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The Politics of ParodyA Literary History of Caricature, 1760-1830$
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David Francis Taylor

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300223750

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300223750.001.0001

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Gulliver Goes to War

Gulliver Goes to War

(p.181) 6. Gulliver Goes to War
The Politics of Parody

David Francis Taylor

Yale University Press

This chapter explores Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels as a source for graphic satire, specifically considering James Gillray's King of Brobdingnag, and Gulliver (1803). In a parodic reimagining of Part 2, Chapter 7 of Gulliver's Travels, George III, dressed in military uniform, scrutinizes with his spyglass the diminutive, swaggering Napoleon standing on the palm of his outstretched right hand. It is one of the most reproduced and instantly recognizable political caricatures in British history, and it has come increasingly to be entwined in the cultural memory with the very text it adapts. Of course, the efficacy of this 1803 caricature lies in its striking simplicity—the juxtaposition of two profile figures, one small one large, against a plain background—but the question of how it orients itself in relation both to Gulliver's Travels and to the longer history of that text's adaptation and political appropriation is more complex.

Keywords:   Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, graphic satire, James Gillray, George III, Napoleon, political caricatures, political appropriation

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