4umi Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift

* Dublin, 30 November 1667 - † Dublin, 19 October 1745
Jonathan Swift

Irish writer and dean, immortalized through his descriptions of faraway lands in “Gulliver's Travels - Travels into several remote nations of the world” as the complete title of the book has it. Faraway lands were quite a new and hip thing in his day, perhaps comparable to the occurance of the internet in ours. Modern readers may be surprised at first to notice that the very self-conscious Japanese are put next to imaginary and very non-existing Laputians and Houyhnhnms, but then realize the difference in world perspective... Just like early radiolisteners could be fooled into believing a Martian attack was at hand, many of Swift's readers took it as a matter of fact, because the book matched the other stories that were increasingly coming in from overseas travellers: there are, on the other side of that great and dangerous ocean, different people, potentially intelligent people, with different lives and similar lives, with unpronouncable words in incomprehensible languages and even stranger customs, and if one decides to live in paper houses instead of brick, then surely another may just as easily be a giant, a dwarf or a horse.

The popularity of the book in our time, when (almost) all faraway lands have logged on and are no longer far away, is no surprise. Anything is still possible. If we keep sending enough rovers and other bots to Mars, one day we will find something that will silence the non-believers. The following pages should leave no doubt about that.

Selected titles


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 Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels A Modest Proposal Three Sermons, Three Prayer