Then the bay tried me with a second word, much harder to be pronounced; but reducing it to the English orthography, may be spelt thus, HOUYHNHNM
. I did not succeed in this so well as in the former; but after two or three farther trials, I had better fortune; and they both appeared amazed at my capacity.
From the last journey in particular, Gulliver learns the lesson that "English and Houyhnhnm
horses occupy a continuum where variety is not produced primarily by nature but by nurture" (330).
(9) Compare Toby's encyclopedic account of war with Gulliver's similarly taxonomic explanation to his master Houyhnhnm
in Book IV of Gulliver's Travels: "I gave him a description of Cannons, Culverins, Muskets, Carabines, Pistols, Bullets, Powder, Swords, Bayonets, Battles, Sieges, Retreats, Attacks, Undermines, Countermines, Bombardments, Sea-fights, Ships sunk with a Thousand men, twenty Thousand killed on each Side, dying Groans, Limbs flying in the Air, Smoke, Noise, Confusion, Trampling to death under Horses' Feet, Flight, Pursuit, Victory; Fields strewed with Carcases, left for Food to Dogs and Wolves and Birds of Prey; Plundering, Stripping, Ravishing, Burning, and Destroying" (Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels [Oxford U.
we live in language, Swift chooses "houyhnhnm
," for human--
Still deeply in love with the Houyhnhnm
culture and language, the spurned once-again-Englishman resolves to isolate himself from all of mankind, but he is "rescued" by a group of European sailors and carried back to England against his wishes.
Nor is he a promoter of final solutions by genocidal extermination of the kind contemplated by the Houyhnhnm
Assembly, which he nevertheless does not disavow: "The Question to be debated was, Whether the Yahoos should be exterminated from the Face of the Earth" (IV.
The breadth of Landry's reading is certainly impressive, and, as one might expect from an professor of English Literature, she offers rich, nuanced and sensitive re-readings of discursive texts such as Swift's Gulliver's Travels, with its satirizing of the equine obsession of the 1720s, centred on his descriptions of the civilized, rational Houyhnhnm
. Rut she is equally insightful in discussing the then new genre of the equine portrait as exploited by such painters as Sawrey Gilpin, John Wooton or George Stubbs, whose portrait, of Whistlejacket is discussed at some length, though sadly illustrations in the book are quite few.
Man, of course, can never be a Houyhnhnm
, nor was meant to be, but the rational society of Houyhnhnmland nevertheless offers a goal of moral perfection toward which he should strive, even if--or perhaps because--he will never reach its sublime equilibrium.
Stubbs's fondness for the exquisitely sensitive 'horse-and-boy' rubbing down subjects--a Houyhnhnm
counterbalance to the Yahoo aspect of his 'horse-and-lion' theme--is beautifully represented by Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a Trainer, a Stable-Lad, and a Jockey, 1765 (Woolavington Collection).
Even while intent upon rubbing his neck in the dirt of misanthropy, Gulliver reveals the dynamic of intellectual curiosity which the reader cannot but contrast with the static inwardness of Houyhnhnm
Jonathan Swift's extraordinary stories saw Gulliver embark on four fantasticjourneys: to Lilliput and Brobdingnag; Laputa; Glubbdubdrib and Houyhnhnm