Gulliver's Travels
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Gulliver's Travels

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  118,001 ratings  ·  2,460 reviews
Shipwrecked and cast adrift, Lemuel Gulliver wakes to find himself on Lilliput, an island inhabited by little people, whose height makes their quarrels over fashion and fame seem ridiculous. His subsequent encounters - with the crude giants of Brobdingnag, the philosophical Houyhnhnms and brutish Yahoos - give Gulliver new, bitter insights into human behaviour. Swift's sav...more
Hardcover, Clothbound, 336 pages
Published November 25th 2010 by Penguin Classics (first published 1726)
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Let’s face it….
Jonathan Swift was a snarky, snarky bitch.

Gulliver’s Travels is like a giant pimp slap across the human race face and I am so glad I finally read this in a non-school, non-structured environment because I had a whole lot more fun with it this time around. Swift’s wit, insight and delivery are often, though not always, remarkable and he crams more well thought out jabs and toe-steppings in this slim 250 page novel than I would have thought possible in a work twice this long.


Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745) writes towards the end of his book: author perfectly blameless, against whom the tribe of answerers, considerers, observers, reflecters, detecters, remarkers, will never be able to find matter for exercising their talents.

Had Swift known GR he would probably have included “reviewers” in the above sentence. This thought warns me against continuing any further with my review.

But the Travels of Gullible Gulliver (1726) have made me laugh like no other book for a l...more
Okay, I didn't finish this sucker. It was poor. I was kind of shocked. I was thinking why does no one point out that this is a giant rip off of Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Honey I Blew Up the Kid? It's painfully obvious. I don't see why this Danial Defoe mope has not had his ass sued, maybe he avoided that by writing his ripoff in a long ass frankly boring olde-worlde style so that all the lawyers would fall asleep before they got their writ typed up. The other stuff that isn't Lillypoot and Bor...more
Oh man.
This book was sheer torture.

The writing was dry and bland and boring.
Swift had some really interesting ideas - An island of people no larger than your finger. Another island with people that are 60 feet tall. A floating island, an island of scientists, the island of Yahoos...but the execution was hard to appreciate.

I came very close to putting this novel down many many times.
I admit to not being a fan of early, victorian literature, but this was just painful.
Glad to get the references now: although I could have just read Wikipedia: the Lilliputians are small, the Brobdignagians big, the flying city is whatever, the Houhynhyns are really great (although he's pretty unpersuasive on this -- why are they so great? because they don't have a word for lying? Gulliver grows to love horses so much that he can't speak to his own family when he gets home -- I didn't buy it; I just think he's a misanthrope), and I suppose the most significant use of reading the...more
Another excellent invention of the Laputan Academy is a kind of fellowship or club, which they call in their language Sdaerdoog, or superior literature; and indeed the name does not belie the thing, for it is quite the most superior manner of enjoying literature yet devized. Noting that every man will be well acquainted with the great books of the world, yet few have the inclination to read them, the Laputan savants have ordained a scheme, no less ingenious than equitable, whereby this onerous d...more
Mike Lindgren
It is difficult to describe what Swift's masterpiece means to me. Gulliver's Travels is a book that I will probably be grappling with for the rest of my life, and I mean that in a good way. It is a savage jeu d'esprit, a book about religion with no mention of God, a philosophical end-game written in unadorned prose, a deeply pessimistic statement on human nature, a lacerating attack on the primacy of Reason in Englightenment thought, a pacifist tract, and, yes, one of the funniest books ever wri...more
Anthony Vacca
It’s one of the stranger occurrences that Gulliver’s Travels is recognized more often than not as a fantastical adventure for the delight of children, when in actuality it is one of the bleakest condemnations of human beings to ever corrode a page. The Reverend Swift is a master of misanthropic satire, and even with the arsenal of footnotes (as this wonderful edition from Oxford Classics exhaustively supplies) essential for a well-rounded reading of GT, the Gentle Reader is still left staggering...more
This book was written in 1726. It's pretty old. I anticipated bland writing (check) with a LOT of detailed and seemingly insignificant description (check) and no real story line (check). Helps to be prepared for it. I find it also helps to read an old book out of a vintage edition--it's just that much more fun. Then you can build up a handy sense of romanticism about old literature and float through the dull parts. My copy is from 1947 with a dust cover that's falling apart and that burnt paper...more
Ian Paganus
Swift's Satirical Fantasies

This was another re-read of a novel that I had read as a child and that had left me with very vivid memories.

For the most part, I enjoyed it just as much as I did then. Unlike "Tristram Shandy", it wasn't really a precocious work of Post-Modernism. It was more a collection of satirical fantasies, albeit reliant on a realistic narrative style. Still, it packs a punch I don't recall from my first reading.

Tales of a Traveller Returned Wanting

The novel purports to be a tra...more
Sep 12, 2007 Benjamin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't live in the same country where they grew up
he has 4 travels, right, and it's the first one in all the movies, but the last one is what germans would call 'the hammer.' he goes to this place that's like planet of the apes, except it's horses not apes. and then instead of being all charlton heston about it, he internalizes their shit and wishes he was a horse. he ends back in england and he can't stand the sight of other humans, they're disgusting, not like those noble horses. GENIUS. GENIUS GENIUS. read this book already, jeez!
رحلات جيلفر

ما خلا الكتب المفقودة والتي تم دفنها أو حرقها أو تمزيقها، يمكن اعتبار كتاب (رحلات جيلفر) من أكثر الكتب التي ظلمت في التاريخ، ففي سبيل نشر هذا الكتاب وترويجه، تم تبسيطه، اجتزاءه، ومن ثم تحويله إلى مجرد قصة للأطفال.

كتب جوناثان سويفت كتابه هذا وسط عصر تميز بانتشار كتب الرحلات التي يضعها البحارة الإنجليز، ويملئونها بالأكاذيب لجذب الناس، كما تميز بالصراع السياسي بين حزب المحافظين – الذي ينتمي إليه سويفت – وحزب الأحرار، وقد انعكس هذا كله في الكتاب والذي جاء كمحاكاة ساخرة جداً لكتب الرحلات...more
Quanta amarezza in questo libro. La sua ferocia fa paura; non sorprende che sia stato svuotato e smembrato fino a trasformarlo in una narrazione informe da proporre come "libro per bambini". Quella versione ha il suo fascino avventuroso, ma questo romanzo è stato concepito dall'autore come una severa critica all'umanità cosiddetta civilizzata, e proprio i bambini sembrano essere gli unici ai quali questo rimprovero non è rivolto. Mi piace ricordare il mio primo contatto con Gulliver: avevo circa...more
May 01, 2013 Kyle marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are looking for a reason to read something else
I don't remember the last time I actually abandoned a book, and I usually attempt to power through even books I don't like, so I can get the most complete picture of it. I also have this idea that if a book makes me abandon it, then it has beaten me.

At this point however, I need to be really honest with myself. This just isn't going to happen. I simply can't read this without constantly thinking about all the other things I could be reading instead. I suppose this book has beaten me, but I pref...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
A nice enough edition. 1980. Quarto. A selection of illustrations from previous editions provides for nice variety. The text appears to be unmodernized. Asimov's annotations have as much Asimov about them as they do Swift ; it would have been nice to have notes from a Swift scholar ;; being reminded that such-and-such physical properties of a Swiftian species would be impossible... cute observations, Isaac.

Like it Love it Dull'd by it -- no matter, required reading. I hope to find myself a litt...more
Everyone knows about Gulliver's journey to Lilliput, but how many people know about the rest of the book? How many people know that Gulliver in fact made four journeys, each to different places? I certainly didn't. (Lilliput is included in my computer's dictionary; the names of the other places Gulliver visits are not.)

A lot of people marvel over the fact that people are still reading this book, and Swift's work in general, when so many of his contemporary satirists have been entirely forgotten....more
Call me Robinson. As a renowned world traveller and shipwreckee, I have been drafted as an expert witness to investigate and report upon the veracity of the recorded histories of Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, who has very recently published his memoirs entitled Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. Within the pages of this document, Mr. Gulliver recounts several shipwrecks, mutinies, and other unfortunate...more
At one point during his 20+ year stay on the tiny caribbean island he spends a lifetime domesticating, Robinson Crusoe looks up from his constant cycle of work and sees a tiny spot move across the sun: this, of course, is Laputa, the flying island that C's countryman and fellow sailor Lemuel Gulliver discovers on the third of his four great voyages. At least, that's how I imagine it happening. After all, don't all great travellers, imaginary or otherwise, meet at some point? Wouldn't they have h...more
My class read this right after finishing Robinson Crusoe, which, I think, was a perfect decision on my professor's part. In addition to making bold statements about colonialism and slavery, satirizing the hell out of European government and rulers and scientists and just about everything else, Swift is using Gulliver's Travels to write the longest, best parody of Robinson Crusoe ever. He takes Defoe's long-winded, preachy, boring survival story with racist and imperialist overtones, and turned i...more
I don't understand how anyone could not like this book. I mean, clearly you ignore the second half of it -- no one cares about the Yahoos and the well-spoken Horse People -- but the first half is the best thing ever to be taught in high school!


Okay, it's actually ridiculously boring, but I'm enough of a twelve-year-old-boy to still giggle over the sheer dirtiness of it. I mean, seriously? When he meets the Lilliputians he spends half his time with the king's soldiers walking between his legs...more
MJ Nicholls
Literature doesn't get any better than this.
It’s a good read and probably every bit the masterpiece its reputation claims. The problem with satire, however, is that it doesn’t stand alone. Parody, on the other hand, ought to make sense in itself, but obviously more sense if the object of the parody is understood and familiar. Satire only seems to make sense if you know the original.

The section in Lilliput describing the bloke with different sized heels on his shoes, for instance, is very funny, but only when the footnote has provided the...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally. Sorry, the last couple of sentences get cut off today!)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read a hundred so-called "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Book #21: Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift (1726)

The story in a nutshell:
To really understand the sto...more
I read this about half a century ago in my freshman year of college. I think I need to reread most of the stuff I “read” back then—it seems completely new and fresh now, for some reason. All my lit-nerd friends already know this, of course, but for those who’ve never been forced to read it or much other literature that predates, say, 1975, let me state first: Gulliver’s Travels is not children’s lit. Yes, stripped down to its basic plot elements, put into simpler language and larger print, edite...more
James Steele
What book dares to criticize the government, law, the concept of a nobility and why they’re running things, intellectuals, and human nature itself? Gulliver’s Travels, the most scathing satire ever written.

Gulliver sails to four different lands. The first land is Lilliput, where the people are only six inches tall, a parody of the English monarchy, petty war and the completely illogical way members of government are chosen. The second voyage is to Brobdingnag, a land of giants, also a parody of...more
This is my first time reading this classic satire and I enjoyed it very much. It is an old American edition (1863), divorced from its colleagues in The Works of Dean Swift, with a life of Swift, which I didn’t read, and a peculiar series of annotations at the bottom of many pages, some from the series editor, some from other sources (Hawkesworth, Sheridan). Some are persnickety grammatical corrections. Some are identifying the contemporary sources of Swift’s satire. So a fittingly odd edition.

A classic that deserves to be read by children and adults alike. I liked this book when I was a child, but of course a lot of Swift's humor went over my head at the time. If you've only ever seen the TV and movie versions with Gulliver stomping around in the land of the Lilliputians, you should read the full volume, in which Gulliver also travels to Brobdingnab, the flying island of Laputa, the academy of Lagado, and the land of the Yahoos and the Houyhnhnms.

In part one, Gulliver visits Lilliput...more
You really should know a little bit about the time period this book was written in, especially the governments during that time. It will help immensly with understanding some of the satire and make the book more entertaining to read. Even if you don't understand a word of the satire, however, you will still enjoy it as an entertaining story. A little warning: Swift definitely rambles occasionally, and sometimes his descriptions can get a little long, but the often hilarious satires make it worth...more
May 03, 2013 Thalia rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of HG Wells/Jonathan Swift
Recommended to Thalia by: Austin
Read the review on my blog:
So at a whim I decided that I should read all of those classics I dodged while I was in school. And I had heard this book is a classic. Full of humor, fantasy and political satire. Unfortunately for me I found it was full of a lot of things, but in general the aforementioned weren't a part of it. And as far as it being a classic...well. My understanding of what makes something classic is that in spite of everything it survives the test of time and it is read and remembered now as it had been pre...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swi...more
More about Jonathan Swift...
A Modest Proposal A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings Gulliver's Travels / A Modest Proposal (Enriched Classics) A Tale of a Tub

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