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If you like this audio book of Paradise Lost so far, go to
If you’re really into it, you can read the 1667, 10 book version of Paradise Lost in PDF format
The Paradise Lost
It’s generally agreed that
“Paradise Lost” is an
The full title reads A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public. In case you weren’t sure, this piece is literally dripping with satire. The “proposal” is meant to address the problems of poverty and hunger in Ireland. It’s not very long, so I recommend you read it
You can read the complete text of Gulliver’s Travels online
Gulliver - The narrator and protagonist of the story.
The Emperor of Lilliput – The ruler of Lilliput. Like all Lilliputians he is less than six inches tall, which makes his for the most part successful attempts to control Gulliver seem somewhat silly. He takes pride in the height of his tiny palace and his power over an army of tiny subjects, but despite its absurdity is power is still somewhat threatening. The emperor is a satire of the autocratic ruler and a well executed portrait of political power
The king of Brobdingnag - rational and intelligent, and speaks to Gulliver at length about the history and institutions of Gulliver’s native land. in this way he is similar to the Houyhnhnms.
Lord Munodi - A lord of Lagado, capital of the underdeveloped land beneath Laputa, who hosts Gulliver and gives him a tour of the country.
Yahoos - Gross humanlike beasts who serve the Houyhnhnms, who are extremely wise and intelligent horses. They are hairy, unintelligent and have extreme sexual appetites - basically an exaggerated version of everything bad about humanity.
Houyhnhnms - Rational horses who live in a simple, peaceful socialist republic governed by reason and honesty. They do not even have a word for “lie” in their language.
Don Pedro de Mendez - The Portuguese captain who takes Gulliver back to Europe after he is forced to leave the land of the Houyhnhnms. Don Pedro is kind to Gulliver, but Gulliver at this point cannot stand the company of “Yahoos”.
Brobdingnagians - Giants whom Gulliver meets on his second voyage. Brobdingnagians are basically a reasonable and kindly people governed by a sense of justice.
The farmer - Gulliver’s first master in Brobdingnag, where all of the people are giants. He is kind to Gulliver, but puts him on display around Brobdingnag in an attempt to profit from him. The farmer represents the average man, yet one who is powerful only because of his immense size and physical strength.
Glumdalclitch - The farmer’s nine-year-old daughter, who becomes Gulliver’s friend and cares for him as a kind of dull or pet.
Lilliputians and Blefuscudians - Two warring races of miniature people whom Gulliver meets on his first voyage.
Laputans - Absentminded intellectuals who live on the floating island of Laputa, encountered by Gulliver on his third voyage. They are parodies of theoreticians, impractical, self-absorbed and judgmental of those who are less intelligent than themselves. the Laputans serve as a warning against the excesses of theoretical pursuits and the uselessness of purely abstract knowledge.
Richard Sympson - Gulliver’s cousin, friend, and the editor and publisher of Gulliver’s Travels.
Here’s the 1st chapter. Get the rest by clicking
Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin.
He is remembered for works such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms — such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier — or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.”
That’s well worded enough – brief and to the point. Swift was an interesting character. You can read the rest of the wiki bio
If you haven’t already read “Gulliver’s Travels” and are trying to cram, listening to a few chapters and memorizing the characters should be all you need to get by on the GRE. If you are on a board of admissions, please phase out this test so I never have to write statements like that again.
Listen to Dryden,
“Absalom and Achitophel” is an allegorical poem that uses the biblical story of
The Monmouth Rebellion of 1685, also known as the Pitchfork Rebellion, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was unpopular because he was Roman Catholic and many people were opposed to a “papist” king. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II, claimed to be rightful heir to the throne and attempted to displace James II.
The rebellion ended with the defeat of Monmouth’s forces at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685. Monmouth was executed for treason on 15 July, and many of his supporters were executed or transported in the “Bloody Assizes” of Judge Jeffreys.
The biblical King David represents King Charles II, who had many illegitimate children but no legitimate heir to the throne. Absalom represents the Duke of Monmouth – Charles’ (illegitimate) oldest son, and Achitophel is a stand in for the Earl of Shaftesbury- a leader of the Whig party who supported the Duke.
You won’t need to know all these detail for the GRE, just the basic allegorical intent of the poem.
Listen to lines lines 1-490
Read the text on google books
Like Pope’s “Rape of the Lock,” Dryden’s “Mac Flecknoe” (1684) is a satirical mock epic written in heroic couplets. In this poem Dryden attacks his contemporary, Thomas Shadwell, who was both his literary and political rival (Shadwell was a Whig, while Dryden supported the Stuart monarchy).
Read the full text