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LIT 2001 Major English Writers 1 Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

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Presentation on theme: "LIT 2001 Major English Writers 1 Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels."— Presentation transcript:

1 LIT 2001 Major English Writers 1 Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

2 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Characteristics of the Neoclassical Age ( ) --also referred to as “The Age of Reason” and “The Enlightenment,” a reaction against the enthusiasm of the Renaissance. Human beings as limited and imperfect Reverence for reason and rules (“Age of Reason”) Distrust of imagination and innovation Emphasis on groups rather than the individual

3 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Characteristics of the Neoclassical Age ( ) Belief in Deism (the “argument from design,” God as the Divine Clockmaker) Emphasis on symmetry, unity, harmony Emphasis on the didactic and the satiric (satire = “a critical attitude mixed with humor and wit, generally for the purpose of improving humanity”) Emphasis on the polite, urbane, witty, and intellectual “One truth is clear: Whatever IS, is RIGHT” (Pope’s An Essay on Man 292)

4 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 The Restoration (1660) = civil war in England, conflict between Charles I and Parliament 1646 = Charles I was arrested, tried, and executed; Charles II goes into exile The Puritan Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protectorate of England (England without a king) 1660 = Charles II is restored to the crown (the restoration)

5 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 The Restoration (1660) 1665 = The plague killed 75,000 people in London 1666 = The Great London Fire left 100,000 people homeless 1667 = Milton’s Paradise Lost published 1729 = Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels published

6 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Gulliver’s Travels: Genres Satire = “a critical attitude mixed with humor and wit, generally for the purpose of improving humanity” Allegory of 18 th century English politics Parody (satirical imitation) of contemporary travel literature

7 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Gulliver’s Travels: Major Themes Government / 18 th Century English politics War Human Nature

8 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Gulliver’s Travels as a Dark Look at Humanity Parts of Gulliver’s Travels are funny; parts are dark The original purpose to “satirize the foolishness of modern man” Notice anything critical of human beings yet? Gulliver seems to become a misanthrope; is Swift a misanthrope?

9 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Passages to Discuss The Opening Letter: Pages Gulliver views human beings pessimistically Is Gulliver an idealist, or is he crazy? The Opening Letter: Page 2491 Gulliver’s conversation with his horses Gulliver gives up forever his “visionary schemes”

10 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Passages to Discuss Opening of Chapter 1: Page Note the different tone from in the opening letter Note the pun Chapter 2: Page 2499 Gulliver relieving himself Why the emphasis on excrement?

11 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Passages to Discuss Chapter 2: Page Gulliver as representing Ireland

12 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Satire of Politics and Politicians The Lilliputians have a love for pomp and ceremony: note the military parades, the ceremony for swearing oaths. Walking the tightrope The absurd manner of swearing an oath The High Heels and the Low Heels The Big-Endians and the Little Endians

13 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Satire of Politics and Politicians Bringing the Blefuscudians into submission The charges against Gulliver The proposed punishment for Gulliver* The custom of praising the emperor’s “tenderness,” leniency, and compassion after cruel punishments are handed down

14 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Satire of Politics and Politicians The corruption of politicians Skyresh Bolgolam: “who was pleased, without provocation, to be [Gulliver’s] mortal enemy.” Flimnap: Gulliver says, “This was the first time I began to conceive some imperfect idea of courts and ministers” Rumors among politicians accuse Gulliver of having an affair with a fine lady

15 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Does anything about the Lilliputians seem like a good idea? False Accusers Put to Death More rewards for good behavior than punishments for bad Children and Parents

16 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 Satire Reminder: satire = “a critical attitude mixed with humor and wit, generally for the purpose of improving humanity.” Purpose of satire—to make us look critically at ourselves

17 Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 The Theme of Vision or Seeing Lilliputians see “with great exactness, but at no great distance.” Gulliver’s protection of his eyes Gulliver’s protection of his eyeglasses Gulliver flees the island of Lilliput after he is threatened with the punishment of being blinded


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