BLTC Press Titles


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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Gulliver's travels

by Jonathan Swift

Excerpt:

* Sec a correspondence on this translation, between the Abbe" and the Dean, In July and August 1727, In vol. xL-N.

"These voyages arc considered as a mere political romance,—to correct Vice, by showing its deformity in opposition to Virtue, and to amend the false system of philosophy, by pointing out the errors, and applying salutary means to amend them." Orrery.

"This important year (1727) sent into the world 'Gulliver's Travels,' a production so new and so strange, that it filled the reader with a mingled emotion of merriment and amazement. It was received with such avidity, that the price of the first edition was raised before the second could be made; it was read by the high and the low, the learned and" illiterate. Criticism was for a while lost in wonder. No rules of judgment were applied to a book written in open defiance of truth and regularity. But when distinctions came to be made, the part which gave least plenum e was that which describes the Flying Island, and that which gave most disgvist must be the history of the Hovyhnhnms. While Swift was enjoying the reputation of his new work, the news of the king's death arrived, and he kissed the hands of the new king and queen three days after their accession.'' Johnson.

"'Gulliver's Travels' and the 'Tale of a Tub' are indisputably the two most capital works of Swift." Warton.

"From the whole of those two vovages to Lilliout and Brobdingnag arises one genera] remark, which, however obvious, has been overlooked by those who consider them as little more than the sport of a wanton imagination. When human actions are ascribed to pigmies and giants, there are few that do not excite either contempt, disgust, or horror; to ascribe them therefore to such beings, was perhaps the most probable method of engaging the mind to examine them with attention, and judge of them with impartiality, by suspending the fascination of habit," and exhibiting familiar objects in a new light The use of the fable then is not less apparent than important and extensive; and that this use was intended by the author, can be doubted only by those who are disposed to affirm, that order and regularity are the effects of chance.

"To mortify pride, which indeed was not made for man, and produces not only the most ridiculous follies, but the most extensive calamity, appears to have been one general view of the author in every part of these Travels. Personal strength and beauty, the wisdom and the virtue of mankind, become objects not of pride but of humility, in the diminutive stature and contemptible weakness of the Lilliputians, in the horrid deformity of the Brobdingnagians, in the learned folly of the Laputians, and in the parallel drawn between our manners and those of the Houyhnhnms.'' Hawkesworth.

"The Lilliputians of Swift may pass for probable beings, not so much because we know that a belief in pigmies was once current in the world (for the true ancient pigmy was at least thrice as tall as those whom Gulliver visitedH, but because we find that every circumstance relating to them accords with itself, and their supposed character. It is not the size of the people only that is diminutive; their country, seas, ships, and towns are all in exact proportion: their theological and political principles, their passions, manners, customs, and all the parts of their conduct, betray a levity and littleness perfectly suitable: and so simple is the whole narration, and apparently so artless and sincere, that I should not wonder if it had imposed (as I have been told it has) upon some persons of no contemptible understanding. And some degree of credit may, perhaps for the same reason, be due to the giants.

44 When Swift grounds his narrative upon a contradiction to nature; when he presents us with rational brutes, and irrational men; when he tells us of horses building houses for habitation, milking cows for food, riding in carriages, and holding conversations on the laws and policies of Europe; not all his genius (and he there exerts it to the utmost*> is able to reconcile us to so monstrous a fiction: we may smile at some of his absurd exaggerations j we mav be pleased with the energy of style, and accuracy of description, in particular places; and a malevolent heart may triumph in the satire; but we can never relish it as a fable, because it is at once unnatural and self-contradictorv." Bcattk.


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