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Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift's best seller, appeared on 28 October 1726. Purporting to be an autobiographical account of Gulliver's ‘Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World’, and read as a ‘general’ satire on political and social institutions, contemporaries also interpreted Swift's work as a ‘particular’ political allegory on the administration of Sir Robert Walpole. Attempts to identify a close allegory have been unconvincing, however. Although Swift's scathing portrait of the bestial Yahoos outraged Victorian sensibilities, Gulliver's Travels endured as a children's classic. It appeals to modern readers as a general political allegory and a savage indictment of human folly.

J. A. Downie

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