This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 6 June 2024, 6pm to 7.15pm
  • Location: In-person only
    CC011, Creative Centre, York St John University (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) is one of the most misunderstood novels in the English literature canon. Though endlessly heralded as a ‘children’s classic’, the novel itself is a staggering work of satirical outrage which condemns humanity as an irredeemable plague of vermin.

The novel is anxious about the devastating impact of humanity on the natural world, the corruptive impacts of commerce and increasingly globalism capitalism and, as is often forgotten, it concludes with a damning indictment of colonialism and empire. 

Adam James Smith of York St John University recently completed work on a new multimedia guide to the novel which will be released on the Audrey Audiobook App during the Festival. Join Adam on a tour through the worlds of Gulliver’s Travels. He’ll explain and unpack the workings of the novel’s satire, and suggest that although Swift’s was pessimistic about human nature, he also repeatedly demonstrated the enriching and transformative power of encounters with difference. 

Audience members are invited to read Gulliver’s Travels ahead of the event and the talk will be followed by a reading group-style discussion. However, it’s not necessary to have read the novel to enjoy this talk.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

About the speaker

Dr Adam James Smith is an Associate Professor of English Literature at York St John University and co-director of the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire. He works on 18th-century print culture, with a particular interest in works of protest, propaganda and satire. He is also co-host of the ongoing podcast Smith & Waugh Talk About Satire.


York St John University

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible