Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"
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This paper discusses the two possible readings of the text of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." It discusses how the text oscillates between truth and fiction and how this allows a variety of interpretations and points of view. The paper provides a number of examples from the text of "Gulliver's Travels" in order to illustrate these two points of view.
From the Paper:"What comes first to mind after an examination of the elements of truth and fiction in Gulliver's Travels is the fact that under the apparent truth, there is nothing but a clever counterfeit. The clever counterfeit, however, dissimulates the truth. Gulliver's Travels might look like the collected writings of any discoverer of foreign lands but there is one non-negligible difference. Gulliver's Travels was written by a clergyman in his study. And for such a man, "truth" supposes something universal. The fiction of this man of convictions serves to promote the truth, that is, a system of specific moral values and principles. His is an imaginary philosophic voyage with a didactic aim, proposing moral lessons, meant to be elicited after a close reading of the text. The satiric and/or utopian content is an indirect comment on reality. But on what part of reality? The Lilliputians "suppose Truth [...] to be in every Man's power" (Swift 54). It is likewise in the power of the reader who embarks on a quest, on a search for meaning, and this activity transforms reading itself into a quest for the truth."
Sample of Sources Used:
- W. A. EDDY, Gulliver's Travels: A Critical Study, Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1963
- R. GRAVIL (ed.), Swift: Gulliver's Travels. A Casebook, London: Macmillan, 1974
- F. P. LOCK, The Politics of Gulliver's Travels, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980
- J. SWIFT, A. ROSS (ed.), Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World Known as Gulliver's Travels, London: Longman, 1972
Cite this Book Review:
Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" (2008, April 10) Retrieved April 21, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/truth-in-jonathan-swift-gulliver-travels-103006/
"Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"" 10 April 2008. Web. 21 April. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/truth-in-jonathan-swift-gulliver-travels-103006/>