Login | Register

The Politics of Travel in Gulliver’s Travels


The Politics of Travel in Gulliver’s Travels

Gill, Donal S. (2020) The Politics of Travel in Gulliver’s Travels. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

[thumbnail of Gill_PhD_F2020.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
Gill_PhD_F2020.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Spectrum Terms of Access.


When, in Book II, Chapter VII, the King of Brobdingnag says to Gulliver “As for yourself […] who have spent the greatest part of your life travelling; I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country” (Book II, Ch. VII: 121), he raises an important question—that of the value of travel as a means to correct the individual. The primary original contribution of this dissertation is to take Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726) seriously as a work of political theory, specifically on the question of the value of travel as a means of individual edification. This dissertation extracts from the text a political argument concerning the pitfalls of the assumption that travel is of benefit to individuals in all circumstances. In doing so, it places Swift in dialogue with Locke, Shaftesbury, the proponents of the Baconian scientific project, and Montaigne, as well as extracting an overarching criticism of liberal and enlightenment values through the critique of travel. Through a close reading of Gulliver’s Travels, alongside key political and religious contextual analysis, the dissertation assesses the text’s treatment of the relationship between travel, education, science, and politics. This dissertation extracts from Swift’s text an argument that travel can only be edifying if pursued in a disciplined manner as part of an organic hierarchical society, opening up a wider criticism of Modernist and Enlightenment ideas of education.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Gill, Donal S.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Political Science
Date:30 August 2020
Thesis Supervisor(s):Smith, Travis D.
ID Code:987263
Deposited By: DONAL GILL
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 16:00
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 16:00
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top