“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 1: A Voyage to Lilliput (Ch. 1-4)

“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 1: A Voyage to Lilliput (Ch. 1-4)

Advertisement

  • Many things in this book have been fudged before publication & the editor’s done its best to clear them up
  • This person who did this did so with the best of intentions, especially with respect to references of the Queen

A Letter from Gulliver to his Cousin

  • I’m doing my best to publish my travels
  • I can’t remember if I authorized you to omit or insert anything
    • Any insertions won’t be my responsibility
  • I don’t wish to praise any animals (people or otherwise) above my master of the Houyhnhnms
  • Mystery of the Academy of Projectors & some parts about Houyhnhnms I hardly recognize as my own
    • I regret allowing you & others impose edits based on your views due to your insistence in doing so. I look like a misanthrope, sexist & an asshole
  • You’ve fiddled some of the dates & you’ve marked up my manuscripts so much I’ll have a hard time remembering & correcting them
    • I’ve heard criticism of my seafaring lingo. It might be outdated because I started of with an older generation & was out of the loop for so long
    • Nobody ever critiqued my account of Lilliput, Brobdingnag or Laputa
    • I won’t accept any critique of Houyhnhnms & especially by lying, bullshitting Yahoos, especially Europeans.
      • Signed, Gulliver

The Publisher to the Reader

  • My cousin, Gulliver, began to get tired of people coming over to his house to hear these stories, so he’s written them down
    • He’s left me his notes on these travels to publish for all to read
    • I believe them to be true but have no evidence to support it
  • In the interest of sheer volume, I’ve had to make some cuts, especially in the boring & arcane passages. Being ignorant of sailing, I hope I didn’t make any mistakes. But it should be fine…

PART ONE: A Voyage to Lilliput

Chapter 1

  • He came from Nottinghamshire & went to Cambridge for 3 years & had to leave because of money problems
    • He went to study medicine without doctor in London for 4 years & then went to finish his studies in Leyden, Netherlands
  • He got a job as a doctor on a ship, for a couple of years in the Levant
    • Came back home, worked with his old boss & got married to a local girl
    • After a couple years, his boss died & he decided to go back to sea to the East & West Indies for a few years
      • Spent most of his time reading & learning languages
  • Came back home for 3 years but got an offer to sail again that he couldn’t refuse to the South Sea
    • A storm near Australia threw them off course & the ship struck a rock
    • They rowed 9 miles & the waves threw boat around & tossed them overboard
    • He swam half a mile to shore at 8 at night
    • It was dark & he couldn’t find anyone, so he drank half a pint of brandy & crashed
  • He woke up at dawn but couldn’t actually get up
    • His entire body was  tied down to the ground
    • A 6 inch man crawled on top of him & the 40 more followed
    • His voice scared them off but they came back speaking a foreign language
  • Gulliver managed to break some strings & turn his head
    • The men shot him with tiny arrows like needles
    • When he stopped, they stopped
  • For an hour, construction went on to build a platform for a high-ranked man to make a speech which made no sense
    • They freed him up a bit to see what seemed to be the local lord
    • The lord saw he was hungry & made servants bring dozens of baskets of food & barrels of drink
    • Seemed very small to him but enormous to them
  • The king arrived with his crew & examined him
    • He spoke for 10 minutes which made no sense
    • Pointed to the capital city about half a mile away
    • Gulliver tried to respond but no one understood him
  • The king meant to carry him away as a prisoner but would give him enough to eat & drink
    • Gulliver had to pee & they relaxed their grip to let him
  • The king had given him a sleeping potion in the wine so they could tie him down & take him away
    • It took 500 carpenters to build it, 900 men to lift him with pulleys & 1500 horses to haul the structure away
    • A few youngsters tried to climb on him. A guard put a pole up Gulliver’s nose, causing him to sneeze them off
    • They arrived at the city gates the next day & the king met him there
    • They stopped in front of a temple that was no longer in use & put him in it (4ft high, 2ft wide, with small windows
    • Some 10000 people came to gawk at him
      • They were forbidden to get close
    • He had 2 yard chains on him giving him some sort of flexibility

Chapter 2

  • When Gulliver got up, all the country looked like a garden – small fields like beds of flowers, forests of 7 feet high trees
    • The city looked like a model city or a stage of theater
  • In order to shit, he had to hide in his house
    • Had to be carried off in wheel barrows – needed 2 servants for that
  • The Emperor me him again with food & drinks
    • Gulliver ate all he could with everyone in the court watching
    • Horses were all spooked by his size
  • Gulliver was impressed by the Emperor’s calm demeanor, confidence & dress (simple for an Emperor but not plain)
    • Communication was still in a form of charades
    • Gulliver tried every language he knew but none worked
  • When the court retired, 6 peasants shot arrows at Gulliver & he grabbed 5 & put them in his pockets & took the 6th one & made like he was going to eat him
    • He place him gently on the ground along with the others
    • This got him a good reputation in the court
  • The emperor ordered a bed to be made for him of 4 layers of 150 beds sewn together along with blankets & sheets
  • There was a ban on gawkers within 50 yards of his house without royal permission
  • There was a lot of debate on what to do with him
    • They were afraid of him breaking free, of the cost of his diet or if they killed him his rotting corpse would cause a plague
    • Some court members told the Emperor of his move with the 6 peasants & the emperor was pleased
    • The emperor was providing Gulliver with food & drink out of his own pocket. Tailors were hired to make new clothes & teachers hired to teach him their language
      • Within 3 weeks, he’d made enough progress to state his needs & wants, especially his liberty
      • His teachers would have to consult with their superiors
      • He had to promise peace & be searched by the guards
      • The guards rummaged through his pockets & found: gold, a notebook, a comb, a spyglass, razors, a watch (they didn’t understand what it was)
        • They kept these & made a list of them including a bag of black power
        • They took his knife which he brandished to the emperor along with 2 pistols
      • Gulliver warned him that the powder & guns were loud & dangerous but the emperor wanted to go off. It scared everyone but the emperor
      • The watch also impressed the emperor. He also wanted the gold
        • Gulliver had some extra things stashed away without their knowledge

Chapter 3

  • His good behavior put him in the good graces of the emperor, the court & the people
    • This was all in order to get his chains removed
    • He let some kids play hide & seek in his hair. The horses got used to him
    • The emperor invited him to the entertainment festivals where prospective court members were expected to entertain with dangerous gymnastics
    • Gulliver had the emperor set up a game with sticks & his handkerchief for the horses & horsemen to do maneuvers through
      • Reports came in of a black think showing up on the beach where he’d been shipwrecked. It was his hat
  • He stood up like Colossus with Lilliputian troops marching under him, 24 soldiers wife & 16 wide with horses. He had holes in his trousers but no one looked up
  • Gulliver had been asking for some time
    • It became a subject at cabinet meetings
    • All but one, Skyresh Bolgolam, agreed it’d be fine.
      • The terms of his liberty was obedience to laws, staying in Lilliput & not leaving without permission, not coming into the city without permission, not to walk in or lie on the farms, to do his best not to step on animals,  not to pick people up without their consent, carrying messages for the emperor, allying with Lilliput against their enemy, Blefuscu, helping with heavy construction, conducting surveys
        • For this he got 1724 servants, access to the emperor & all he could eat
      • Gulliver agreed & his chains were taken off

Chapter 4

  • Gulliver first asked to see the capital. The people were warned to inside.
    • The city walls were 2.5 feet high & 11 feet thick
    • He walked over the wall & through the streets, holding up his pant legs to avoid damaging the city’s buildings & roofs
  • The walls were 500 feet long & the city had 500000 people
    • The palace was in the middle with 2 feet walls & the emperor allowed him to come in
    • It was hard to see royal apartments because things were so tight & narrow from him to see well
    • The outer court buildings were 5 feet high
      • To see the palace, he had to make a stool to stand on & look in
    • The empress was happy to see him & let him kiss her hand
  • 2 weeks later, he was visited by the Secretary of Private Affairs
    • There was trouble brewing with the enemy &
    • Within Lilliput, a fight between people who had grown an extra 1/14 of an inch in their heels & those who hadn’t. There was talk of a coup
    • The emperor’s son grew his heels & this posed a threat
  • The enemy, Blefuscu, had been threatening Lilliput for the last 3 years
    • The argument started on whether an egg should be cracked on the small end (Lilliputian style) or on the big end (Blefuscu style)
    • The emperor wanted Gulliver to help defend Lilliput from an invasion

Leave a Reply