Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" Book Review by mikkenzi

Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"
A discussion of the oscillation between truth and fiction within Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels."
# 103006 | 3,148 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2008 | FR
Published on Apr 10, 2008 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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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:

APA Format

Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" (2008, April 10) Retrieved June 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Truth in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"" 10 April 2008. Web. 18 June. 2019. <>