Weblinks sample: Gulliver’s Travels

I recommend that the students do a search of weblinks on their research topic in Composition and Literature. It helps them know what is out there. It gets them integrating the computer into their lives.

Gulliver’s Travels’ Home Page includes a timeline of important events during Swift’s life. It also has a dictionary of related information (more like an encyclopaedia), bibliographic print sources, link sources, and a list of Swift’s inventions in language.

The Victorian Web’s page on Swift has several sets of essays on various subjects including Swift’s biography, his religious views, and a complete set of “leading questions” on various topics. These leading questions include a short intro on a topic, such as Swift’s satire, and then lists questions which could be used for discussions or for writing prompts.

Lesson plans and teacher’s guides, including sample chapters. The “puzzle pack” is actually a few quizzes. Most of these are things you have to buy. But if you were teaching a unit and didn’t have time to prepare, some of them are quite useful. Also, not all of them have to be purchased. Vocabulary.com has words that are more difficult from GT listed on their site in order of appearance.

The Teacher’s Guide to the Core Classics has an introduction to the time and a biography of Swift, a discussion of how to teach the novel, and an essay on stylistic techniques within the novel. The stylistic techniques include satire, sarcasm, irony, and the narrator. Then there are basic questions from and for each chapter that students may use to show reading comprehension. There are also teacher notes on each chapter (with short paragraph-long discussions of certain elements) and suggested activities, all of which are aimed at much younger students than the college freshman.

A short summary of each book in GT, ten study questions, and seven general questions. It is a good short intro to the book. Perhaps it could be used as a reading guide. If you were going to read without questions, this would be a good way to examine the work.

Swift’s Moral Satire in GT discusses the work as a whole and the metaphors of each of the books. The essay uses bibliographic sources, citing, quoting, and paraphrasing them, instead of just listing them at the end. It is an interesting essay and discusses the mode of travelogue.

Measurement, Irony, and the Grotesque in GT begins with an argument that postmodern scholars are nostalgic for the 18th century. It uses Foucault to identify the type of knowledge in the novel. It is definitely written to an academic audience, perhaps graduate students? It offers some interesting ideas but is not easy to read.

Debunking the Bunk, despite its popular name, is actually an academic paper on Book 4 of GT. It argues that the horses are bad and too good for their own good, that Gulliver is, in fact, gullible (as his name implies), and that the utopia is dystopian. It uses several interesting quotes from other works that it cites. Since Bk 4 is a favorite to write on, there might be many like this, but it is a good essay.

Imaginary Voyages is an essay about travelogues of the era just preceding Swift’s writing. It offers the possibility that Mundus was a source for Swift, since a friend of Swift’s translated the work. It would be good to add this to my lecture on the travelogue aspect of the work (which idea I borrowed from Knowles).

Leading Questions about 18th C authors is a list of questions, mostly about Swift’s work, created by students in a literature course at Brown University. It is clear that some of the questions are useful discussion questions while others are actual questions students had and posted here.

Gulliver’s Travels Assignment Guide gives a useful short introduction to the work and the times. It also says to search Project MUSE for articles, instead of JSTOR or Academic Search Complete.

A site which is easily found, has good stuff, but which type may only count once is Sparknotes on Gulliver. They have a plot overview, a list of characters, chapter by chapter analysis, and a discussion of themes, motifs, and symbols. The themes they mention include might versus right and the individual versus society. Motifs include excrement and foreign languages. It is an introductory work, but is very detailed for all of that.

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