restricted access Gulliver, Medium, Technique

In the four parts of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the narrator attends closely to the manual skills, crafts, and techniques of the different countries visited and to the materials and instruments by which they are mediated. The patterned, motif-like presentation of these observations and their rich contextual background, both historical and literary, indicate their special significance. These references to technique play an important, previously underappreciated role in Gulliver. They form a thematic connection between its embodied, sensual, compulsive descriptions of the world and its sociopolitical satire, the latter focusing on technocratic, professionalized statecraft. They are crucial to the peculiar fullness with which Swift’s writing imagines different communities of practice and different ecologies of mind.