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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 3 Chapter 5

Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 3 Chapter 5

The narrator is permitted to see the grand academy of Lagado. The academy is largely described as an area of the arts wherein the professors employ themselves.

The Royal Academy in Lagado was not an entire single building, but a continuation of several houses on both sides of a street, which were lying vacant and were purchased and applied to that use. Gulliver was received very kindly by the warden and spent many days at the academy, where there were at least 500 Projectors who came up with a variety of visionary, impracticable schemes. Gulliver met a man engaged in a project to extract sunbeams from cucumbers.

He also met a scientist trying to turn excrement back into food. Another was attempting to turn ice into gunpowder and was writing a treatise about the malleability of fire, hoping to have it published. An architect was designing a way to build houses from the roof down and a blind master was teaching his blind apprentices to mix colours for painters according to smell and touch. An agronomist was designing a method of ploughing fields with hogs by first burying food in the ground and then letting the hogs loose to dig it out.

Gulliver complained of colic and his guide led him into a room where a great physician, who was famous for curing that disease, resided. This doctor tried to cure patients by blowing air through them. Gulliver left this doctor trying to revive a dog, that he had killed, by supposedly curing it in this way.

On the other side of the academy there were people engaged in speculative learning. One professor had a class full of boys working from a machine that produced random sets of words. Using this machine, the teacher claimed, anyone could write a book on philosophy or politics. A linguist in another room was attempting to remove all the elements of language except nouns. Such pruning, he claimed, would make language more concise and prolong lives, since every word spoken was detrimental to the human body. Since nouns were only things, furthermore, it would be even easier to carry things and never speak at all. Another professor tried to teach mathematics by having his students eat wafers that had mathematical proofs written on them.