Rudolf Erich Raspe: Gulliver revived, London 1788 (R5)

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SOME notice of the extraordinary success of this little volume, and the various improvements it has undergone, will not, we hope, be thought unnecessary. The first edition contained no more than was written by Baron Munchausen, and includes Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 only; all the other Chapters are the production of another pen, written in the Baron's manner. To the same person the Public is also indebted for the Plates with which the Book is now embellished.

Some of the hints, and a few of the facts, are taken from “Lucianʼs True History,” as he ironically calls it; particularly a short account of such things as were discovered in the Moon. Lucianʼs motives for writing such extraordinary tales were, partly to entertain the reader, after more severe studies, and partly as a satire upon some writers who had related a number of monstrous and incredible stories in their works.

Baron Munchausen is a man of great original humour; and having found that prejudiced minds cannot be reasoned into common sense, and that bold asserters are very apt to bully their audience out of it, he never argues with either of them, but adroitly turns the conversation upon indifferent topics, and then tells a story of his travels, campaigns, and adventures, in a manner peculiar to himself, and well calculated to awaken and put to shame the practice of lying, or, as it is politely called, drawing the Long Bow.

The sudden estimation which this work is grown into (having passed several editions within a few month) is a strong proof that the public have seen its moral tendency in a proper light; it might have been entitled, with great propriety, THE LIARʼS MONITOR: Surely no vice is more contemptible than a habit of abusing the ears of our friends with falsehoods.

The first edition, for want of more matter, was comparatively slow in sale; but the whole of the second, third, and fourth impression were purchased within a few days after they were printed. This fifth edition contains such considerable additions, that it may fairly be considered as anew work.

In the Preface to Gulliverʼs Travels, which is a fine piece of irony, we find the following passage:

“There is an air of truth apparent through the whole of these travels; and, indeed, the author was so distinguished for veracity, that it became a sort of proverb among his neighbours when any one affirmed a thing, it was as true as if Mr. GULLIVER had spoke it.”

The editor of these adventures humbly hopes they will also be received with the same marks of respect, and the exclamation of THATʼS A MUNCHAUSEN, given hereafter to every article of authentic intelligence.

Nov. 22d, 1786.

Hier nach dem in die Fith Edition übernommenen Fassung; R5, S. V-X.


Das Zitat stammt aus: Travels into several Remote Nations of the World. IN Four parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, Swift 1774, S. VI.


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