Mad Colonial Narrators in Anglo-Irish Literature: Lemuel Gulliver and Freddie Montgomery

Patricia Jones


This discussion highlights parallels between the narrators, Lemuel Gulliver of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and Freddie Montgomery of John Banville’s The Book of Evidence (1989). The argument calls on post-colonialism, Foucaultian theory of “will to truth” and the narrative theory of Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan to emphasize similarities in the rendering of mental degeneration in Gulliver and Montgomery. The colonial-induced mental breakdown of both narrators can be said to unravel, not so much in the tale these narrators think they are relating, but instead between the lines of their stories in narratives which continually focus attention back onto themselves. Despite the 260 years separating these works, the madness of both Gulliver and Montgomery can be interpreted as a reluctance on their respective parts to shed established colonial identities once the colonial stage has receded. 


colonialism, madness, narrative, Swift, Banville, Gulliver, Irish

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