Travel Writing With a Twist: Jonathan Swift at Auction

On Thursday, 17 June, a Fine Books and Manuscripts sale will take place at Bonhams in New York. Its highlight is a very fine first edition of Jonathan Swift’s biting masterpiece Gulliver’s Travels, bound in calf shortly after publication. The must-read novel of 1726 was an unsparing satirical work that ridiculed its author’s many bêtes noires and dealt a sideswipe at the contemporary fashion for travel writing. Gulliver’s Travels was an overnight success and has never lacked for readers since. A pillar of English literature, its withering dissection of human folly still carries a satirical punch centuries later. The book is estimated at $80,000-120,000.

Bonhams Book specialist Darren Sutherland said: “When Swift published Gulliver’s Travels he declared that his intention was to vex the world rather than to divert it. The novel remains a Gold Standard of satire and anyone who relishes the sight of human absurdity mercilessly laid bare will find much to enjoy. This is an exceptionally fine copy of this extraordinary work, rarely seen in a contemporary binding.”


Other Things You Might Be Interested in:

View the auction catalogue.

Visit Bonhams.

Did you know that the company name “Yahoo” was inspired by Gulliver’s Travels? Learn more about the book in the MoneyMuseum’s archive.

Accompany us on our bibliophile journey into the unknown and learn how we came to discover the secrets of our world in an exhibition by the MoneyMuseum.