Gulliver's Travels

The Importance of Travel, Trade and Colonialism in Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe

Writing from a point of view that concludes "that the novel, as a cultural artefact of bourgeois society, and imperialism are unthinkable without each other" , Edward Said views Robinson Crusoe as "explicitly enabled by an ideology of overseas expansion - directly connected in style and form to the narratives of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century exploration voyages that laid the foundations of the great colonial empires". Alternatively, J Paul Hunter has analysed the effect of travel books on the origins of the novel and decided that "The journey is usually, however, a structure of convenience - movement through space means learning - rather than a feature formally adapted from travel books [...] the novel is a product of serious cultural thinking about comparative societies and the multiple nature in human nature" . This view of the novel as being aware of the way it represents different societies and using travel as a function, is a way of reading Gulliver's Travels that provides an insight into the objects of Swift's satire. The difference between these two views highlights that these novels can be read from different perspectives, which do not necessarily provide a coherent and uniform...

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