Map of Lilliput and Blefuscu appeared in the first part of the 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. The map shows two fictional islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu positioned in the Indian Ocean north-west of Tasmania, which on the map is labelled with its original name [Van] Dimen’s Land.
According to a note on the map, the islands were discovered in 1699. The islands are inhabited by the neighbouring nations of tiny people involved in a continuous war. Swift used the fictional nations to depict the contemporary political situation between England and France in the early 18th century. For added authenticity, he provided detailed description of the islands, the geography, various distances, even exact location (including latitude).
- Article by:
- John Mullan
- Rise of the novel, Politics and religion, Travel, colonialism and slavery, Satire and humour
Jonathan Swift initially did his best to conceal the fact that he was the author of Gulliver's Travels. John Mullan explores how Swift constructed the work to operate as an elaborate game, parodying travel literature, pretending to be an autobiography and containing obviously false facts presented by a deeply unreliable narrator.
- Article by:
- Tom Harper
- Movement, Popular culture, War
The British Library’s map curator, Tom Harper discusses the existence of fantasy maps created in the 20th century, containing a mixture of real-life and imaginary influences.