Jonathan Swift and the Age of Compromise

By Kathleen Williams | Go to book overview

Chapter VII
ANIMAL RATIONIS CAPAX

Gulliver's Travels is Swift's most complete and most masterly summing-up of the nature of man and of his proper behavior in a difficult world. As in so much of his writing, he works partly through parody, parody of travel literature and its authors, parody of the conclusions of the philosophic voyagers; but here as in A Tale of a Tub, the anti-romantic poems, or the Modest Proposal, parody is only a means to a moral end, serving, especially in the fourth voyage, to make Swift's point in the most economical way by a sharp reversal of the findings common in travels to Utopia. The "Voyage to the Houyhnhnms" is so much the most striking and effective that it has often been considered in isolation, but in fact it is the climax towards which the whole work moves. Swift claimed, in his humorous but wholly serious letter to Pope, that the Travels in its entirety was built upon the same "great foundation of misanthropy, though not in Timon's manner," and it is true that a consistent purpose is visible throughout. Even the "Voyage to Laputa", once scorned as untidy, superficial, boring, a book of left-overs, can now be seen in its proper eighteenth century context as highly relevant to Swift's general purpose. 1 The whole of Gulliver's Travels, though it is timeless in its vision of the unchanging condition of man, is at the same time contemporary, presenting humanity in the particular situation of Swift's scientific, system-making, Deistic, and rationalistic age. Compared with A Tale of a Tub, the Travels is a model of clarity and order, but it is more inclusive than the earlier work, for Swift's perfect choice of vehicle enables him to deal without confusion, often in the same incident or character, with science, philosophy, politics, morals. The third voyage is conceived in terms of contemporary science, but it has also political connotations and relevance to Swift's primary theme of the proper activity of man; the voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag are moral and political, but Swift's chosen allegory of the giants and pygmies, the enormous and the microscopic, has great significance for the new scientific age. Book IV is less concerned with science or with politics, for

-154-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Jonathan Swift and the Age of Compromise
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents *
  • Chapter I - The Need for Compromise 1
  • Chapter II - The Ordering Mind 19
  • Chapter III - Reason and Virtue 43
  • Chapter IV - The Treasure of Baseness in Man 64
  • Chapter V - The Individual and the State 91
  • Chapter VI - Giddy Circumstance 118
  • Chapter VII - Animal Rationis Capax 154
  • Conclusion 210
  • Notes 219
  • Index 235
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 238

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.