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Friday, 15 May 2015

Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels is a satire by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary subgenre.

The novel's full title was Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. (Swift was nervous about the reaction his satire might provoke hence the Lemuel Gulliver pseudonym)

Swift originally left the manuscript on the doorstep of a publisher, Benjamin Motte with a demand for a huge fee of £200. Motte recognizing a best-seller agreed to publish it immediately.

As Motte feared prosecution concerning the book's anti-Whig satire, he cut or altered the worst offending passages (such as the descriptions of the court contests in Lilliput and the rebellion of Lindalino) and added some material in defense of Queen Anne.

The first edition of Gulliver's Travels was published in two volumes on October 26, 1726, priced at 8s. 6d. The book was an instant sensation and sold out its first run in less than a week.

First edition of Gulliver's Travels

One of the episodes Gulliver found himself was being shipwrecked on a land of little people called Lilliput. The book's protagonist finds himself in the middle of a dispute where the Lilliputians are arguing whether to break eggs at the broad or narrow end. Swift was satirizing religious disputes between Protestants and Catholics.

Swift described in Gulliver's Travels  the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. He did this more than a hundred years before either moon was officially discovered. As the Earth has one moon and Jupiter he mistakenly thought four, Swift formulated the geometrical progression that Mars would have two. Because of this, Swift Crater on the Martian Moon Deimos is named after him. 

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