Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels

I first read Gulliver's Travels when I was about eight years old, in a thin little abridged version for children. I don't have that copy anymore, and I've read the real thing three or four times since, so I've gotten over how fully the satire was sanitized.

But you know, going through it again this week reminds me how much FUN it was to really do eighteenth-century studies! I miss it, I really do. The shit-throwing Yahoos, the profligate sexuality against which Lemuel Gulliver really doth protest too much (like the Brobdingnagian maiden who strips him naked and has him straddle her bare nipple), the experiments at the academy of Lagado on Balnibarbi (all of which are derived from actual experiments of the time, even the attempt to derive sunshine from cucumbers, to store it in jars against cloudy days): they don't write them like this anymore.

Or maybe they do - what the hell do I know about the wider field of contemporary literature?

I'm happy teaching general lit and comp courses, but I'll have to see what I can do about reclaiming expertise of some kind or another....


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