the ledge files
the ledge - nl - uk
Gulliver's Travels
Jonathan Swift
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1726

refered to by:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain

Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell

Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

The Psychiatrist and Other Stories
J.M. Machado de Assis

full text search:

the ledge - flash version*


Published in his sixtieth year, Gulliver’s Travels is the most famous example of Jonathan Swift's satirical works and was the only one he received payment for (£200) since most of his works were vehemently and dangerously political, and were published anonymously or under one of his many pen-names. Following the success of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe in 1719, Swift was inspired to write a similarly sober document of fiction spoken as truth to make the reader reconsider the accepted state of the world. Although Swift seems to have been writing the book from 1720 onwards, it was only completed and published in 1726. Lemuel Gulliver, a ship’s surgeon, tells the story of his shipwreck on the island of Lilliput. Here people are six inches rather than six feet tall and as such their actions, debates and pageantry seem utterly ridiculous. Their fatuous political arguments (should an egg be broken at the big or small end?) mock the English political and religious debates of Swift’s time. On his ‘travels’, Gulliver meets various other strange humanoids: the extremely tall people of Brobdingnag and later the useless scientists and philosophers of Laputa and Lagado who spend their time trying to extract sunshine from cucumbers while failing to do anything worthwhile. Glubbdubdrib and Luggnagg present Gulliver with more intriguing insights still. In the final section of the book, Gulliver meets the Houyhnhnms who are horses empowered with reason, simplicity and dignity and the Yahoos who look like humans but live revolting lives of vice and brutality. Gulliver and the reader get to see the human race through a series of curved mirrors therefore and return to the real world somewhat disgusted. However, despite its dark themes, the book was an immediate success and has remained a favorite with adults who enjoy the satire and children who like the adventuring (or perhaps it is the other way around).


bookweb from:
Lezen&Cetera, Pieter Steinz

Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe, 1719
Robinson Crusoe is the sole survivor of a shipwreck and struggles for many years on an uninhabited island with no hope of rescue. With patience, ingenuity and optimism he begins to transform the island and soon his only lack is human company.

Sir Thomas More, 1516
First published in 1516, Saint Thomas More's Utopia is one of the most important works of European humanism. Through the voice of the mysterious traveller Raphael Hythloday, More describes a pagan, communist city-state governed by reason.

Other worlds: The comical history of the states and empires of the moon and the sun
Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, 1657-1662
Bergerac's two volumes of science fiction ('Sun' and 'Moon') are often published together, as in the English translation by Geoffrey Strachan.

The Greek Alexander Romance
Anonymous, 3rd or 2nd century BC
Begun soon after the real Alexander's death and expanded in the centuries that followed, the Greek Alexander myth depicts the life and adventures of one of history's greatest heroes.

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), 1 BC
Horace's first book of verse satires is the earliest fully extant example of the genre in European literature; it not only handles moral topics with a persuasive air of sweet reason but also reveals much of poet's own engaging personality and way of life.

The Sixteen Satires
Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenalis),
The complexity of the Roman scene is presented by the satirist Juvenal in these verses, which were written during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian.


Gulliver's Travels
In this 18th-century satire, Gulliver's adventures in Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and in the country of the Houyhnhnms, expose the absurdity and hypocrisy of intellectuals and governments the world over.

Reynard the Fox
Anonymous, 1275
A clever satire of feudal society. The tale uses animals to represent the members of various classes.

Voltaire, 1759
This tale begins with the hero, Candide, being expelled from the Westphalian castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh for making love to the Baron's daughter, Cunegonde. So begins a series of disastrous misadventures on a fantastic odyssey for Candide, Cunegonde and Dr Pangloss.

Samuel Butler, 1872
Inspired by Samuel Butler's years in colonial New Zealand, and by his reading of Darwin's 'Origin of Species', Erewhon (1872) is a highly original, irreverent and humorous satire on conventional virtues, religious hypocrisy and the unthinking acceptance of beliefs.

The Time Machine
H.G. Wells, 1895
When a nineteenth-century scientist builds a time machine, his perilous journey into the far distant future leads to the discovery of a strange and terrifying new world.

Baron Munchausen’s narrative of his marvellous travels
Rudolf Erich Raspe, 1785 (Dover edition: 2005)
Tall tales of majestic proportion, like the Baron himself.

Invisible Cities
Italo Calvino, 1972
Each time he returns from his travels, Marco Polo is invited by Kublai Khan to describe the cities he has visited. The conqueror and the explorer exchange visions: for Kublai Khan the world is constantly expanding; for Marco Polo - who has seen so much of it - it is an ever-diminishing place.

[De fantastische reis]
J.P. Guépin & Arthur Kempenaar, 1996
In the second half of the 19th century, a Dutchman sets out on a miraculous journey.

A Modest Proposal
Jonathan Swift's satirical essay from 1729, in which he suggests that the Irish eat their own children.
make a note


Code (above)

The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn

Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.