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Scholarly Article

Pritika Gupta


grotesque, empire, sexuality, identity


Through this essay, I explore the role of bodies in Part I: “A Voyage to Lilliput” and Part II: “A Voyage to Brobdingnag” of Gulliver's Travels. In my reading, I draw connections between the British Empire, Gulliver’s identity, his agency and sexuality, and bodies. This paper also explores how the body is viewed in these parts of the novel under the purview of Mikhail Bakhtin's 'grotesque realism'. Through this study, Gulliver’s relations to the body become extremely complicated; they aid the blurring boundaries between the self and the other, so much so that they begin to assimilate into each other. I argue that the concoction of the grotesque, satire and Gulliver’s experiences results in the development of a multi-dimensional relationship between the Empire and the grotesque body. In Travels, the grotesque is used as a trope to invoke a sense of disgust, which facilitates the satirical function of critiquing the English society, and by extension, the Empire.

About the Author

Pritika Gupta is an undergraduate student at Ashoka University, Haryana, majoring in English. She may be contacted at

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