so well... Best quote from the book = "I cannot but conclude that 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."”Steven H wrote this review Tuesday, August 27, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What started off as a promising little tale of lemeul Gulliver's sea-faring travels to lilliput, soon became a satirical rant on political procedures and war. If it wasn't for Swift's long, windy sentences, I may have enjoyed this more but then again, I'm not keen on politics”Raggedtig wrote this review Friday, August 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was an interesting story. Each adventure was interesting and of course since Jonathan Swift was a political writer, it's not surprising there was a lot of political discussion. What made the reading challenging was quite literally, his writing. He gave way too much information in areas that just did not need more explanation and he skipped over some of the more adventurous aspects of the story. What the could have been if Jules Verne had written it. Still interesting.”Marguerite M wrote this review Wednesday, August 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Horrible book. ”Kaisa wrote this review Tuesday, June 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No