Thursday, December 01, 2011

Jonathan Swift's Prodigious Imagination

I continue to read Gulliver's Travels. After the land of tiny people comes the land of giants, and having become small, Gulliver is forced to consider how he must have appeared to the people of Lilliput. The human body up close, he observes, is covered in blemishes and the smell is enough to make him swoon.

Having been rescued and come home again, Gulliver is soon lured out to sea again, and inevitably finds himself in yet another land - this time an island that floats in the air. Reading this in the eighteenth century must have been an extraordinary thing; no one had yet flown off the ground, not even in a balloon, and here was a priest in his fifties with an imagination prodigious enough to not only see it, but evince it all.

I have also come across a free audiobook on-line of one of Jonathan's Swift's shorter works: A Modest Proposal. It is courtesy of Librivox and read by John Gonzales.


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