By Clarence Hudson Richardson
Publication by means of Richardson, Clarence Hudson
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Extra info for An introduction to the calculus of finite differences
Smith, 1958). Crane, R. , ‘The Houyhnhnms, the Yahoos, and the History of Ideas’, in J. A. ), Reason and the Imagination: Studies in the History of Ideas, 1600–1800 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962). Reprinted in Crane’s The Idea of the Humanities and Other Essays, 2 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967). Contains important information crucial to a proper understanding of the Fourth Book. Eddy, W. , ‘Gulliver’s Travels’: A Critical Study (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1923).
Had Swift known about the Nazis, the example of his treatment of lesser tyrannies and oppressions makes it clear that he would have instanced them as a culminating example of Yahoo depravity. Gulliver and the Gentle Reader A diﬃculty for the reader is that all this material is mediated through a narrator who is variously unreliable, and who in the later parts of the story, preﬁgured in the 1735 edition by the Letter to Sympson, seems actually deranged. The suggestion, as the story unfolds, is that he has been shattered into total misanthropy by his experience of human doings and the revelation of the Houyhnhnm Utopia.
But the women in this brief incidental comment are merely an extreme example of what is said about all humans, and the strongest charge of feeling in the entire chapter has to do not with any particular sex or category, but with the merciless eﬀect of age on the body, mind, and morals. The depravity of the Struldbruggs is general, not speciﬁc; instinctive, not willed; a natural consequence of age and illness, not something they or anyone else can ever have prevented. We are now entering satirical territory of a new kind, in which depravity is not the mark of what people do, but of who they are.