Gulliver’s Travels by the Anglo-Irish writer and essayist Jonathan Swift was first published in 1726, and first published in an unabridged version in 1735. It is a celebrated satirical work in which Swift adopts the techniques of a standard travelogue to critique his own culture and its assumptions. The novel exaggerates the absurdity of the people and places the narrator describes, and in so doing mocks society. The novel recounts the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver to various imaginary lands.

Gulliver’s Travels is structured as a series of four parts, each describing Gulliver’s adventures in different places. The first two parts depict Gulliver’s encounters with tiny Lilliputians and giant Brobdingnagians, serving as a commentary on human pettiness and arrogance. The third part explores the absurdities of scientific pursuits and intellectualism through the floating island of Laputa. In the final part, Gulliver encounters the rational and horse-like Houyhnhnms, highlighting Swift’s criticism of human behaviors by presenting an idealized alternative.

Published during a time of political and social upheaval, Gulliver’s Travels is a masterpiece of political and social satire. Swift’s sharp wit and allegorical storytelling have made the novel a classic that continues to be studied and enjoyed for its multifaceted critique of humanity.

Explore the full plot summary, an in-depth character analysis of Lemuel Gulliver, and explanations of important quotes from Gulliver’s Travels.

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools