Friday, 27 June 2008

Book of the Week - Gulliver's Travels

It's well known that Swift's finest is a satire (first published shortly after the "South Sea Bubble," and one or two other scandals of the time). I found it hugely entertaining to read it in conjunction with a view of modern life. There are obvious parallels, of course, but see if you can put a few names to Swift's characterizations...

In the school of political projectors, I was but ill entertained; the professors appearing in my judgment wholly out of their senses, which is a scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to chuse favourites upon the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching ministers to consult the publick good; of rewarding merit, great abilities and eminent services; of instructing princes to know their true interest, by placing it on the same foundation with that of their people: of chusing for employments persons qualified to exercize them; with many other wild impossible chimaeras, that never entered before into the heart of man to conceive; and confirmed in me the old observation, that there is nothing so extravagant and irrational which some philosophers have not maintained for truth.

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