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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) stands in a long tradition of travel satire that emerged in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Travel and the travel book represent essential, constitutive elements of the story, serving as vehicle as well as subject matter for satirical treatment. Swift draws on established attacks on the traveller’s identity and how it becomes dislocated in travel, and the accusation of lying often levelled against travellers. Swift’s genius lies in taking this critique to a new extreme, and by structuring the story in a way that makes the form of travel writing collapse in on itself. His forebears include Thomas More, Rabelais, Ben Jonson, Richard Brome, George Etherege, and a host of critics writing on the art of travel (ars apodemica), like Joseph Hall and James Howell.

Keywords: Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, travel satire, ars apodemica, Ben Jonson, Rabelais, Thomas More, James Howell, lying

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