This Kindle edition, equivalent in length to a physical book of approximately 16 pages, consists of two parts. Part I, a biography of Swift, was originally published in 1896 in “A Library of the World’s Best Literature, Vol. 36.” Part II, a highly condensed retelling of Swift’s best-known work, “Gulliver’s Travels,” was originally published in 1920 in “One Hundred Best Novels Condensed, Vol. 2.”
(from Part I, the biography) After Swift’s return to Ireland, he wrote many pamphlets in the interests of the Irish people, thus making himself enormously popular with them. The condition of Ireland at that time was most deplorable: the industries had been destroyed by the act forbidding the importation of Irish cattle to England; the currency was disordered; famine threatened the land. The Drapier letters were written to discredit the English government by the accusation, proved false, of imposing a debased copper coinage on Ireland. In a well-known pamphlet he proposes that the children of the peasantry in Ireland should be fattened for the table, thus keeping down the population and supplying an article of nutritious food. It is this pamphlet which is so completely misunderstood by Thackeray in his “English Humourists” and which has led many to judge Swift as an inhuman monster. The humor of it is indeed terrible, but the cause of its being written was even more terrible. It was under such pleasantries that Swift hid his heart.
(from Part II, “Gulliver’s Travels,” condensed) Of all the ship’s company I alone escaped to the land, where, in utter exhaustion, I lay down and fell asleep. I awakened to find myself bound hand and foot and surrounded by swarms of the tiniest human creatures. They brought me food and drink and conveyed me to their capital, where the king, of a majesty a full half-inch taller than any of his subjects, came with his court to view me. In time I learned that I was in the kingdom of the Lilliputians. By them I was kept a long time in captivity. Being ultimately satisfied of the harmlessness of my intent, I also adding my word of honor to do them no injury, they released me, and set aside six professors of education to teach me their language. For my bodily sustenance they allowed me a quantity of meat and drink sufficient for 1724 of their own people; for so, being exact in their mathematics, they estimated the proportions of my bulk to theirs. Three hundred cooks and 120 waiters were named to dress my meals, 200 seamstresses were apportioned to make my linen, and 300 tailors for my outer clothing.
About the Authors:
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was an Irish satirist, poet, and Anglican cleric best known for “Gulliver’s Travels,” a satire on human society in the form of a fantastic tale of travels in imaginary lands. Other works include “A Modest Proposal” and “A Tale of a Tub.” Anna McClure Sholl (1868-1956) was a writer whose other works include “Faery Tales of Weir,” “The Port of Storms,” and “Blue Blood and Red.” James B. Connolly (1868-1957) was an American athlete and author whose other works include “The Trawler,” “The U-Boat Hunters,” and “Wide Courses.”
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