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Lemuel Gulliver

File:Gullivers travels.jpg
The first edition of Gulliver's Travels claimed that Lemuel Gulliver was its author, and contained a fictitious portrait of Lemuel Gulliver.
File:Ch 1 Gulliver Grandville 08.jpg
Gulliver captured by the Lilliputians (illustration by J.J. Grandville).

Lemuel Gulliver (/ˈɡʌlɪvər/) is the fictional protagonist and narrator of Gulliver's Travels, a novel written by Jonathan Swift, first published in 1726.

In Gulliver's Travels

According to Swift's novel, Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire c. 1661, where his father had a small estate; the Gulliver family is said to have originated in Oxfordshire, however. He supposedly studied for three years (c. 1675-1678) at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, leaving to become an apprentice to an eminent London surgeon; after four years (c. 1678-1682), he left to study at the University of Leiden, a prominent Dutch university and medical school. He also educated himself in navigation and mathematics, leaving the University around 1685.

Prior to the voyages whose adventures are recounted in the novel, he is described as having traveled less remarkably to the Levant (c. 1685-1688) and later to the East Indies and West Indies (c. 1690-1696). Between his travels he married Miss Mary Burton (c. 1688), daughter of a London hosier. In his education and travels he acquired some knowledge of "High and Low Dutch, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Lingua Franca"; he later states that he understood some Greek, and that he "understood (Portuguese) very well".

Gulliver's remarkable travels begin in 1699 and end in 1715, having changed Gulliver's personality to that of a recluse. He claims to have written his memoirs five years following his last return to England, i.e., in 1720 or 1721. The frontispiece to the 1726 edition of Gulliver's Travels shows a fictitious engraving of Gulliver at the age of 58 (i.e., c. 1719). An additional preface, attributed to Gulliver, added to a revised version of the work is given the fictional date of April 2, 1727, at which time Gulliver would have been about 65 or 66 years old. The earliest editions of the book credited Gulliver as the author, whom many at the time believed to be a real person. Swift, an Anglican clergyman, had published much of his work anonymously or pseudonymously.

In sequels and spinoffs

  • Gulliver is mentioned throughout the recent Malplaquet trilogy of children's novels by Andrew Dalton.[1][2][3] Taking much of their initial inspiration from T.H. White's Mistress Masham's Repose, the books describe the adventures of a large colony of Lilliputians living secretly in the enormous and mysterious grounds of an English Country House (Stowe House in Buckinghamshire). In The Temples of Malplaquet, for example, Jamie Thompson (their human protector, aged 13) has a dream-like vision of the episode in which Gulliver is first captured by the Lilliputians.
  • In the Gulliver's Travels film released in 2010, Gulliver, played by Jack Black, is a mail room worker who fancies himself a writer but plagiarizes most of his work from the Internet. After Gulliver is assigned to write a story about the Bermuda Triangle, his ship becomes lost at sea and he finds himself in Lilliput.

See also


  1. ^ Dalton, Andrew.The Temples of Malplaquet. Lutterworth Press 2005, ISBN 978-0-7188-3047-2
  2. ^ Dalton, Andrew. The Lost People of Malplaquet. Lutterworth Press 2007, ISBN 978-0-7188-3050-2
  3. ^ Dalton, Andrew. The New Empire of Malplaquet. Lutterworth Press 2009, ISBN 978-0-7188-3093-9