Gulliver’s Travels

By Jonathan Swift
Read by Pamela Garelick

11.88 Hours 02/01/2007 unabridged
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This enduring classic tells of the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, an English ship’s surgeon who becomes a castaway in strange and faraway lands. Shipwrecked upon the shores of Lilliput, he encounters the six-inch-high Lilliputians, whose petty wars, civil strife, and vanities are human follies so reduced in scale as to be rendered ridiculous. From there he travels on to Brobdingnag, where he finds himself surrounded by crude giants who cannot appreciate his abstract intellect and prefer to display him as a curiosity. Further voyages take Gulliver to the floating island of Laputa, a land of intellectuals who are ignorant of practical life, and to the Island of Sorcerers, who share with him the lies of history. Finally, he visits the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of wise and gentle horses served by degenerate humanlike creatures. Gulliver’s travels are entertaining adventures that also offer him new, bitter insights into human behavior. Both an amusing fantasy and a devastating satire of society, Gulliver’s Travels is as witty and relevant in our own age of hypocrisy and irony as it was in Swift’s eighteenth century. 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.

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Summary

Summary

This enduring classic tells of the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, an English ship’s surgeon who becomes a castaway in strange and faraway lands. Shipwrecked upon the shores of Lilliput, he encounters the six-inch-high Lilliputians, whose petty wars, civil strife, and vanities are human follies so reduced in scale as to be rendered ridiculous. From there he travels on to Brobdingnag, where he finds himself surrounded by crude giants who cannot appreciate his abstract intellect and prefer to display him as a curiosity. Further voyages take Gulliver to the floating island of Laputa, a land of intellectuals who are ignorant of practical life, and to the Island of Sorcerers, who share with him the lies of history. Finally, he visits the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of wise and gentle horses served by degenerate humanlike creatures. Gulliver’s travels are entertaining adventures that also offer him new, bitter insights into human behavior. Both an amusing fantasy and a devastating satire of society, Gulliver’s Travels is as witty and relevant in our own age of hypocrisy and irony as it was in Swift’s eighteenth century.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A masterwork of irony…that contains both a dark and bitter meaning and a joyous, extraordinary creativity of imagination. That’s why it has lived for so long." Malcolm Bradbury, author of The History Man
“One of the masterpieces of satire among the world’s literature.” Masterpieces of World Literature
“A multifarious book, it is various in its appeal: it is enchantingly playful and fantastic and is often read by children; it is a witty, allegorical depiction of the political life and values of Swift’s time; it is a bitter denunciation of mankind; finally it is Swift’s reflections on man’s corruption of his highest attribute, reason.” The Reader’s Encyclopedia
“Here is a book come out, that all our people of taste run mad about…and very wonderful it is.” Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Reviews

Reviews

by Ash Ryan 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

A monument to misanthropy

Gulliver's Travels has some amusing and even a few insightful bits, but Swift was no Voltaire. A satire not so much on some particular human follies as on man as such, this book is basically a monument to misanthropy---as is made painfully clear in the heavy-handed fourth part. Not that satire has to be subtle, but it should at least be accurate, at most an exaggeration of the truth rather than a projection of one's own bitter prejudices. Swift's portrayal of human society, even as imperfect as it was (and even more so in his time than now), is at best one-sided. It ends with the narrator repulsed by the smell of his wife, and disgusted with himself for ever having coupled with her and brought children into the world. If you can sympathize with that sentiment, then you might find Swift's satire to be penetrating and clever. If, on the other hand, you see any value in human life and hold it to be more important than the vice and suffering that necessarily characterize some part of it, then you might be better off reading something else.

Author

Author Bio: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) was an Anglo-Irish priest, author, journalist, political pamphleteer, and poet. He is primarily known as a prose satirist for such works as “A Modest Proposal.” The dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral from 1713, he was considered Dublin’s foremost citizen.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 11.88
Audience: Adult
Language: English