Great Political Fictions: ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

David Runciman

This week’s episode on the great political fictions is about Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) – part adventure story, part satire of early-eighteenth-century party politics, but above all a coruscating reflection on the failures of human perspective and self-knowledge. Why do we find it so hard to see ourselves for who we really are? What makes us so vulnerable to mindless feuds and wild conspiracy theories? And what could we learn from the talking horses?

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