Deconstruction and Gulliver’s Travels

  • Jonathan Swift
Part of the Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism book series (CSICC)


Deconstruction has a reputation for being the most complex and forbidding of contemporary critical approaches to literature, but in fact almost all of us have, at one time, either deconstructed a text or badly wanted to deconstruct one. Sometimes when we hear a lecturer effectively marshal evidence to show that a book means primarily one thing, we long to interrupt and ask what he or she would make of other, conveniently overlooked passages, passages that seem to contradict the lecturer’s thesis. Sometimes, after reading a provocative critical article that almost convinces us that a familiar work means the opposite of what we assume it meant, we may wish to make an equally convincing case of our former reading of the text. We may not think that the poem or novel in question better supports our interpretation, but we may recognize that the text can be used to support both readings. And sometimes we simply want to make that point: texts can be used to support seemingly irreconcilable positions.


Fall Nature Modest Proposal Moral Degeneracy Secondary Text Sexual Myth 
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Deconstruction: A Selected Bibliography

Deconstruction, Poststructuralism, and Structuralism: Introduction, Guides, and Surveys

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Selected Works by Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man

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  3. —. The Resistance to Theory. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986.Google Scholar
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  5. —. Dissemination. 1972. Trans. Barbara Johnson. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981. See especially the concise, incisive “Translator’s Introduction,” which provides a useful point of entry into this work and others by Derrida.Google Scholar
  6. —. Margins of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago: U of Chi cago P, 1982.Google Scholar
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  8. —. The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. Trans. with intro. Alan Bass. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987.Google Scholar
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Essays in Deconstruction and Poststructuralism

  1. Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Trans. Richard Miller. New York: Hill, 1974. In this influential work, Barthes turns from a structuralist to a poststructuralist approach.Google Scholar
  2. Bloom, Harold, et al., eds. Deconstruction and Criticism. New York: Seabury, 1979. Includes essays by Bloom, de Man, Derrida, Miller, and Hartman.Google Scholar
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  9. —. The Ethics of Reading: Kant, de Man, Eliot, Trollope, James, and Benjamin. New York: Columbia UP, 1987.Google Scholar
  10. —. Fiction and Repetition: Seven English Novels. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1982.Google Scholar
  11. —. Hawthorne and History, Defacing it. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991. Contains a bibliography of Miller’s work from 1955–1990.Google Scholar
  12. —. “Stevens’ Rock and Criticism as Cure.” Georgia Review 30 (1976): 5–31, 330–48.Google Scholar
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Deconstructionist Approaches to Swift and Gulliver’s Travels

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Other Work Referred to in “What Is Deconstruction?”

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Works Cited

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  9. Kelly, Ann Cline. Swift and the English Language. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1988.Google Scholar
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  12. Lévi-Strauss, Claude. Tristes Tropiques. Trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman. New York: Antheneum, 1974.Google Scholar
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  14. Pollak, Ellen. The Poetics of Sexual Myth: Gender and Ldeology in the Verse of Swift and Pope. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985.Google Scholar
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  16. Swift, Jonathan. A Proposal for Correcting the English Tongue. Ed. Herbert Davis, et al. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939–68. Vol. 4 of The Prose Works. 14 vols.Google Scholar
  17. —. The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift. Ed. Herbert Davis, et al. 14 vols. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939–68.Google Scholar
  18. Wyrick, Deborah Baker. Jonathan Swift and the Vested Word. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1988.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Swift

There are no affiliations available

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