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Approaches to Teaching Swift's Gulliver's Travels

Editor(s): Edward J. Rielly

Pages: ix & 148 pp.
Published: 1988
ISBN: 9780873525121 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873525114 (cloth)

Jonathan Swift's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World--more commonly known as Gulliver's Travels--is rightly considered one of literature's great satires. Many students, however, regard the book as children's literature and Swift himself as a misanthrope. Teachers face the additional challenge that inexperienced readers will be overwhelmed by the book's unfamiliar political and historical landscape. The essays in this volume of the Approaches to Teaching World Literature series help instructors deal with the enormous amount of background material incorporated into Gulliver's Travels, the book's seeming lack of structural and thematic unity, the author's often ambivalent attitude toward his "hero" and the peoples and creatures Gulliver encounters during his voyages, and the essence of Swift's satire.

The first of the two parts of this volume, "Materials," reviews classroom editions of Gulliver's Travels, required and recommended student readings, audiovisual materials, and background and biographical works for instructors. The second part, "Approaches," offers strategies, by twenty teachers, for presenting Swift's work in a variety of settings. Fourteen essays suggest different methodologies for introducing the text to students--such as considering whether Gulliver's Travels is a novel and using Swift's letters to reveal the "real" author. The final six essays propose specific assignments for students, from performing dramatic readings to writing satires.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Swift's Gulliver's Travels

Edward J. Rielly

Classroom Editions

Required and Recommended Student Readings

Audiovisual Materials

The Instructor's Library
Standard Editions and Reference Works
Background Works
Biographical and Critical Works




Gulliver's Travels and Controversy
Richard H. Rodino

Using Student Responses to Teach Gulliver's Travels
Frederik N. Smith

Big Men and Little Men, Houyhnhnms and Yahoos: Structural Parallels and Meaning in Gulliver's Travels
Peter J. Schakel

The Multiple Identities of Gulliver's "Reader"
Janet E. Aikins

Teaching Gulliver's Travels
John F. Sena

Introducing Swift's Satiric Themes and Techniques: Gulliver's Travels, Part 2, Chapter 7
Sidney Gottlieb

Teaching the Third Voyage
Michael DePorte

"In what ordure hast thou dipped thy pencil?": Problems in Teaching Part 4
Brian Corman

Sexuality and the Body
Christopher Fox

Gulliver the Dreamer
Dolores Palomo

Parody in Gulliver's Travels
Roger D. Lund

Swift's Letters in Teaching Tone and Technique in Gulliver's Travels
Charles Pullen

Gulliveriana: Ways of Reading Gulliver's Travels
Jeanne K. Welcher

"Wild" and "Circumstantial" Inventions: Interdisciplinary Possibilities for Teaching Gulliver's Travels
Melinda Alliker Rabb


The Use of Dramatic Readings of Gulliver's Travels to Foster Discussion
David J. Leigh

Gulliver and CAI: "A Project for improving . . . Knowledge by practical and mechanical Operations"
R B Reaves

Gulliver's Travels in a Utopias-Dystopias Course
Milton Voigt

A Survey of Writing Assignments on Gulliver's Travels
Edward J. Rielly

Teaching Gulliver's Travels in Freshman Composition
Robert Keith Miller

Writing a Satire; or, Everyone His or Her Own Swift
Douglas Murray

Works Cited


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