restricted access Early Condensations of Gulliver’s Travels: Images of Swift as Satirist in the 1720s


Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was allegedly very popular immediately following its publication in 1726. But the high price at which it was sold, 8s. 6d., made the book prohibitively expensive for book-buyers, as evidenced by several cheaper abridgments and condensations of Gulliver’s Travels that appeared soon after the book’s publication. Many readers likely encountered Gulliver’s Travels through these condensed texts instead of through the full version. These condensations differ substantially from the original, especially in their treatment of the caustically misanthropic voyage to Houyhnhnmland. The version of Swift that many readers encountered is a gentler, milder satirist than the Swift we are familiar with from the full text.