Abstract

The Houyhnhnmland setting of Book 4 of Guilliver's Travels is typically understood within the context of fable, because the talking horses seem designed to instruct humanity through allegory. Once among his family in England, Gulliver's life conforms to realist literary conventions, so that the horses in Gulliver's stable are typically assumed to be brute beasts, and Gulliver's insistence on talking with them becomes a sign of his madness. I would argue, though, that Gulliver's conversation with his pet horses/-/-and consequently the meaning of Book 4/-/-yields a whole new crop of interpretative possibilities if Jonathan Swift's text is framed by contemporary debates about the nature of human and animal identities as well as by consideration of occurrences of pet keeping elsewhere in Gulliver's Travels.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 323-349
Launched on MUSE
2007-06-25
Open Access
No
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