Richard Sympson is Gulliver’s cousin and friend and also his editor. It was in Richard Sympson’s name that Jonathan Swift arranged for the publication of his narrative, thus somewhat mixing the fictional and actual worlds. 

Sympson is the fictional author of the prefatory note to Gulliver’s Travels, entitled “The Publisher to the Readers.” This note justifies Sympson’s elimination of nearly half of the original manuscript material on the grounds that it was irrelevant, a statement that Swift includes so as to allow us to doubt Gulliver’s overall wisdom and ability to distinguish between important facts and trivial details. Indeed, Sympson’s preface is instrumental to the introductory characterization of Gulliver; we learn immediately that sometimes his obsession with the facts of navigation, for example, borders on unbearable, a fact that will be as true for readers as it has been for Sympson.