Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

This is a classic book that I gave a good shot at reading.

The story is about a sailor getting stuck first with a bunch of tiny people, then with giant people.

The book started with some sort of (angry?) letter from the main character about I don't know what.

A page or two into the story the main character is shipwrecked on a deserted island that is inhabited by tiny people.  I'm not sure how big the people are supposed to be. At one point it is said that they are six inches tall and their horses are four and a half inches tall.  But at another point the main character stretches his handkerchief on some sticks as an elevated stage. (I don't know why.)  And apparently the mounted tiny people perform military maneuvers on his handkerchief stage.  If I'm not mistaken, a handkerchief is about a foot square which would mean that about four four and a half inch tall horses would fill the stage.  There are also repeated references to the tiny people needing ladders to climb on top of him when he is lying down.

I stopped reading after getting a fair ways in.  Once again a classic book of literature disappoints me as reading materiel.  A guy getting stuck with tiny and giant people is a very interesting idea, but Gulliver's Travels is very poorly written and I won't bother to finish reading it.


  1. Gulliver's Travels is heavy going, no question. Rev. Swift was attempting to simultaneously entertain and educate about the English government of his time. He didn't really manage either, sad to say. The other problem is that since 1726 the English language has changed significantly, which makes the book harder to understand.

    I managed to get through it after realizing that Swift was criticizing his culture, government and ruler, pointing out their failures and hypocrisy, while trying to keep plausible deniability so he wouldn't be hushed up or otherwise dealt with. Rev. Swift eventually went over that line with 'A Modest Proposal', and his publishers were put out of business (he never wrote under his own name).

    1. An interesting comment. Thank you for posting it.