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Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Irish author and journalist, the foremost prose satirist in the English language. Swift's best known work is Gulliver's Travels (1726).
October 2021 Book of the Month | When ship’s surgeon Gulliver sets off across the seas in search of adventure he has little idea what he will find. His two greatest discoveries are the countries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag. In Lilliput he finds a population of tiny people to whom he appears as a giant while in Brobdingnag the roles are reversed: Gulliver is tiny and Brobdingnags are giants. Swift uses Gulliver’s descriptions of his experiences in these contrasting countries to write a satirical commentary on his own society. His use of Gulliver’s altered relative size gives great scope for studying everyday events in a new way and makes a fine vantage point for telling the contrasting stories. Gulliver is an iconic figure in literature. Read aloud, this abridged edition with its impressionistic yet detailed illustrations by Robert Ingpen will make an excellent way to introduce the story about him to young readers.
‘My name is Gulliver, and I have a tale to tell that will make your hair stand up and your mouth hang open.’ So starts Mary Webb’s robust and lively retelling of Swift’s classic and it will indeed have children hanging on Gulliver’s every word. Two of his best-known adventures are included: his experience in Lilliput, where he is a giant, and in Brobdingnag, where the people are giants. It’s fantastical stuff, and often very funny. Webb doesn’t duck any of Swift’s scatological humour, and she keeps his satire fresh too – sadly many of his digs at human behaviour are as relevant today as they were in the 1700s. Lauren O’Neill’s illustrations are equally vigorous and this is a thoroughly handsome edition. ~ Andrea Reece
When Gulliver finds himself washed up on the shores of the island of Lilliput inhabited by ‘little people’ and taken prisoner his life is to change forever but that is just the beginning of his story. For following his escape from Lilliput his travels take him to the huge people of Brobdingnag, the floating island of Laputa and to the land of Houynhnmland where there are horses with great virtues. The characters are wonderfully drawn, and Gulliver has a great talent for the languages of each land and his travels also provide bitter insights into human behaviour. It is in the end an uncompromising reflection of mankind in its many guises but riveting all the same and essential reading.