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Previous It began on the following occasion. It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs before we eat them, was upon the larger end: but his present Majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the Emperor his Father, published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of the eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our histories tell us, there have been six rebellions raised on that account; wherein one Emperor lost his Life, and another his crown. These civil commotions were constantly fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the exiles have always fled for refuge to that empire. It is computed, that eleven thousand persons have, at several times, suffered death, rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Many hundred large volumes have been published on this controversy: but the books of the Big-Endians have been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments.

But I drew my hanger, and gave him a good blow with the flat side of it; for I durst not strike him with the edge, fearing the inhabitants might be provoked against me, if they should come to know that I had killed or maimed any of their cattle. When the beast felt the smart, he drew back, and roared so loud, that a herd of at least forty came flocking about me from the next field, howling and making odious faces; but I ran to the body of a tree, and leaning my back against it, kept them off, by waving my hanger. Several of this cursed brood getting hold of the branches behind, leaped up into the tree, from whence they began to discharge their excrements on my head: however, I escaped pretty well, by sticking close to the stem of the tree, but was almost stifled with the filth, which fell about me on every side.

Excerpts from Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, 1726, novel.

Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

Irish Protestant clergyman and satirist Jonathan Swift publishes Gulliver's Travels anonymously in 1726. The four-part novel relates ship captain Lemuel Gulliver's voyages to fanciful countries such as Lilliput and Brobdingnag, where he meets both tiny and giant inhabitants.

The work's satirical attacks on English politicians and social practices, as well as its coarse descriptions of bodily functions, provoke much comment and controversy among the reading public. Even the first publisher of the book fears that it is too critical of English society and expurgates the text slightly, over Swift's objections.

The first printing sells out in a week, and the book is never thereafter out of print. However, Gulliver's Travels is often published in expurgated versions, both in England and abroad. In the 19th century, Victorian critics charge that Swift's view of human nature is too pessimistic.

Although Swift intends the book for an adult audience, Gulliver's Travels imaginative storyline and clear writing help make the book a children's classic, generally in abridged editions. To this day, publishers of school versions, even at the college level, struggle with how much of the book may be printed. Gulliver's Travels is perhaps most frequently encountered today in adaptations for film, stage, or television, many of which are aimed toward children and lack large sections of the story and Swift's satirical tone.


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