‘Thus, gentle Reader, I have given thee a faithful History of my Travels for Sixteen Years, and above Seven Months; wherein I have not been so studious of Ornament as of Truth.’ In these words Gulliver represents himself as a reliable reporter of the fantastic adventures he has just set down; but how far can we rely on a narrator whose identity is elusive and whoses inventiveness is self-evident? Gulliver’s Travels purports to be a travel book, and describes Gulliver’s encounters with the inhabitants of four extraordinary places: Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the country of the Houyhnhnms. A consummately skilful blend of fantasy and realism makes Gulliver’s Travels by turns hilarious, frightening, and profound. Swift plays tricks on us, and delivers one of the world’s most disturbing satires of the human condition. This new edition includes the changing frontispiece portraits of Gulliver that appeared in successive early editions.
- Oxford University Press