Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift, Robert DeMaria Jr. I'm really perplexed by this one...

So, Jonathan Swift is constantly described as a satirist. So this book is satire, right? The problem is that I don't have much context into what Swift is poking fun at, so the joke's on me for finishing this book.

First of all, I think of Gulliver's Travels as a cartoon. A few web searches reveals that I guess I'm most familiar with the 1939 Fleischer cartoon. Who knew it was so old? 80s reruns, I guess.

The problem here is that the cartoon story doesn't follow the book much, and the book is much more boring. Much more focused on the governments of the various fantastical lands that Gulliver visits, and how they compare with England in 1725 (of which I know very little)

Apparently, there was a whole genre of "Travelers Tales" at the time, where people would sail off on fantastic voyages to India or Samoa or Sumatra or something and write a bestseller when they returned. Since none of these have survived the test of time (at least as well-read classics), the satire is lost. It's like watching "Scary Movie" having never seen a horror movie or something. Anyway, I'm sure there were a lot of jokes, I'm sure they were funny, but I missed them. (except for one dick joke in book one-- classy, Swift!)

Most of the book must be poking fun at the politicians of the day, but since (again) I don't know any of them, it wasn't funny. I suppose if I were doing scholarly research on 18th century English politics, or Travelers Tales, I'd enjoy this. Otherwise, it was boring and unfunny.

Towards the end of the book (the last two stories), the satire gets more broad, and I can at least appreciate the humor. Then, at the end of the last book, Swift takes this real left turn where Gulliver inexplicably turns into this self-loathing creature who is bereft of compassion and basic logic -- Again, I'm sure this is in reference to something important, but I missed it.

There, I made it to the end of the review without having to try to spell Hoinymhuhjmhjss... oh well, never mind.