Monday, 10 November 2014

Classics Club Spin #8 ......... And the Winner Is ...............





Number 13 !


Yipes!  That means I'll be reading:




I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.  I'm happy to read it but I think there is a deeper message, a commentary on government or society, or something like that ........???

Curiously, I'm reading Utopia by Thomas More at the moment so it might be interesting to do a comparison.

For anyone who has read Gulliver's Travels, can you offer any advice or let me know what to expect?  Should I do some research beforehand?

Okay,  a deep breath, and happy reading everyone!



27 comments:

  1. Gulliver's Travels is a great read! Swift is a satirist and moralist but the story is in the form of a fanciful adventure tale. People have read it for pleasure for centuries without worrying unduly about the "message" (though it is in there and quite devastating in spots). I think you will find it more enjoyable than you expect.

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    1. Thanks for the insight. I'll probably just read it then, and not worry about it. After all, I can read it again, can't I? Who knows, after reading Utopia, I might pick up more than I think I will!

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  2. I would read it first and then do any research if you think it is necessary. Like Lory, I found the book quite enjoyable. Thinking of some of the other books you've read, I would say this is one of the less intimidating ones. :)

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    1. Ah, that's a great suggestion. And it's nice to know that it's not too intricate. My mind should be jelly by the time we get to December and I'm able to read it.

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  3. Here is something... the origin of the horses name: Houyhnhnm. During research in books Swift read man = animal rationale and horse = animal irrationale. One of the leading characteristics of a hourse is whinnying. Therefore equus est animal hinnibile. Swift plays with the word and hinnibile became Houyhnhnm! Good luck with Gulliver's Travels

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    1. Ooo, thanks for that information. I'm sure there will be many more tidbits like this that I will only pick up with the help of friends. :-) It sounds fascinating though. I'll probably read the introduction of the book; I don't normally do that before I read but in this case, it may be good to make an exception.

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  4. Cleo..how awesome is this!! Swift is at his most bitter/sarcastic merciless self as he cuts down on the hipocrasy and double standards of that age...also there are some delicious word plays...it's an awesome mind gym book...hope you enjoy it!!

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    1. After reading your comments, I'm really excited about reading it. Sarcastic and merciless! Swift must have been an interesting character as well. I think I need to add another biography to my TBR biography list.

      I'm not sure how supple my mind will be, but I'll do my best!

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  5. Not sure how I would feel either having read it a few years ago for my book club. I did struggle. Some was very clever and some went right over my head. Saying that my house was being ruled by a toddler who thought 5am was as good a time as any to get up so might not have been in the best frame of mind! Hope you enjoy. Emma

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    1. Lol! I hope your toddler is giving you some more uninterrupted reading time now.

      With all the encouraging comments I'm feeling a little more settle about the book and I think I'm really going to enjoy it.

      I see that you scored The Moonstone, so that should be a fun read. I hope that you enjoy it!

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  6. I've read it, and I did no research - quite liked it as far as I can remember :)

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    1. Another positive endorsement, so that's encouraging.

      You got New Grub Street, which I read and quite enjoyed. I've been meaning to read some more of Gissing's works but haven't yet got around to it ...... the story of my life ...... ;-)

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  7. I haven't read it but after reading all these interesting comments I now want to. Hope you will enjoy!

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    1. I just saw your book and I suppose you won't consider a trade? Just kidding! I've been wanting to read Gulliver for ages and now I have my wish.

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  8. I will join you...hopefully. I always need an excuse to read Gulliver's Travels for the umpteenth time (I think this will be my 5th). One word. Fantastic. It is a social commentary and I suppose you could rip it to shreds but much of the commentary is on the surface. I don't really know much if anything about Irish history, but Swift gives a commentary on science, politics, and human nature that is relevant for anyone living in a developed nation. I think you will enjoy it.

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    1. Oh, Fariba, if you would read it with me that would make me doubly excited! Having read it so many times, you must have a wealth of information. Someone was telling me that as you read, you begin to clearly see the social commentary. I'm going to start either the first or second week of December ..... hopefully that will give you some time to finish up your current projects. Thanks for joining in!

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  9. I have a copy of this book somewhere but never got round to read it. Reading all those comments really triggered my interest and I will put it a little higher on my TBR-list now.

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    1. And I'm quite certain with your 700 page novel, you will be too busy to join Fariba and me. I'm glad that I've whetted your interest though. :-)

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  10. Probably the best satire ever written. Seriously, it's that good. You can definitely make some interesting contrasts between this one and Moore's "Utopia" especially since both authors use irony and satire in different ways. I can't see you not enjoying this novel on some level.

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    1. Okay, you've sold me. Now I'm officially really looking forward to it. I quite like Thomas More so it will be interesting how I react to Swift. I get the feeling that they were two vastly different personalities.

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    2. Like polar opposites. Thomas More lived a fascinating life in the dangerous court of Henry VIII and it's crazy to think that he was able to write something as controversial as Utopia without getting his head chopped off.

      I wrote a review of "Utopia" here if you want to check it out once you are done with it: http://literaturefrenzy.blogspot.ca/2013/06/neglected-review-4-utopia-by-thomas.html

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    3. Thanks, Jason! I usually try not to read other reviews before I write mine but in this case I'm happy to make an exception. In any case, my Utopia volume is one that was used for teaching and it has a number of background pieces that I've already read with fascination. The text, however, appears to be in Middle English. I just bought a "real" English copy, but what I've read so far in the first book is so good that I just may try it in Middle English. Help!

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  11. Oh, fun! Seriously.

    That's all I'll say.

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    1. Fun is good. I'll take it and run with it! ;-)

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  12. I am bummed that I somehow missed the Spin announcement and didn't realize it was happening until I saw the number announced. Not sure how it got by me - but oh well. Will still be reading my classics. As for Gulliver I actually read and studied this for an 18th century lit class in grad school and was surprised to find out how much there is to it than the cute lilliputian cartoons I had seen as a kid. It's weird and as someone above said there is lots of sharp satire. Since the satire relates not only the to general human condition but to the politics of the time, I think it will enhance your reading experience to do a little background research. Wikipedia should do the trick. But then for me, looking into the historical context of any book I read is part of the pleasure.

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    1. That's unfortunate! You could still do a late spin with a randomized list.

      Some books require more research than others. I'm reading Utopia now with a group and those who didn't do any research are struggling to find out the point. It sounds like Gulliver will be easier to figure out but we'll see ......

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