Clay Jenkinson – Gulliver’s Travels: A Satire Not Just for Children

Nov 29, 2022 | aging, books, culture, Health, politics, seniors, technology

The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associates Interview Series

Welcome to The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associates Interview series on radio and podcast. I’m Paul Vogelzang, and today’s show is part of our Smithsonian Associates Art of Living author historian interview series, and we have an excellent program about history, the optimism of the enlightenment, the role of Houyhnhmn’s, and if you still don’t know, we are talking about ‘Gulliver’s Travels’…you’re going to want to hear this.

Thank you so much for listening. And as the music, we’re listening to Smithsonian Folkways recording of Woody Guthrie, Hard Traveling. As I say, we’ve got a great guest today, who, after reading his new book, I’ve been looking forward to for a while and whom I’ll introduce in just a moment…But, quickly, if you missed any episodes, last week was our 678th episode, and I spoke to NFL legend, a member of the only team in NFL history to be undefeated, and very entertaining guest Larry Csonka.  Two weeks ago had another great conversation with author and Smithsonian Associate Carole Adrienne about her new book, ‘Healing a Divided Nation. Wonderful stuff…If you missed those shows, along with any others, you can go back and check them out with my entire back catalog of shows, all free for you there on our website,…and if you leave a review, we will read it at the end of each show…leave reviews on Apple Podcasts for us.

Smithsonian Associate and popular returning guest Clay Jenkinson will be presenting at Smithsonian Associates coming up, so please check out our show notes for more details. I always enjoy speaking with Clay Jenkinson because I learn so much, and from your emails, to me after Clay appears on the show, you agree!  Clay is funny, too, and I laugh out loud.  Clay is a historian, a lecturer, and a Jeffersonian, in fact, Clay Jenkinson was the main commentator for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary on Thomas Jefferson.  He is a CNN TV personality, and we have Clay Jenkinson today! 

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is often regarded as a children’s book, but only by people who have never read it through. Swift was filled with “savage indignation” at the problems in the human character.

According to our guest today, Clay Jenkinson, Gulliver’s Travels is a work of genius, a witty, enchanting, and unrelenting critique of the optimism of the Enlightenment.

Join me today for a wonderful conversation with humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson as Clay sorts out the meaning of ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ and leads us on a journey into the dark recesses of the severest satirist in the English language.

Please check out the Smithsonian Associates site for more details: