Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin in 1667. Although he spent most of his childhood in Ireland, he considered himself English, and, aged twenty-one, moved to England, where he found employment as secretary to the diplomat Sir William Temple. On Temple's death in 1699, Swift returned to Dublin to pursue a career in the Church. By this time he was also publishing in a variety of genres, and between 1704 and 1729 he produced a string of brilliant satires, of which Gulliver's Travels is the best known. Between 1713 and 1742 he was Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin; he was buried there when he died in 1745.
Gr 7 Up-Jonathan Swift's satirical novel was first published in 1726, yet it is still valid today. Gulliver's Travels describes the four fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a kindly ship's surgeon. Swift portrays him as an observer, a reporter, and a victim of circumstance. His travels take him to Lilliput where he is a giant observing tiny people. In Brobdingnag, the tables are reversed and he is the tiny person in a land of giants where he is exhibited as a curiosity at markets and fairs. The flying island of Laputa is the scene of his next voyage. The people plan and plot as their country lies in ruins. It is a world of illusion and distorted values. The fourth and final voyage takes him to the home of the Houyhnhnms, gentle horses who rule the land. He also encounters Yahoos, filthy bestial creatures who resemble humans. The story is read by British actor Martin Shaw with impeccable diction and clarity and great inflection. If broken into short listening segments, the tapes are an excellent tool for presenting an abridged version of Gulliver's Travels.-Jean Deck, Lambuth University, Jackson, TN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.