Alberto Lázaro-Lafuente
Universidad de Alcalá, Spain | Published: 31 October, 2020 | Views:
ISSUE 15.2 | Pages: 20-30 | PDF | DOAJ |

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Gulliver’s Travels (1726), by Jonathan Swift, is one of the classics of English literature, a biting satire of English customs and politics in particular and of human foibles in general. While literary scholars have traditionally agreed that, in Part IV of Gulliver’s Travels, Swift uses his elegant anthropomorphic horses and his filthy human-like Yahoos to reflect on society and human nature, some recent studies highlight Swift’s ecocritical concern with animal issues, focusing on how the behaviour of the noble horses challenges the conventional hierarchies of the anthropocentric view of the world and anticipates values that are prominent in today’s society. However, this article aims to show that what has traditionally challenged and disturbed readers, publishers and critics for many years is the presence of the other race of the animal world, the Yahoos. Analysing the reception of Gulliver’s journey to the land of the Houyhnhnms helps understand how Swift’s early ecocritical ideas disturbed publishers and translators, who often rejected or modified the text, particularly those passages in which the filthy human-like Yahoos show their harsh and scatological behaviour.

Gulliver’s Travels (1726), de Jonathan Swift, es un clásico de la literatura inglesa, una mordaz sátira de las costumbres y la política inglesas en particular y de las debilidades humanas en general. Mientras que tradicionalmente se ha considerado que, en la Parte IV de Gulliver’s Travels, Swift utiliza sus elegantes caballos antropomórficos y sus sucios humanoides Yahoos para reflexionar sobre la sociedad y la naturaleza humana, algunos estudios más recientes destacan la preocupación ecocrítica de Swift por temas relacionados con los animales, centrándose en cómo el comportamiento de los nobles caballos cuestiona las jerarquías convencionales de la visión antropocéntrica del mundo y anticipa valores propios de la sociedad actual. Este artículo, sin embargo, pretende mostrar que lo que tradicionalmente ha desafiado y perturbado a los lectores, editores y críticos durante muchos años ha sido la presencia de la otra raza del mundo animal, los Yahoos. El análisis de la recepción del viaje de Gulliver a la tierra de los Houyhnms ayuda a comprender cómo las incipientes ideas ecocríticas de Swift perturbaron a los editores y traductores, quienes a menudo rechazaron o modificaron el texto, en concreto aquellos pasajes en los que los repugnantes Yahoos, con forma humana, muestran un comportamiento escabroso y escatológico.

Jonathan Swift; Gulliver’s Travels; ecocrítica; animales; censura.

Gulliver’s Travels (1726), by Jonathan Swift, is one of the classics of English literature, a biting satire of English customs and politics in particular and of human foibles in general. Divided into four books, the story relates different adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon and sea captain who travels to imaginary lands. Everyone is familiar with the island of Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and the land of giants, who do not understand the customs and behaviours of Gulliver’s country. Less known is the third journey to the flying island of Laputa, full of academics obsessed with their own speculations, and the last book that takes Gulliver to the country of the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent and ethical horses whose rational and social demeanour is better than that of many of his contemporaries. Although many literary scholars have traditionally agreed that in this Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels Swift uses his elegant anthropomorphic horses to reflect on the evils of society and human nature, many have also pointed out the moral ambiguities of this fourth voyage.[i] This biting satire on human arrogance and pretence was soon considered an insult upon mankind or, as John Earl of Orrery put it in 1751, “a misanthropy that is intolerable” (127).[ii] William Makepeace Thackeray also called the moral of this journey to the country of the horses “horrible, shameful, unmanly, blasphemous” (162). However, not all readings of Gulliver’s last journey have been so harsh and negative, and, despite its ambiguities, Swift’s satirical representation of human nature has been generally understood as the culmination of his “lifelong attack on the pride of man”, particularly when unaided by reason (Williams 275).

Some more recent studies move beyond the satirical view of the novel to highlight Swift’s ecocritical concern with animal issues, offering new interesting readings.[iii] Mohammad Shaaban Deyab in “An Ecocritical Reading of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels” (2011) shows the profound implications of Swift’s ideas about animal-human relationships that presage modern “ecological” values. Similarly, James E. Gill and Diana Villanueva Romero present Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels as a “perfect example of teriophilia” (Villanueva 328), that is to say, admiration of animals, since the wise and stoical horses are in all ways superior to human beings and their society provides “an exemplary pattern of conduct”, particularly when humans are separated from nature and live in an artificial environment (Gill 533). In another stimulating and enlightening article, Ann Cline Kelly explores Gulliver’s role as both pet and pet keeper in this Book IV, which challenged the fundamental “oppositions of human to animal and nature to nurture”, where humankind has traditionally appeared in a superior position (323).[iv] Gulliver’s attitude towards the horses and the taxonomical disparities between animals and human beings are also addressed by Sarah Wintle in her article “If Houyhnhnms Were Horses” (1994).[v] These recent readings of Gulliver’s fourth voyage tend to focus on the virtuous and rational horses and how their behaviour challenges the traditional hierarchies in the anthropocentric view of the world, anticipating ideas and values that are prominent in today’s society. However, one could also argue that what has really challenged and disturbed both readers and critics for many years is the presence of the other race of the animal world, the Yahoos.

Like the horses, the Yahoo belongs to the animal kingdom and, from the very beginning of the story, is described as a “strange sort of animal” (Swift, Gulliver’s Travels 213), although very different to the other hoofed mammals. That is why Gulliver’s initial response to this savage race of humanoid creatures is very negative: “Upon the whole, I never beheld, in all my travels, so disagreeable an animal, or one against which I naturally conceived so strong an antipathy” (Swift, Gulliver’s Travels 215). Emphasis on the Yahoos’ barbarity and sexual excesses makes Gulliver and the reader despise them. Nevertheless, more disturbing issues arise when Gulliver and the readers become aware of the similarities between Yahoos and human beings. To confirm this similarity, one of the horses called Gulliver “gentle Yahoo” when leaving their country (Swift, Gulliver’s Travels 266). The fact that Yahoos are quasi-humans, but also quasi-animals, and that human beings have a natural inclination to the evil nature of the Yahoos questions the traditional human/animal split. This is a common concern for ecocritical studies today, but Swift anteceded by many years these contemporary values and beliefs, shocking readers, critics and publishers of the past, who often reacted negatively to the challenging beastliness of the Yahoos and its radical moral implications. A look at the reception of the book helps understand how Swift’s early ecocritical ideas challenged and disturbed publishers and translators, who often rejected or modified the text, particularly those passages in which the filthy human-like Yahoos show their harsh and scatological behaviour. In order to keep this article to a manageable length, the focus will be limited to an analysis of the reception of Gulliver’s fourth journey in Spain and the reactions of Spanish publishers and translators to this Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels, showing how the value of its ecocritical undertones have often been lost.[vi]

It is well known that Gulliver’s Travels has usually been abridged or relegated to the children’s shelf, becoming a classic of children’s literature, which is a form of indirect censorship. The first copy of this type of adaptations, dated 1776, was published in London by Francis Newbery and was entitled The Adventures of Captain Gulliver, in a Voyage to Lilliput and Brobdingnag.[vii] Without the crudeness of Swift’s scatological references or criticism of human nature, the book became a simple adventure story that many juvenile generations have enjoyed, particularly Gulliver’s adventures in the lands of dwarves and giants, since most children’s editions have excluded the last two books. The fact that a race of horses is morally superior to the repulsive humanoid Yahoos, with their lascivious females and unhealthy behaviour, must have been considered too offensive for children. Even when the stories about the noble society of the horses were included, everything that could be harmful to the innocent and immature mind of this type of reader was omitted or toned down.[viii] Spanish publishers and translators followed this trend and the first adaptation of Gulliver’s adventures is a booklet of about 40 pages long entitled Historia del descubrimiento de las tierras de los enanos.[ix] In 1841, we come across another anonymous adaptation published in Madrid entitled El Gulliver de los niños, o aventuras curiosas de aquel célebre viajero, which only covers the first two trips. These are only the first examples of a long list of translations, or rather children’s adaptations, that have been appearing in Spain until today; adaptations that usually exclude the whole Book IV on the trip to the land of horses and the Yahoos.

Leaving aside this kind of marginalisation suffered by children’s and young readers’ adaptations, publishers and translators of adult versions also reacted with discomfort to Swift’s disturbing passages in which the animalistic behaviour of the Yahoos is depicted. There is a particular scene that very well illustrates the problems and challenges this voyage to the country of the Houyhnhnms faced. It is in Chapter VIII and helps to illustrate the female Yahoos’ aberrant sexual behaviour. Gulliver describes how one hot day, when he was bathing in a river, a young libidinous female Yahoo jumped into the water and tried to rape him. It is just the opposite of what one might normally expect; that is to say, a situation in which the male would take the initiative or is expected to do the molesting. Although it is a long quote, it is worth citing the whole passage to be able to compare and analyse the texts of the ensuing translations. I chose to type in bold those phrases which might be more shocking for a traditional reader.

Being one day abroad with my protector the sorrel nag, and the weather exceeding hot, I entreated him to let me bathe in a river that was near. He consented, and I immediately stripped myself stark naked, and went down softly into the stream. It happened that a young female Yahoo, standing behind a bank, saw the whole proceeding, and inflamed by desire, as the nag and I conjectured, came running with all speed, and leaped into the water, within five yards of the place where I bathed. I was never in my life so terribly frightened. The nag was grazing at some distance, not suspecting any harm. She embraced me after a most fulsome manner. I roared as loud as I could, and the nag came galloping towards me, whereupon she quitted her grasp, with the utmost reluctancy, and leaped upon the opposite bank, where she stood gazing and howling all the time I was putting on my clothes.

This was a matter of diversion to my master and his family, as well as of mortification to myself. For now I could no longer deny that I was a real Yahoo in every limb and feature, since the females had a natural propensity to me, as one of their own species. Neither was the hair of this brute of a red colour (which might have been some excuse for an appetite a little irregular), but black as a sloe, and her countenance did not make an appearance altogether so hideous as the rest of her kind; for I think she could not be above eleven years old. (Swift, Gulliver’s Travels 251-52)

If we look at the first complete Spanish translation by Ramón Máximo Spartal, published at the end of the eighteenth century (1793-1800), we find a shorter and softened version of the attempted rape scene. It is important to note that this text was a translation from a French version by the Jesuit Pierre François Guyot-Desfontaines, who had already omitted some passages to avoid offending the good taste of his contemporary reader (Goulding 62). Besides, the Spanish translation had also gone through the filter of the corresponding censor, the senior librarian of the Reales Estudios de San Isidro (Conde Naranjo 102-103).

Solo un fracaso tuve con ellos, y fue que viéndome bañar con motivo del excesivo calor una joven yahousa, se arrojó al agua y me abrazó con toda su fuerza. Yo creí que iba á despedazarme entre sus uñas, y principié a gritar: acudió el brioso alazán, y la yahousa, temerosa de sus amenazas, huyó, siendo lo más particular que, a pesar del furor que la animaba y la rabia que centelleaba en sus ojos, no me hizo el menor arañazo. No me excusó con todo la vergüenza de oír contar en casa la ridícula aventura, y celebrarla mi amo con la familia. No sé si será del caso advertir que esta yahousa tenía el pelo negro, y la piel mucho menos morena que las demás. (138)

Here, Gulliver is not naked, the female Yahoo does not peep from the bank and she is not inflamed by desire. The natural attraction that the female Yahoo feels for Gulliver, being from the same race, is not mentioned either, or the fact that she was just a little eleven-year-old girl. Other five Spanish editions that came out in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth followed the same softened translation, although some with slight insignificant changes.

In the 1920s and 1930s we have two new translations in which we encounter clear-cut cases of self-censorship in which the disturbing Yahoo behaviour completely disappears from the text. One is by Javier Bueno, the translator of Viajes de Gulliver for the publisher Calpe in 1921. On the inner cover we can read that this is the first translation made straight from English, so we would not expect to find the expurgated version of the French text. However, the scene of Gulliver and the young female Yahoo is left out. The same happens with the translation that Ángel Fuentes made for the publisher Molino in 1934. Ironically, before Swift’s text, there is a note entitled “Advertencia de los editores de esta nueva traducción”, which assured that one of the merits of this translation is the “scrupulous fidelity” Swift deserved.[x] These two self-censored versions by Bueno and Fuentes will be reprinted and even used by other publishers throughout the twentieth century.[xi]

These modified versions first appeared before the Spanish Civil War and continued being used during Franco’s regime (1938-1975). Despite the strict censorship system during this period, which used to ban all politically or morally incorrect stories,[xii] it comes as no surprise that the already toned-down versions of Swift’s country of the horses found no problem with the Spanish censors. One of them, after reading Fuentes’s translation published by Molino in 1940 even wrote a compliment on his report, stating that the narration was “entertaining and full of very fine observations”.[xiii] What is indeed surprising is that a complete faithful Spanish translation of Swift’s satire was authorised by Franco’s censors without a scratch in 1943 and, then again, in 1945.[xiv] It was the version that Cipriano de Rivas Cherif[xv] made for the Madrid publisher Aguilar. Here is the transcription of the attempted rape scene. Once more, I chose to type in bold those phrases which might have been shocking for the censor.

Estando un día afuera con mi protector el potro alazán y el tiempo muy caluroso, le pedí que me permitiera bañarme en un río cercano. Consintió, y, desnudándome al punto, me sumergí en la corriente. Y acaeció que una hembra yajú que estaba a la orilla, vio lo que yo había hecho, e inflamada por el deseo, según conjeturas del potro y yo, de prisa y corriendo se metió en el agua a unas cinco yardas del lugar en donde yo me bañaba. Nunca en mi vida he sentido un miedo semejante; el potro pastaba por allí cerca, sin sospechar el peligro que yo corría. Ella me abrazó, y como yo me diera en relinchar tan fuerte como pude y el potro viniera galopando ella abandonó la presa que había hecho en mí y nadó a la orilla opuesta, donde permaneció mirándome y aullando mientras me vestía.

Ello fue materia de diversión para mi amo y su familia, tanto como para mí de mortificación. Ya no podía negar por más tiempo que yo era real y verdaderamente un yajú en punto a mis facciones y miembros, pues que las hembras sentían una natural propensión hacia mí como uno de su propia especie: a más de que aquel animal no tenía el pelo rojo (lo que hubiera excusado un tanto en ella un apetito irregular), sino negro como el ébano, y en conjunto no tenía un aspecto tan repugnante como las demás de su especie, por lo que pensé que no contaría arriba de once años. (334-35)

All the bawdy details were included in this translation, which was reprinted several times during Franco’s regime. Not only did the censors authorise this complete version, but they also pointed out, in a 1968 file, when they were reviewing Aguilar’s fourth edition, that the content of the book was “entertainment for all ages”.[xvi] Why did publishers adapt the text for children then? Why did other translators soften their version?

Softening the Yahoos’ challenging scenes was what Juan González de Luaces indeed did in his translation for Editorial Iberia in 1945, which naturally went through the filter of Franco’s censorship[xvii] and was reprinted several times by Editorial Planeta, Editorial Salvat and Everest in the 1960s and 1970s. In the scene that we are using as a touchstone for our argument, the two long paragraphs were transformed into a very brief comment: “Otra vez, una hembra joven precipitose sobre mí, queriendo abrazarme, y sólo con dificultad logré librarme de ella” (1238). Not so obvious and radical was the toning down performed by Ismael Antich Sariol, translator for the publisher Fama in 1954. In his prologue, he states that this is a book for adults and that, although he understands that those versions for children expurgate passages, particularly those with negative views about human beings, his version “has no suppression” at all (12). However, a look at the text reveals that there are some important omissions:

Había salido con mi acompañante y protector, el potro alazán, y siendo el día muy caluroso, le pedí que me dejase bañar en un río cercano. Consintió el potro y yo me desnudé completamente y entré en el río. De pronto apareció una hembra yahoo que echó a correr hacia mí y se arrojó al agua. Jamás tuve tanto miedo. Mi acompañante pacía a cierta distancia, no sospechando ningún peligro y aquella yahoo se aproximó más y me abrazó impúdicamente. Entonces grité con todas mis fuerzas, a lo cual el alazán acudió a galope y la hembra se apartó muy a disgusto. Este lance divirtió mucho a mi amo y a su familia, y a mí me mortificó en gran manera, porque demostraba que aquella hembra me consideraba como yahoo, lo que patentizaba mi semejanza con aquellos animales. Y por cierto, no era de las de cabello rojo (lo que hubiera hecho posible una apetencia algo irregular, por ser una variedad más libidinosa), sino que lo tenía completamente negro. (284)

Once again, like in the first Spanish version by Spartal, there is no reference to the female Yahoo’s peeping on the bank of the river, her inflamed desire, or her “natural propensity” to Gulliver. Of course, there was no reference to the young age of this girl either. The attempted rape scene was transformed into a physical aggression without much sexual innuendo, apart from a shameless embrace. No wonder this translation was authorised by Franco’s censors. Other new versions of Gulliver’s Travels in Spanish were also authorised in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s because, once more, what the censorship office received were already expurgated translations in which the attempted rape scene was not included. This is the case of the translation by Joaquín Sánchez del Olmo for the publisher Germán Plaza in 1955, a miniature edition of 10.5 cm x 7.5 cm that cuts out not only the format but also the content.[xviii] Similarly, two anonymous translations published by M & S in 1966 (which, in fact, is Spartal’s version) and by Libra in 1971 dispense with the young female Yahoo’s sexual harassment episode.

A special case in the translation history of Gulliver’s Travels into Spanish is the edition of a volume by the publisher Tusquets Editores in 1972. When most editions focused on the adventures of our hero in Lilliput or Brobdingnag, this volume, entitled Viaje al país de los Houyhnhnms, only contains Book IV. It was included in the series “Los Heterodoxos”, directed by the Mexican writer Sergio Pitol, awarded with the Cervantes Prize in 2005, and the translation made by the Puerto Rican essayist Roberto Márquez is complete, without any gap or elision.

Un día, al salir de mi casa con mi protector, el caballo ruano, y al ser el tiempo muy caluroso, le pedí que me permitiera tomar un baño en un río que se encontraba no muy lejos de allí. Él dio su asentimiento e inmediatamente me desnudé, quedando completamente en cueros, y me metí suavemente en la corriente. Ocurrió que una joven hembra yahoo, que estaba en lo alto de un terraplén, vio aquella operación, y se inflamó de deseo, como el jaco y yo conjeturamos más tarde, corrió a toda velocidad y se zambulló en el agua a cinco yardas del lugar donde ya me bañaba. Nunca en mi vida pasé un miedo semejante; el caballo pacía a alguna distancia, sin sospechar peligro alguno. La hembra me abrazó de la manera más repugnante; yo chillé todo lo que me permitieron mis fuerzas, y el caballo vino galopando hacia mí; entonces ella me quitó de encima sus garras con la mayor malagana y saltó al terraplén opuesto desde donde se quedó contemplando y gritando todo el tiempo que tardé en ponerme la ropa.

Esto fue motivo de diversión para mi amo y para su familia, mientras que para mí lo fue de mortificación. Pues desde entonces no pude negar por más tiempo que yo era un verdadero yahoo en cada uno de mis miembros y en toda mi figura, puesto que las hembras se sentían atraídas por mí como por cualquiera de su propia especie. El pelo de aquella hembra no era de color rojo (lo que hubiera podido darme alguna explicación acerca de aquel deseo suyo un tanto irregular), sino negro como una endrina y no tenía un aspecto tan horrible como el del resto de las de su especie, por lo que pienso que no tendría más de once años. (63)

This complete version had no problems with the Spanish censors, who authorised it without hesitation and, what is more, whose report clearly describes Swift’s intention: “El último de los ‘Viajes de Gulliver’ nos lleva al país de los “houyhnhnms” o caballos organizados en sociedad ideal y al de los “yahoos”, especie de antropoides en la máxima degeneración: trama ideal para que el autor fustigue a la sociedad británica y aún al todo género humano por sus vicios y lacras”.[xix]

Another interesting detail in relation to the reception of Gulliver’s Travels in Spain is that a complete Catalan translation of Book IV appeared as early as 1936 under the title Viatge de Gulliver al país dels cavalls. The translator was J. Farrán i Mayoral and it was published in Quaderns Literaris, which was the first publishing experience of José Janés (1913-1959), the well-known publisher who helped introduce many English writers to this country. Here we find another complete version of the text, without any omissions or modifications at the hand of a publisher or translator, which means that the first time this text appeared in Spain without being softened or self-censored was in Catalan.

Un dia em passejava amb el meu protector, el poltre roig, i com fes una calor escesiva, vaig demanar-li que em permetés de banyar-me en un riu que hi havia a la vora. Va consentir-hi, i jo tot seguit vaig despullar-me completament i vaig deixar-me portat amb suavitat per corrent. Va esdevenir-se que una yahú femella, qui s’estava darrera d’un banc de sorra, va veure tota l’escena; i encesa del desig, segons el poltre i jo vam conjecturar, va a venir de pressa coremd banyava. Mai de la meva vida no havia tingut un tan fort espant. El poltre s’estava pasturant a certa distància sense sospitar cap mal. La femella va abraçar-me de la faisó mes bestial; jo vaig cridar tan fort como vaig poder, i el poltre ca venir galopant cap a mi; aleshores ella va deixar la seva presa amb la més gran recança, va a saltar a la vora oposada on va estar-se mirant-me i udolant, mentre jo m’amava posant els vestits.

Aquell episodi va ésser matèria de divertiment per al meu amo i a la seva família, i de mortificació per a mi. Perquè aleshores jo ja no podia negar que era un yahú real, en cada membre i moviment, puix que les femelles sentien una atracció natural envers mi com envers un de llur espècie; ni tan sols tenia aquella bèstia el cabell roig (cosa qui hauria servit d’alguna excusa per a un apetit una mica irregular) sinó negre como un aranyó i el seu capteniment no li donava una aparença tan lletja como la dels altres, perquè em penso que no devia tenir més d’onze anys d’edat. (53-54)

Finally, it was not until the 1980s that complete translations of Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels appeared in Spanish editions, in which the rough passages of quasi-animal Yahoos were nor omitted nor softened. There were four faithful, rigorous versions, with notes and critical apparatus. Two of them are the work of professional translators – Pollux Hernúñez’s in 1982 and Begoña Gárate Ayastuy’s in 1987, another two are by university professors – Pedro Guardia Massó’s in 1984 and Emilio Lorenzo Criado’s in 1988. From then on, adult Spanish readers have been able to enjoy all the richness of Swift’s work, with its challenging images of the Yahoos questioning the traditional hierarchies in ecology.

This brief account of the reception of Gulliver’s Travels in Spain is necessarily limited in scope. Without a doubt, some other details about the Spanish translations of the “Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms” could have been included. However, there is enough evidence to confirm the hypothesis that the representation of the quasi-human quasi-animal Yahoos became a major challenge for publishers, translators and readers. The ethical implications of the Yahoos’ behaviour and their animal appetites did not fit well with their humanoid shape. The way in which Swift contradicted the conventional moral standards and the traditional separation of the human from other animals was not well received until recently, particularly if the text was meant to be in the hands of children or young readers. This Book IV of Swift’s classic has been usually left out of all the children’s collections, which mainly included Gulliver’s adventures in Lilliput or in the land of the giants. A look at the reception of the text for an adult Spanish readership has also shown that publishers and translators have systematically softened the tone of the text or removed those scenes that they thought to be offensive or inappropriate, even in what they presented as complete versions. Sometimes, like in the case of the first translation by Ramón Máximo Spartal, self-censorship was inherited from the previous French version that had been used as a source text; more often it was the translator’s or the publishers’ choice. In this long period full of bowdlerised Gullivers, there were, however, two exceptions in which a clear full view of the corruptions of the Yahoo nature was provided in Spanish: the editions published by Aguilar in 1943 and by Tusquets in 1972. Similarly, speakers of Catalan could read a complete version of Gulliver’s journey to the land of the Houyhnhnms in 1936, the first unexpurgated version of this Book IV ever published in Spain. Fortunately, today informed and interested readers can also enjoy Swift’s animal-centric views and all the ecocritical undertones of his text in different unexpurgated versions.

[i] In 1961, Wayne Booth discussed the different ambiguities and interpretations of this text and explained that they arise from the way we may understand where Swift stands in relation to his character Gulliver (320). Other critics who have discussed the moral ambiguities in the fourth book of Gulliver’s Travels are Williams (276), Holdridge (157) and Kelly (333).

[ii] For a discussion of misanthropy in Gulliver’s Travels, see chapter 12 of Jan & Firdaus (115-18).

[iii] One of the functions of ecocriticism is to “reexamine and reinterpret the depictions of nature in canonical works”, and this includes the depiction of animals in past literature (Love 34).

[iv] Anat Pick, in Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (2011), also questions the traditional split between animals and humans and Sue Ellen Campbell confirms that one of the most important challenges to traditional hierarchies in ecology is “the concept of biocentrism – the conviction that humans are neither better nor worse than other creatures […]” (128).

[v] For other ecocritical discussions of this text, see also Frank Palmeri’s Humans and Other Animals in Eighteenth-century British Culture (2006) and Greg Garrard’s Ecocriticism (2004: 162-64).

[vi] It is worth noting that the whole book was censored when first published in 1726. The London printer Benjamin Motte and his business associate the Reverend Andrew Tooke toned down the political content of several parts and deleted passages deemed offensive. For a good textual history of Gulliver’s Travels, see Michael Treadwell’s essay “Observations on the Printing of Motte’s Eight Edition of Gulliver’s Travels” (1998).

[vii] For children’s adaptations of Swift’s work, see M. Sarah Smedman’s essay, “Like Me, Like Me Not: Gulliver’s Travels as Children’s Book” (1990).

[viii] In “Inescapable Bodies, Disquieting Perceptions: Why Adults Seek to Tame and Harness Swift’s Excremental Satire in Gulliver’s Travels” (2004) Jackie Stallcup examines the changes commonly made to the so-called “excremental satire” so that it is adequate for children’s reading.

[ix] No author, translator or date of edition is mentioned, although it is dated between 1805 and 1844 (López-Mezquita 3).

[x] “Los lectores que comprueben el texto inglés con la traducción que ofrecemos hoy al público, encontrarán en ésta, sin ningún género de duda, un mérito que estamos siempre dispuestos a asegurarles: el de su fidelidad escrupulosa, a que un escritor tan eminente tenía incontestable derecho y que hasta ahora había sido violada por sus más increíbles alteraciones” (20).

[xi] Espasa Calpe will use Bueno’s version during the 1940s. Fuentes’s translation will also be used by the publisher Mateu in 1952 (even though the name that appears as translator is Manuel Rosell Pesant) and in 1985. Orbis (1985, 1986 y 1988) and Verbum (2015) also used Fuentes’s version.

[xii] On censorship in post-war Spain see Abellán (1980), Beneyto (1977) and Cisquella (1977).

[xiii] “La narración es amena y llena de finísimas observaciones”. See File S-173-40, Reference (03)050SIG21/06556. Most files on censorship of this period are found in the “Fondo de Cultura” at the Archivo General de la Administración (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid). I am indebted to the archive staff for their unstinting help and friendly guidance on how to find my way through the complexities of these files. All translations from the Spanish shall be my own unless stated otherwise.

[xiv] See File 7674-43, Reference (03)050SIG21/07293 and File 1464-45, Reference (03)050SIG21/07616.

[xv] Cipriano de Rivas Cherif (1881-1967) was a stage director, playwright, poet, journalist, translator and critic, who was imprisoned at the end of the Spanish Civil War and exiled to Mexico in 1947.

[xvi] “Cuarta edición de los Viajes de Gulliver, en que como en todas hace una exposición de sendos viajes en su [sic] varias partes llenos en su estilo de una gran veracidad, que por su contenido es entretenimiento para todas las edades. Estimamos que su contenido no tiene nada objetable y puede ser ACEPTADO”. See File 10663-68, Reference (03)050SIG21/19460.

[xvii] See File 526-45, Reference (03)050SIG21/07577.

[xviii] See File1687-55, Reference (03)050SIG21/11042.

[xix] See File 490-73, Reference (03)050SIG73/2716.

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| Received: 22-01-2020 | Last Version: 20-08-2020 | Articles, Issue 15.2