Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on... read more
The book presents itself as a simple traveller's narrative with the disingenuous title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, its authorship assigned only to "Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, then a captain of several ships". Different editions contain different versions of the... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The book presents itself as a simple traveller's narrative with the disingenuous title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, its authorship assigned only to "Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, then a captain of several ships". Different editions contain different versions of the prefatory material which are basically the same as forewords in modern books. The book proper then is divided into four parts, which are as follows.
Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput
May 4, 1699 — April 13, 1702
The book begins with a short preamble in which Gulliver, in the style of books of the time, gives a brief outline of his life and history prior to his voyages. He enjoys traveling, although it is that love of travel that is his downfall.
On his first voyage, Gulliver is washed ashore after a shipwreck and awakes to find himself a prisoner of a race of people one-twelfth the size of normal human beings, less than 6 inches (15cm) high, who are inhabitants of the neighbouring and rival countries of Lilliput and Blefuscu. After giving assurances of his good behaviour, he is given a residence in Lilliput and becomes a favourite of the court. From there, the book follows Gulliver's observations on the Court of Lilliput, which is intended to satirise the court of George I (King of England at the time of the writing of the Travels). Gulliver assists the Lilliputians to subdue their neighbours the Blefuscudians by stealing their fleet. However, he refuses to reduce the country to a province of Lilliput, displeasing the King and the court. Gulliver is charged with treason and sentenced to be blinded. With the assistance of a kind friend, Gulliver escapes to Blefuscu, where he spots and retrieves an abandoned boat and sails out to be rescued by a passing ship which safely takes him back home. The Building of residence that Gulliver is given in Lilliput is of note, as in this section he describes it as a temple in which there had some years ago been a murder and the building had been abandoned. Swift in this section, is revealing himself as a member of the Freemasons; this being an allusion to the murder of the legendary grand master of the Freemasons, Hiram Abiff.
Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag
June 20, 1702 — June 3, 1706
When the sailing ship Adventure is steered off course by storms and forced to go in to land for want of fresh water, Gulliver is abandoned by his companions and found by a farmer who is 72 feet (22 m) tall (the scale of Lilliput is approximately 1:12; of Brobdingnag 12:1, judging from Gulliver estimating a man's step being 10 yards (9.1 m)). He brings Gulliver home and his daughter cares for Gulliver. The farmer treats him as a curiosity and exhibits him for money. The word gets out and the Queen of Brobdingnag wants to see the show. She loves Gulliver and he is then bought by her and kept as a favourite at court.
Since Gulliver is too small to use their huge chairs, beds, knives and forks, the queen commissions a small house to be built for Gulliver so that he can be carried around in it. This box is referred to as his travelling box. In between small adventures such as fighting giant wasps and being carried to the roof by a monkey, he discusses the state of Europe with the King. The King is not impressed with Gulliver's accounts of Europe, especially upon learning of the usage of guns and cannons. On a trip to the seaside, his "travelling box" is seized by a giant eagle which drops Gulliver and his box right into the sea where he is picked up by some sailors, who return him to England.
Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan
August 5, 1706 — April 16, 1710
After Gulliver's ship is attacked by pirates, he's marooned near a desolate rocky island, near India. Fortunately he is rescued by the flying island of Laputa, a kingdom devoted to the arts of music and mathematics but utterly unable to use these for practical ends.
Laputa's method of throwing rocks at rebellious surface cities also seems the first time that aerial bombardment was conceived as a method of warfare. While there, he tours the country as the guest of a low-ranking courtier and sees the ruin brought about by blind pursuit of science without practical results in a satire on the Royal Society and its experiments.
While waiting for passage Gulliver takes a short side-trip to the island of Glubbdubdrib, where he visits a magician's dwelling and discusses history with the ghosts of historical figures, the most obvious restatement of the "ancients versus moderns" theme in the book. He also encounters the struldbrugs, unfortunates who are immortal, but not forever young, but rather forever old, complete with the infirmities of old age. Gulliver is then taken to Balnibarbi to await a Dutch trader who can take him on to Japan. While there, Gulliver asks the Emperor "to excuse my performing the ceremony imposed upon my countrymen of trampling upon the crucifix", which the Emperor grants. Gulliver returns home, determined to stay there for the rest of his days.
Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
September 7, 1710 – July 2, 1715
Despite his earlier intention of remaining at home, Gulliver returns to sea as the captain of a 35 ton merchantman as he is bored of his employment as a surgeon. On this voyage he is forced to find new additions to his crew who he believes to have turned the rest of the crew against him. His pirates then mutiny and after keeping him contained for some time resolve to leave him on the first piece of land they come across and continue on as pirates. He is abandoned in a landing boat and comes first upon a race of (apparently) hideous deformed creatures to which he conceives a violent antipathy. Shortly thereafter he meets a horse and comes to understand that the horses (in their language Houyhnhnm or "the perfection of nature") are the rulers and the deformed creatures ("Yahoos") are human beings in their base form. Gulliver becomes a member of the horse's household, and comes to both admire and emulate the Houyhnhnms and their lifestyle, rejecting humans as merely Yahoos endowed with some semblance of reason which they only use to exacerbate and add to the vices Nature gave them. However, an Assembly of the Houyhnhnms rules that Gulliver, a Yahoo with some semblance of reason, is a danger to their civilization and he is expelled. He is then rescued, against his will, by a Portuguese ship, and is surprised to see that Captain Pedro de Mendez, a Yahoo, is a wise, courteous and generous person. He returns to his home in England. However, he is unable to reconcile himself to living among Yahoos; he becomes a recluse, remaining in his house, largely avoiding his family and his wife, and spending several hours a day speaking with the horses in his stables.
“I had been for some Hours extremely pressed by the Necessities of Nature; which was no Wonder, it being almost two Days since I had last disburthened myself. I was under great Difficulties between Urgency and Shame. The best Expedient I could think on, was to creep into my House, which I accordingly did; and shutting the Gate after me, I went as far as the Length of my Chain would suffer; and discharged my Body of that uneasy Load.”
Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput
1. The Author gives some account of himself and family. His first inducements to travel. He is shipwrecked, and swims for his life, gets safe on shore in the country of Lilliput, is made a prisoner, and carries up the country.
2. The Emperor of Lilliput, attended by several of the nobility, comes to see the Author in his confinement. The Emperor's person and habit described. Learned men appointed to teach the Author their language. He gains favour by his mild disposition. His pockets are searched, and his sword and pistols taken from him.
3. The Author diverts the Emperor and his nobility of both sexes, in a very uncommon manner. The diversions of the court of Lilliput described.The Author hath his liberty granted him upon certain conditions.
4. Mildendo the metropolis of Lilliput described, together with the Emperor's palace. A conversation between the Author and a principal Secretary, concerning the affairs of that empire. The Author's offers to serve the Emperor in his wars.
5. The Author, by an extraordinary stratagem, prevents an invasion. A high title of honour is conferred upon him. Ambassadors arrive from the Emperor of Blefuscu, and sue for peace. The Empress's apartment on fire by an accident. The Author instrumental in saving the rest of the palace.
6. Of the inhabitants of Lilliput; their learning, laws and customs, the manner of education their children. The Author's way of living in that country. His vindication of a great lady.
7. The Author, being informed of a design to accuse him of high treason, makes his escape to Blefuscu. His reception there.
8. The Author, by a lucky accident, finds means to leave Blefuscu; and, after some difficulties, returns safe to his native country.
Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag
1. A great storm described; the long-boat sent to fetch water; the Author foes with it to discover the country. He is left on shore, is seized by one of the natives, and carried to a farmer's house. His reception there, with several accidents that happened there. A description of the inhabitants.
2. A description of the farmer's daughter. The Author carried to a market-town, and then to the metropolis. The particulars of his journey.
3. The Author sent for to court. The Queen buys him of his master the farmer, and presents him to the King. He disputes with his Majesty's great scholars. An apartment at Court provided for the Author. He is in high favour with the Queen. He stands up for the honour of his own country. His quarrels with the Queen's dwarf.
4. The country described. A proposal for correcting modern maps. The King's palace, and some account of the metropolis. The Author's way of travelling. The chief temple described.
5. Several adventures that happened to the Author. The execution of a criminal. The Author shows his skill in navigation.
6. Several contrivances of the Author to please the King and Queen. He shows his skill in music. The King inquires into the state of Europe, which the Author relates to him. The King's observances thereon.
7.The Author's love of his country. He makes a proposal of much advantage to the King, which is rejected. The King's great ignorance in politics. The learning of that country very imperfect and confined. Their laws, and military affairs, and parties in the State.
8. The King and Queen make a progress to the frontiers. The Author attends to them. The manner in which he leaves the country very particularly related. He returns to England.
Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Blubbdubdrib, and Japan
1. The Authors sets out on his third voyage, is taken by pirates. The malice of Dutchman. His arrival at an island. He is received into Laputa.
2. The humours and dispositions of the Laputians described. An account of their learning. Of the King and his Court. The Author's reception there. The inhabitants subject to fear and disquietudes. An account of the women.
3. A phenomenon solved by modern philosophy and astronomy. The Laputians' great improvements in the latter. The King's method of suppressing insurrections.
4. The Author leaves Laputa; is conveyed to Balnibarbi, arrives at the metropolis. A description of the metropolis, and the country adjoining. The Author hospitably received by a great lord. His conversation with that lord.
5. The Author permitted to see the Grand Academy of Lagado. The Academy largely described. The Arts wherein the professors employ themselves.
6. A further account of the Academy. The Author proposes some improvements, which are honourably received.
7. The Author leaves Lagado, arrives at Maldonada. No ship ready. He takes a short voyage to Glubbdubdrib. His reception by the Governor.
8. A further account of Glubbdubdrib. Ancient and modern history corrected.
9. The Author returns to Maldonada. Sails to the kingdom of Luggnagg. The Author confined. He is sent for to court. The manner of his admittance. The King's great lenity to his subjects.
10. The Luggnaggians commended. A particular description of the Struldbrugs, with many conversations between the Author and some eminent persons upon that subject.
11. The Author leaves Luggnagg, and sails to Japan. From thence he returns in a Dutch ship to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to England.
Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
1. The Author sets out as Captain of a ship. His men conspire against him, confine him a long time to his cabin, set him on shore in an unknown land. He travels up in the country. The Yahoos, a strange sort of animal, described. The Author meets two Houyhnhnms.
2. The Author conducted by a Houyhnhnm to his house. The house described. The Author's reception. The food of the Houyhnhnms. The Author in distress for want of meat, is at last relieved. His manner of feeding in this country.
3. The Author studious to learn the language; the Houyhnhnm his master assists in teaching him. The language described. Several Houyhnhnms of quality some out of curiosity to see the Author. He gives his master a short account of his voyage.
4. The Houyhnhnms' notion of truth and falsehood. The Author's discourse disapproved of by his master. The Author gives a more particular account of himself, and the accidents of his voyage.
5. The Author, at his master's command, informs him of the state of England. The causes of war among the princes of Europe. The Author begins to explain the English constitution.
6. A continuation on the state of England under Queen Anne. The character of a first minister in the courts of Europe.
7. The Author's great love of his native country. His master's observations upon the constitution and administration of England, as described by the Author, with parallel cases and comparisons. His master's observations upon human nature.
8. The Author relates several particulars of the Yahoos. The great virtues of the Houyhnhnms. The education and exercises of their youth. Their general assembly.
9. A grand debate at the general assembly of the Houyhnhnms, and how it was determined. The learning of the Houyhnhnms. Their buildings. Their manner of burials. The defectiveness of their language.
10. The Author's economy, and happy life among the Houyhnhnms. His great improvement in virtue, by conversing with them. Their conversations. The Author has notice given him by his master that he must depart from the country. He falls into a swoon for grief, but submits. He contrives and finishes a canoe, by the help of a fellow-servant, and puts to sea at a venture.
11. The Author's dangerous voyage. He arrives at New Holland, hoping to settle there. Is wounded with an arrow by one of the natives. Is seized and carried by force into a Portuguese ship. The great civilities of the Captain. The Author arrives at England.
12. The Author's veracity. His design in publishing this work. His censure of those travellers who swerve from the truth. The Author clears himself from any sinister ends in writing. An objection answered. The method of planting colonies. His native country commended. The right of the Crown to those countries described y the Author is justified. The difficulty of conquering them. The Author takes his last leave of the reader, proposeth his manner of living for the future, gives good advice, and concludes.
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