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Category Archives: Gulliver’s Travels

A Random Thought

The Writing Machine at the Academy of Lagado

The Writing Machine at the Academy of Lagado

If the books on our reading list had been assembled by the Grand Academy of Lagado’s writing machine or the novel-writing machines of the Ministry of Truth’s Fiction Department do you know what they would not have included?

Literary connections like that one.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in 1984, Gulliver's Travels

 

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ArtMusicLitPrize

One of my favorite habits as a Classics Reader and citizen of West Michigan is finding references to our books amid the thousands of entries in one of the largest art competitions in the world, ArtPrize.  In years past I’ve seen bits of Gulliver’s Travels,

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Moby Dick,

ArtPrize Moby Dicks Tail

and even an unintentional Great Gatsby reference.

ArtPrize Great Gatsby Glasses

This year’s festival just started yesterday, and I haven’t yet been downtown to see the works in their glory, but the media’s been pretty good at flooding my feed with glimpses of what awaits.  Including this rather unexpected entry:

Even though Mrs. Emma B. wasn’t my favorite character or novel, I would love to hear this.  The piece is by Grand Rapids Symphony’s principal oboist for their newly appointed principal cellist.  According to this interview it is heavily influence and inspired by Flaubert’s work.

It’s an actual ArtPrize entry, and if you can’t make the concert you can always listen to the midi file online.  Personally, I’d rather scramble to find a last-minute babysitter and some dough for some tickets.

*crickets chirping*

What?  That’s not the sound of crickets I hear?  Oh, I see, it’s the sweet music of electronic strings.  That makes more sense.

 

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Some Dads

Happy Father’s Day Sancho, Christian, Gulliver, Mr. Bennett, Fagin, Mr. Brockelhurst, Arthur Dimmesdale, Ahab, Arthur Shelby, Charles Bovary, Marmeladov, Vronsky, Damon Wildeve, Gilbert Osmund, Pap Finn, and Tom Buchanan.

Thanks for not being my dad.

You see, he’s pretty awesome.  And you guys, well, let’s just say that you’re best left where you are:  inside the covers of a book.

Dad Dance

 

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The Fastest 300 Years EVER!

Sancho and the donkey.  Christian.  Yahoos and Houyhnhnms.  Elizabeth and Darcy.  Oliver.   Bertha-in-the-attic.  Hester and Pearl.   Moby Dick.   Uncles and Madams.  Rascal.   Anna-Kitty-Levin-Vronsky-oviches.   The Heath.   Isabel.   Huckleberry.   The Journeys of Henry and Marlowe.   And now Lily, whose outcome, at least for me, is still uncertain.

While paging through the Well-Educated Mind list of fiction books, I realized that Don Quixote was published in 1605 and House of Mirth in 1905.   300 years!  I congratulate myself and you, fellow readers, on plowing through 300 years of literature.   May the crop be plentiful!  I suggest a glass of red wine and some good chocolate to celebrate.

 

 

WEMever the Twain Shall Meet

Despite what Samuel Clemens implies about the usefulness of a well-read education, I’m inclined to believe he followed a curriculum very similar to ours.  Just look at all of the places that there are parallels between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the rest of our reading list:

Don Quixote

  • Tom mentions reading the first of all novels, and even suggests acting it out.
  • The self-appointed Duke and King reminded me of our self-appointed knight errant.
  • Huck and Jim are on quite a quest, with a fairly foggy future outcome.  I found myself often asking, “Where are they going with this,” just as I did inDQ.
  • Tom sets out in the most complicated fashion to help someone who didn’t need his help.  Let’s just face it, Tom is Don Quixote.

Pilgrim’s Progress

  • Slough.  Not of Despond, but I know I read about one, although I’ve lost the page number.
  • The Grandersons, for all their good Christian living, have a copy of this moral tale on the coffee table.  I don’t remember Bunyan having characters named Family Feud and Kill Thy Neighbor, but maybe I just missed a page.

Gulliver’s Travels

  • Can you say “satire?”

Oliver Twist

  • We haven’t encountered a story about a young boy since Oliver.  As a mother with four of her own, it was nice to get back into familiar territory.
  • Did anyone else think the plot tied up a little too miraculously at the end.? Huck just happens to stumble on the Phelps farm when they are expecting his best friend’s arrival?  Miss Watson just happens to die and free Jim?

Moby Dick

  • Water plays anhe important role of water in the lives of the characters.  The river is practically a character itself.
  • Superstitions abound in both situations.
  • Both authors tackled slavery in an indirect manner.
  • At the very end their is a character named Brother Mapple, which seemed just too close to Father Marple for me.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

  • Slavery
  • Okay, I can be more specific.  Both use male slaves as the moral centers of their works.

Crime and Punishment

  • Huck’s internal struggles between right and wrong, action and inaction, and societal norms and the pull of his heart reminded me of the time we spent inside Raskolnikov’s brain.

The Return of the Native

  • The Mississippi River seems to be the kinder, gentler, yet still important younger cousin of Egdon Heath.

Did I miss any?  Are there any references to P&P, JE, SL, MB, AK, or POAL?

 

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Christmas Is Coming

Readers are easy to shop for because they’re always happy to get a book.  But what if you want to validate their love of literature without adding to the addiction?  Here’s a list of some unique classic gifts that might appeal to us WEMers.  Feel free print it out and leave it in a conspicuous spot for the shoppers in your life.  Or not.

(If all went well, clicking on the picture should open a new window to the site where the item is available.)

Don Quixote

The question I want answered is do these earrings belong the beautiful Dulcinea of Don Quixote’s dreams, or the brawny girl of Sancho’s acquaintance?  Decide before wearing.

Pilgrim’s Progress

Because a Bunyan vest is better than Bunyan Shoes.

Gulliver’s Travels

The site says that the pages are still readable.  Never mind.  Do not buy this for me.

Pride and Prejudice

This is obviously a doll version of Darcy from the beginning of the novel.  You know, when he was really crochety, um I mean crotchety.

Oliver Twist

You could make up a batch of homemade gruel mix, put it in a mason jar, and add a festive bow, or you could give a Dickinsonian this lovely print of a giant gruel pot.

Jane Eyre

These hues of the moors are named “To the Stars,” “A Strange and Unearthly Thing,” and “Independent Will!” (Exclamation point the artists, not mine.)  Aside from the fact that I can’t imagine Jane Eyre for a moment considering her own appearance long enough to put on a coat of nail polish, they are kind of pretty, in a moody, murky way, of course.

Scarlet Letter

These days bearing a shirt with a scarlet A on it doesn’t denote you as an adulteress, although I think that meaning might be preferable.  So instead of clothing, the Scarlet Letter lover might appreciate this ignominious bracelet.

Moby Dick

The Herman Melville gift options seem endless, from “Call me Ishmael, maybe?” t-shirts to Captain Ahab Baby Swaddlers but this print is the item that really made my jaw drop.  It’s as striking and surprising as the novel itself.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Personally, I would much rather have a piece of Aunt Chloe’s pie.

Madame Bovary

What could be more fitting for Emma than a vanity mirror?

Crime and Punishment

There are hollow book safes available for nearly all of these classics, but this one for C&P has a certain, well, charm?  Although it doesn’t seem big enough to hide an axe.

Anna Karenina

If you can’t buy the gift you can always buy the pattern and knit it yourself this “adorable” and “cute” Anna Tea Cozy.  Also, shouldn’t it really be a samovar cozy?

The Return of the Native

And when in doubt, sending flowers is always a good idea.  Especially heather from the heath.  It’s much more beautiful than a furze faggot, and easier to carry.

Happy shopping and a Merry Christmas!  Oh, and don’t blame me if you get any of these things.

 

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Girl reads Gulliver

This installment of “What’s on my nightstand?” is about a book that’s been on my nightstand for weeks.  Every free moment I have, I’m reading Anna Karenina, so I did what I’ve done before… I pawned the book off on one of my children.  May I present…

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver
retold by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Riddell

… and reviewed by this blogger’s daughter.

I chose to read this book because I thought it might be interesting.  The illustrations looked funny. (and because mom asked if anyone wanted to read the book and help her blog about it)

The book is about Gulliver.  He’s a sailor but he ends up going to all of these crazy places like with little tiny people, and huge people, and horses that talk.  He also visits an island and goes to Japan for a little bit.

Gulliver is pretty good in languages to be able to learn all the different ones so quickly.  He’s good with people.  He can talk himself out of the situations he gets himself into. 

My favorite section to read was the giants.  There’s no competition.  You know how girls like to play house with dolls?  That’s what it was like for Gulliver, except he was the doll.

My least favorite section to read was the house with all the ghosts.  I don’t like the idea of people coming back from the dead.  It was creepy how he talked to all the famous people like Alexander the Great.

The illustrations for this version were very good.  They helped you understand the story better.  With the Yahoos, you wouldn’t understand how bizarre they were without seeing the pictures.

I would read the story again.  It was fun to read and see all the places Gulliver went.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver… It’s what’s on a blogger’s daughter’s nightstand.

PS.  I, Christine, did quickly peruse the book.  It’s very accurate and the illustrations are a great addition to the story.  Gulliver visits all of the same places as in the original.  Sometimes the book was even a little too accurate–going so far as to include an illustration of the Yahoos in the tree trying to… trying to… well, you remember the ban.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Gulliver's Travels

 

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