Gulliver's Travels

Broken Eggs and Scrambled Schisms in Gulliver's Travels

Much has been written about the religion and politics of <i>Gulliver’s Travels</i>, specifically in relation to Part I, A Voyage to Lilliput. Of all of the voyages and peoples that Gulliver, the protagonist of the novel, meets during his several adventures, religion plays the largest role -- albeit a superficial one -- in Lilliput. This essay seeks to identify and analyze the nature of this role, its relationship with Lilliputian politics, and the satiric implications of that relationship. The significance of this question lies in its potential for contributing to contemporary understandings of primitive European discourse on secularization, with <i>Gulliver’s Travels</i> playing a noteworthy role in that discourse. Moreover, by presenting an alternative reading, this essay challenges conventional interpretations of Lilliputian religious history, namely that it “is a general fable on the futility of fighting about opinions in religion” (Lock 97) and “highlights the senseless disputes between sects about inessentials” (145). It will be argued herein that the Lilliputian religious schism satirizes specifically those religious differences with political origins, thus implying that secularization is a...

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