Today, let’s look at some of Gulliver’s travels through political cartooning. These types of references get trotted out quite frequently, but I’ve only included a few examples here.
As E.H. Gombrich puts it in “The Cartoonist’s Armoury:”
Needless to say, this contrast of scales is another such universally intelligible metaphor, and what can be achieved by its manipulation was demonstrated by one of the greatest satirists who ever lived—Jonathan Swift. He made the world of man [sic] look ridiculous simply by making us see it first from the perspective of Gulliver among the Lilliputians, and then from the perspective of the giant King of Brobdingnag, for whom Gulliver in turn is a ridiculous insect. Gillray made effective use of this episode when he had George III look at the tiny figure of Napoleon and address him in the words of the giant king:
There are lots more on this topic available through the Bridgeman Art Gallery.
And, again from Gombrich:
…David Low shows us the tiny posturing politicians in the hollow of God’s hand. When I think of the date of this cartoon, May 15, 1933, it still sends a shiver down my spine, for the caption reads, ‘Little men, little men, must you be taught another less?’ and the answer, alas, is written in our history books:
The Comics Journal had an interesting feature called the “swipes file” where they showed two comics or cartoons by different creators with very similar formatting. In that spirit, I am offering a series of mash-ups (or possibly swipes) on similar topics from some of my archival research.