Chapter 1It's only been two months at home before Gulliver leaves again... he seems to have a most understanding wife. And this is after he makes a fool of himself at his homecoming from stooping down to hug everyone because of the difference in perspective from his journey to Brobdingnag, land of giants.
Needless to say, he finds the Laputans to be a party to this difficulty and leaves when he can without being rude. Of course, he is still able to learn yet another language in this short time.
Chapter 3This short chapter is heavy on the physical description of the island and how it moves. If you like descriptions heavy in the manner of geometrical concepts and the physics of magnetism, you'll enjoy this. If you;'re not, feel free to skim. This also talks about the kings interesting and ultimately ineffective way of disciplining his people.
Chapter 4Gulliver seems content to leave Laputa and he travels to Balnibarbi and there are more and more examples of his opinion of the uselessness of the pursuit of pure science.
Chapter 5This has got to be my favorite part of Book III; the description of the Grand Academy of Lagado (Gulliver moves to and from so many places, it's hard to keep up with him). Here the ridiculousness of "pure" and "theoretical" science is spotlighted. From the filling of a dog's lower digestive tract with air to relieve cholic (and killing it in the process) to the blind artist endeavoring to paint by identifying the colors by smell, taste, and feel, to the professor who made his students eat the inked parchment with their lessons; this discourse abounds in absurdities. Even more outrageous is when I think that not very much has changed in the last several hundred years.
Chapters 7 and 8While waiting for an opportunity to travel home, Gulliver takes a short trip to Glubdrubdrib. The most notable thing to me is that he enjoys and encourages the Governor's use of necromancy (the art of speaking to the dead). In light of Swift's support of the Christian church, the willingness to call up a vast number of historical figures from the dead is surprising. It makes me think that his faith his superficial--more a dictate of how-to-live values than an internalized belief. Funny now curiosity can overcome scruples.
Chapters 9 and 10Gulliver travels to yet another land to discover the same level of intricacies in a court setting as he's found before--just different behaviors. Now, beyond the Governor's palace and necromantic arts, we find Gulliver in Luggnagg expounding to the locals about the beauty and opportunity of being immortal, many of these individuals reportedly living in that country. He is in for a rude awakening when informed that immortality does not equal youth and vitality--just long life and continuous aging. That uncomfortable thought is still not brought to bear in most current literature.
Chapter 11The end of Book III finds Gulliver sailing to Japan and back to England and his family. Where, after a 5 year 6 month absence he describes his family as "in good health".
I'm interested to see where Book IV carries our intrepid traveler. If you're reading along with me, let's take it easy and give ourselves up to two weeks to finish. Let me know if you are enjoying our journey in the comments below.