Gulliver's Travels

gulliver's travells is not a neuratic fantasy, prove it?

first define neuritic then prove it according to the story

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neurotic- "a person who is afflicted with a neurosis or who tends to be emotionally unstable or unusually anxious."

Certainly if we took Gulliver's Travels at face value one might think that Swift had discovered some early form of hallucinogen drug. Once we take a look at the sub-text it becomes clear that the work is a satirical view of the state of European government, and of petty differences between religions. This is exactly why it is so famous. Certainly simple neuroses would not have the pointedly sharp criticisms of European society that Swift's work did and in many cases still does.


I think that Aslan answered this question beautifully, but I came across this abstract and had to include it just for fun. It was written in 1945, and I have to tell you this type of psychoanalysis quite entertaining........... but hey, ya never know!

Neurotic Traits of Jonathan Swift, as Revealed by Gulliver's Travels: Ben Karpman. Psa. Rev., XXIX, 1942, pp. 26–45 and 165–184.

Abstract by: Carel Van Der Heide

The creations of 'subjective' writers like Flaubert and Tolstoi are but means of self-analysis and emotional catharsis motivated by a need for confession. The writings of Swift similarly present his neurosis. Karpman relives for us Gulliver's adventures with the Lilliputians and the giants, and shows them to be 'a compensatory fantasy and an exaggerated reality', referring to Swift's psychosexual infantilism and impotence. He criticizes Ferenczi's conclusion that Swift's neurosis resulted from a conflict on the genital level, determined by traumatic childhood experiences. In contrast, the author points at evidences of predominant sado-masochistic features in which Gulliver replaces the element of pain with humiliation and soiling. An extensive analysis is made of Swift's intentional and deliberate preoccupation with excrementory functions and the abundance of loathsome and filthy ideas, many convincing examples of which are quoted. In conclusion the perverse trends, 'misanthropy, misogyny, misophylia and misophobia', which, in addition to psychosexual infantilism and emotional ambivalence, were so conspicuous in Jonathan Swift, are discussed and considered indicative of a fixation at the anal-sadistic stage of libidinal development. There is much comment on the thesis that perversions (paraphilias) are not the inverse of neuroses, but that 'more definite analytical studies revealed them to be sisters under the same skin and basically the same'.


Van Der Heide, C. (1945). Neurotic Traits of Jonathan Swift, as Revealed by Gulliver's Travels. Psychoanal Q., 14:127-128