'Gulliver's Travels' is Published

Gulliver's Travels is a misanthropic anatomy of human nature; a sardonic looking-glass.

It asks its readers to refute it, to deny that it has not adequately characterized human nature and society. Each of the four books has a different theme, but all are attempts to deflate human pride. Book I, written between 1721 and 1725, may reflect the concerns of Swift's own day, and of his own life — it may be a politico-sociological treatise in the form of a satire; a protest against Imperialism and Colonialism; an attack on the corrupt Whig oligarchy which had displaced the Swift's Tories in London — a defence of Tory policies, an attack on the Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, and on the expensive and bloody trade wars which had accompanied the twelve years of Whig government — but it is also, on a deeper level, a satire on the universal human tendency to abuse political power and authority, to manipulate others and deceive ourselves.

Gulliver's Travels consists of four voyages, each of which involves Gulliver ending up on a distant shore where he encounters its strange and wonderful inhabitants. The first voyage finds Gulliver stranded on Lilliput after a shipwreck. Here, he is neatly captured by the famous Lilliputians, "human Creature[s] not six inches high" (5). Gulliver is a source of fear and awe to them, and participates somewhat helpfully in the Lilliputian war against Blefuscu, a lengthy conflict that has arisen between the big-enders and little-enders (depending upon which side of a boiled egg one must crack in order to eat it). Court intrigue and resentments, including the accusation of adultery with a Lilliputian, soon require of him that he escape an assassination attempt.