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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
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Gulliver's Travels: A Satire Not Just for Children

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0321
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$30 - Member
$35 - Non-Member
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The King of Brobdingnag and Gulliver (detail) by James Gillray, 1803 (Etching satirizing Napoleon Bonaparte and George III. Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels is often regarded as a children's book, but only by people who have never read it through. Swift was filled with "savage indignation" at the problems in the human character.

Gulliver's Travels is a work of genius, a witty, enchanting, and unrelenting critique of the optimism of the Enlightenment. First Gulliver is a giant among tiny self-important people; then he is a vulnerable doll among giants; then he visits the madcap academy at the flying island of Laputa, where he discovers the hollowness of rationality devoid of practical good sense. Finally, he meets the Houyhnhnms, highly rational talking horses and the Yahoos, disgusting primates that look a good deal like humans without the thin veneer of civilization. 

Join humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson as he sorts all of this out and leads a journey into the dark recesses of the severest satirist in the English language.

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