Mr Arthur Rackham, according to the publisher’s note, made these fine drawings in one of the older editions of “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift. This utopian satire (as well as Moby Dick) is also famous as a children’ book, but the original again has so many levels a child could not understand, so it’s fun re-reading this as an adult.

Again with the censorship: In the British 1899 edition, significant parts are left out; such as Gulliver has to urinate on the Liliputian palace to put out a fire, he sees the Brobdignanian ladies undress and basically eveything that has to do with poo and pee is omitted. Example:

That which gave me most uneasiness among these Maids of Honour when my nurse carried me to visit then was, to see them use me without any manner of ceremony, like a creature who had no sort of consequence: for they would strip themselves to the skin, and put on their smocks in my presence, while I was placed on their toilet, directly before their naked bodies, which I am sure to me was very far from being a tempting sight, or from giving me any other emotions than those of horror and disgust: their skins appeared so coarse and uneven, so variously coloured, when I saw them near, with a mole here and there as broad as a trencher, and hairs hanging from it thicker than packthreads, to say nothing farther concerning the rest of their persons. Neither did they at all scruple, while I was by, to discharge what they had drank, to the quantity of at least two hogsheads, in a vessel that held above three tuns. The handsomest among these Maids of Honour, a pleasant, frolicsome girl of sixteen, would sometimes set me astride upon one of her nipples, with many other tricks, wherein the reader will excuse me for not being over particular. But I was so much displeased, that I entreated Glumdalclitch to contrive some excuse for not seeing that young lady any more.

Update: I came across this section right now, where the King of Brobdignag (the Giants’ Land) gives Gulliver a feedback about his home country, England.

This is heavy stuff! Kudos to 1726.

His Majesty in another audience was at the pains to recapitulate the sum of all I had spoken; compared the questions he made with the answers I had given; then taking me into his hands, and stroking me gently, delivered himself in these words, which I shall never forget, nor the manner he spoke them in: ‘My little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country; you have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which, in its original, might have been tolerable, but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It doth not appear from all you have said, how any one perfection is required toward the procurement of any one station among you; much less, that men are ennobled on account of their virtue; that priests are advanced for their piety or learning; soldiers for their conduct or valour; judges for their integrity; senators for the love of their country; or counsellors for their wisdom. As for yourself,’ continued the King, ‘who have spent the greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be

the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.’


Copyright has expired: you can read the entire novel here