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Wayback Wednesday: Gulliver’s Travels 1726

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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 Travels Study Guide on Grade Saver:

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.

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The Imaginative Conservative:

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.

Additional Reading:
1939 Animated Movie (IMDb)
1977 UK Movie (IMDb)
1996 TV Mini-Series (IMDb)
20th Century Fox 2010 Movie (IMDb)
Britannica
Gulliver’s Travels (Wikipedia)
Jonathan Swift (Wikipedia)
Wikisource Text of the Book

Throwback Thursday: Kathy D. Sullivan & Space

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October 11, 1984, Kathryn Dwyer “Kathy” Sullivan became the first American woman astronaut during the STS-41-G mission to perform an EVA or an extravehicular activity (3.5 hours worth), which freely translates to a “space walk”. This was NASA‘s thirteenth flight in the Space Shuttle program and the sixth flight of the Challenger. She was the Mission Specialist 1 and had just turned 33 years of age eight days prior.

She received a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University in 1978, became an Adjunct Professor of Geology at Rice University in 1985 and joined the Navy Reserves in 1988 as an Oceanography Officer, retiring after 18 years at the rank of Captain.

April 24, 1990, she served on board the Space Shuttle Discovery as a Mission Specialist 3 for the STS-31 mission that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. March 24, 1992, she served as Mission Specialist 1 during the STS-45 mission on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis. She was part of the Group 8 NASA Astronaut selection on January 16, 1978. She left NASA in 1993.

Other October 11 space-related trivia:

1957…..Operation Moonwatch scientists calculate Sputnik 1‘s ‘satisfactory orbit’ with an IBM 704.

1958…..NASA launches the lunar probe Pioneer 1 (Pioneer Program). It falls back to Earth and burns up.

1968…..NASA launches Apollo 7, the first crewed flight.

2000…..NASA launches STS-92, the 100th Space Shuttle mission to the ISS via Discovery.