This unique version also includes the following bonus annotations:
- Biography of the author
- Historical context of the book
- Literary critique
Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships, is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.
The book became tremendously popular as soon as it was published. (John Gay said in a 1726 letter to Swift that "it is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery"); since then, it has never been out of print. The book is also required reading for many high school students, including high school Literature Advanced Placement students (US).
It is uncertain exactly when Swift started writing Gulliver's Travels, but some sources suggest as early as 1713 when Swift, Gay, Pope, Arbuthnot and others formed the Scriblerus Club, with the aim of satirising then-popular literary genres. Swift, runs the theory, was charged with writing the memoirs of the club's imaginary author, Martinus Scriblerus. It is known from Swift's correspondence that the composition proper began in 1720 with the mirror-themed parts I and II written first, Part IV next in 1723 and Part III written in 1724, but amendments were made even while Swift was writing Drapier's Letters. By August 1725 the book was completed, and as Gulliver's Travels was a transparently anti-Whig satire it is likely that Swift had the manuscript copied so his handwriting could not be used as evidence if a prosecution should arise (as had happened in the case of some of his Irish pamphlets). In March 1726 Swift travelled to London to have his work published; the manuscript was secretly delivered to the publisher Benjamin Motte, who used five printing houses to speed production and avoid piracy. Motte, recognising a bestseller but fearing prosecution, simply cut or altered the worst offending passages (such as the descriptions of the court contests in Lilliput or the rebellion of Lindalino), added some material in defence of Queen Anne to book II, and published it anyway. The first edition was released in two volumes on October 26, 1726, priced 8s. 6d. The book was an instant sensation and sold out its first run in less than a week.
Motte published Gulliver's Travels anonymously and, as was often the way with fashionable works, several follow-ups (Memoirs of the Court of Lilliput), parodies (Two Lilliputian Odes, The first on the Famous Engine With Which Captain Gulliver extinguish'd the Palace Fire...) and "keys" (Gulliver Decipher'd and Lemuel Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World Compendiously Methodiz'd, the second by Edmund Curll who had similarly written a "key" to Swift's Tale of a Tub in 1705) were produced over the next few years. These were mostly printed anonymously (or occasionally pseudonymously) and were quickly forgotten. Swift had nothing to do with any of these and specifically disavowed them in Faulkner's edition of 1735. However, Swift's friend Alexander Pope wrote a set of five Verses on Gulliver's Travels which Swift liked so much that he added them to the second edition of the book, though they are not nowadays generally included.