Gulliver's Afterlives   

One ongoing project I'm working on is a new critical edition of Gulliver's Travels and Later Works for Bloomsbury. Among other things, the book and accompanying website will provide a selection of adaptations, continuations, and other types of appropriations, including the following Lilliputian poem by Alexander Pope.


Ode To Quinbus Flestrin, The Man Mountain, By Titty Tit, Poet-Laureate To His Majesty Of Lilliput. Translated Into English.

In amaze
Lost I gaze!
Can our eyes
Reach thy size!
May my lays
Swell with praise,
Worthy thee!
Worthy me!
Muse, inspire
All thy fire!
Bards of old
Of him told.
When they said
Atlas' head
Propp'd the skies:
See! and believe your eyes!

See him stride
Valleys wide,
Over woods,
Over floods!
When he treads,
Mountains' heads
Groan and shake:
Armies quake:
Lest his spurn
Man and steed,
Troops, take heed!
Left and right,
Speed your flight!
Lest an host
Beneath his foot be lost!

Turn'd aside
From his hide
Safe from wound,
Darts rebound.
From his nose
Clouds he blows:
When he speaks,
Thunder breaks!
When he eats,
Famine threats!
When he drinks,
Neptune shrinks!
Nigh thy ear
In mid air,
On thy hand
Let me stand;
So shall I,
Lofty poet! touch the sky.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) remains one of the world’s iconic works of fiction, and continues to inspire scholars, writers, and artists alike. A biting satire on political parties and the Church, it has provoked heated debate among commentators as diverse as George Orwell and Edward Said. Read as an attack on Britain’s misrule of Ireland (Laputa), or as a commentary on paranoid tensions between Britain (Lilliput) and France (Blefescu), the novel informed the dystopian allegories of Aldous Huxley and Margaret Atwood, and gave rise to modern Science Fiction through H. G. Wells and Philip K. Dick.


At the same time, Gulliver’s Travels has become a classic of children’s literature as many illustrated editions focus narrowly on the Gargantuan protagonist’s visually striking voyage to Lilliput in Part I. The reach of the fantastical tale of The Man Mountain has extended to academics and practitioners in practically every field, from politics to philosophy, the life sciences to linguistics, art to anthropology. Its bold exploration of the most discomfiting aspects of the human condition—through the grotesque bodies of Part II, the decrepit Struldbrugs of Part III, or the faecally fixated Yahoos of Part IV—continues to excite and repulse readers in equal measure. Is Gulliver the ultimate misanthrope or an insightful realist fit for the modern world?