Gulliver's Travels

The Duality of Book Four of Gulliver's Travels

During the early 18th century, an explosion of satire swept through British literature. This period, often called the "Age of Reason," was highly influenced by a group of the elite of society, who called themselves the Augustans and were determined to live their lives according to "truth" and "reason." Likewise, they often found themselves the object of a good deal of satire. Among the satirists of this age were such distinguished authors as Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope, and Jonathan Swift. Of the three, the most biting, most pungent, and most bitter writing came from Swift. Swift, unafraid to attack almost every institution, often found himself surrounded by controversy. His most contentious and his greatest work, however, was a series of chronicled voyages known as Gulliver's Travels. Through the adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, Swift ridiculed everything from English politics to human nature. Indeed, Swift said that the purpose of his Travels was to "wonderfully mend the world" (qtd. in Rowe 143). All four books of Gulliver's Travels are utterly filled with satire, which, simply put, is a type of writing that derides the frailties and vices of a person, an institution, or society...

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