Two-hundred, ninety-four years ago, today, the book of satirical stories, Gulliver’s Travels was published. Written by Irish clergyman Jonathan Swift, the original title was Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. That has to be the longest book title in existence. I’ve never read any of it, nor have I seen the various movies that have been put out. That being said, there are several well written summaries and opinions on the material and, I’m not reinventing the wheel. ~Vic
Gulliver’s name probably is an allusion to King Lemuel of Proverbs 31, who was a weak-minded prophet. Swift may also be connecting his character to a common mule, a half-ass, half-horse animal that is known for being stubborn and stupid. A gull is a person who is easily fooled or gullible. At the same time, Gulliver represents the everyman with his average intelligence and general good humor. The reader is able to identify with him and join him in his travels. Even though Swift constantly alludes to events that were happening while he was alive, the story rings true today, bringing light to our own societal issues and to patterns of human nature. Throughout Gulliver’s voyages, Swift goes to great lengths to scrutinize, parody, and satire various aspects of human, and often English, society.
A mock work of travel literature, Jonathan Swift’s famous novel is a far deeper work than one of just Juvenalian and Horatian satire. It is an indictment against the prevailing spirit of Enlightenment philosophy and utopianism, an esoteric defense of Christianity against its Enlightenment critics, and a prophetic vision into the future degeneration of humanity in following the dictates of the natural philosophers of modernity. Swiftian irony is one of the great joys of the work. [Where] traditional literary narrative has the travelling protagonist return home to comfort and love, Swift’s Gulliver returns home deranged and a hater of humanity.
1939 Animated Movie (IMDb)
1977 UK Movie (IMDb)
1996 TV Mini-Series (IMDb)
20th Century Fox 2010 Movie (IMDb)
Gulliver’s Travels (Wikipedia)
Jonathan Swift (Wikipedia)
Wikisource Text of the Book
I’m taking a break from blogging for a while. I’m kinda burned out. In fact, I’m burned out on a lot of things. I’m not sure when I will return. ~Vic
Picture of the Day
A member of the Acanthaceae family, this could be a Ruellia Simplex or Mexican Petunia, Mexican Bluebell or Britton’s Wild Petunia. It could be a Ruellia Tuberosa or Minnieroot, Fever Root, Snapdragon Root or Sheep Potato. Honestly, they look the same to me. ~Vic
Flower for the Day
SN 1054 is a supernova that was first observed on 4 July 1054 and remained visible for around two years. The event was recorded in contemporary Chinese astronomy [..]. [There is] a pictograph associated with the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) culture found near the Peñasco Blanco site in New Mexico. The remnant of SN 1054, which consists of debris ejected during the explosion, is known as the Crab Nebula (M1). It is located in the sky near the star Zeta Tauri (ζ Tauri) The core of the exploding star formed a pulsar called the Crab Pulsar. When the French astronomer Charles Messier watched for the return of Halley’s Comet in 1758, he confused the nebula for the comet as he was unaware of the former’s existence. Motivated by this error, he created his catalogue of non-cometary nebulous objects, the Messier Catalogue, to avoid such mistakes in the future. The nebula is catalogued as the first Messier object […].
Chinese astronomers watching the sky on July 4, 1054, noted the appearance of a new or guest star just above the southern horn of Taurus. Other observations of the explosion were recorded by Japanese, Arabic and Native American stargazers. In 1731, British astronomer John Bevis observed a cloudy blob in the sky and added it to his star atlas. Although [Messier] credited himself with its discovery in his first publication of the Messier Catalog, he acknowledged Bevis’ original finding in subsequent versions after receiving a letter from the astronomer. Around 1844, [Irish] astronomer William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse, sketched the nebula. The resemblance of the image to a crustacean led to M1’s other name, the Crab Nebula. In the early 20th century, astronomers (Carl Lampland/1921 & Edwin Hubble/1928, included) were able to take more detailed measurements of M1 and determined that it is expanding. Working backwards, they determined its origination date and matched the explosion up with observations from Chinese and Native American records.
It is likely that skywatchers of the Anasazi People in the American Southwest also viewed the bright new star in 1054. Historic research shows that a crescent moon was visible in the sky very near the new star on the morning of July 5, the day following the observations by the Chinese. The pictograph above, from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, is believed to depict the event. The multi-spiked star to the left represents the supernova near the crescent moon. The handprint above may signify the importance of the event, or may be the artist’s “signature.”
Happy 4th, everyone! ~Vic
Oh, I just couldn’t pass this one up.
October 6 has four celebrations and a brand new one. Today is National Mad Hatter Day, which is àpropos to this being the month of Halloween. Considering recent political dramas, theatre of the absurd also applies.
Being ‘mad as a hatter’ was a real thing at one time, all silliness aside. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, mercury nitrate was used extensively by haberdasheries in the production of felt. The symptoms of mercury poisoning or, Erethism were a myriad of crazy behaviors due to the neurological damage.
But, in the case of today’s Mad Hatter Day, grab a top hat and be ridiculous. Celebrate Lewis Carroll’s colorful character and be an “Alice in Wonderland” if you so choose.
Also celebrated today:
National Plus Size Appreciation Day
National German-American Day
National Noodle Day (I’m not kidding)
National Orange Wine Day (Founded by The Real House Wine to bring awareness to, of course, orange wines. It was proclaimed, today, by the Registrar at National Day Calendar.)
Cheers and enjoy!