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Jonathan Swift 1667-1745.

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Presentation on theme: "Jonathan Swift 1667-1745."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jonathan Swift

2 Jonathan Swift Swift was born in Ireland in 1667
He received a BA from Trinity College, Dublin in 1686 He received an MA from Oxford in 1692 He became an Anglican priest in 1695 He was granted a Dr. of Divinity degree from Trinity in 1702 He was active in the early debates of the political parties in England—Whigs and Tories Swift is famous for his satires: A Modest Proposal (1729) Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

3 Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels 3. Laputa
Four books/voyages: Brobdingnag 1. Lilliput 4. Houyhnhnms

4 What does it mean to be a human being?
Lemuel Gulliver’s four voyages can be seen as a satirical exploration of the human condition: What does it mean to be a human being? The name “Gulliver” may suggest that he is “gullible”

5 Travel Narrative Gulliver’s Travels is a parody of the genre of “travel narrative” During the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, these tales of voyages of exploration and colonial adventure were extremely popular: Christopher Columbus Amerigo Vespucci (for whom “America” is named) Sir Walter Raleigh Captain John Smith More’s Utopia also parodies the genre. Travel narratives are often sometimes “utopian”—Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels also parodies More’s Utopia

6 Lilliput Gulliver encounters a land of tiny people, Lilliput, after being shipwrecked on his first voyage. They are 1/12th the size of the average human, about 6” According to Stuart Sherman, editor of the Longman Anthology of British Literature Vol. 1c: The diminutive citizens of Lilliput represent human small-mindedness and petty ambitions. Filled with self-importance, they Lilliputians are cruel, treacherous, malicious and destructive. (Longman Anthology, p. 2531)

7 Brobdingnag Gulliver’s second voyage, to Brobdingnag, a land of giants: In Brobdingnag Gulliver is reduced to the size of a Lilliputian. 12X the size of man, about 72’ According to Stuart Sherman: He is humbled by his own helplessness and, finding the huge bodies of the Brobdingnagians grotesque, he realizes how repulsive the Lilliputians must have found him (Longman Anthology, p. 2531)

8 Brobdingnag When Gulliver gives the wise king of Brobdingnag an account of the political affairs of England—which manifest hypocrisy, avarice and hatred—the enlightened monarch concludes that most of the country’s inhabitants must be “the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the Earth.” Throughout Gulliver’s Travels that which is admirable is held up to expose corruption in the reader’s world, and that which is deplorable is identified with the institutions and practices of contemporary Europe, particularly Britain. (Longman Anthology, p. 2531)

The third part deals with mainly with his accidental visit to the flying Island, where the philosophers and projectors devote all their time and energy to the study of some absurd problems. He also encounters Struldbruggs, immortals that face the same ailments as everyone else, they just never die

10 Houyhnhnms and Yahoos Gulliver’s crew mutinies and puts him ashore on an unknown island The island turns out to be inhabited by the “Houyhnhnms”--creatures who look like horses but are more civilized and intelligent than humans, in Gulliver’s view The island also has “Yahoos”—creatures who look like humans but are sub-human in intelligence, savage and disgusting

11 The last part is a most interesting account of his discoveries in the Houyhnhnm land, where horses are endowed with reason and all good and admirable qualities, and are the governing class. Contrary to the Houyhnhnms, the Yahoos possess every conceivable evil. They are malicious, spiteful, envious, unclean and greedy. Gulliver admires the life and ways of the horses, as much as he is disgusted with the Yahoos, whose relations remind him of those existing in English society to such a degree that he shudders at the prospect of returning to his native.

12 Examination of the Houyhnhnm
Express neither grief nor joy Devaluation of love and all emotion Rigid Society REASON alone dominates all thinking and decision making Nonexistence for rules or laws Relationships and courtships have no place Monotonous existence

13 Examination of the Yahoo
Greed and envy Society of without trust Social Chaos/Anarchy Rage and Revenge Society without law or order Devaluation of life and destruction of society Malicious and cruel

14 Examination of the Pedro de Mendez
Not fully reasonable Value the principles of conduct Capable of Reason Capable of reason Charitable and judging Existence of hypicrosy

15 Houyhnhnm – what we could be if we relied solely on reason without any regard for emotion or conduct
Yahoo- what we are fully capable of becoming when we let greed, lust, jealousy, rage and revenge dictate. Captain Mendez- exemplifies what we as a society should aspire to become. Spontaneous, generous and charitable.

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