Lagado

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Lagado
Laputa map.gif
Location of Lagado in Balnibarbi (original map, Pt III, Gulliver's Travels)
Gulliver's Travels location
Created by Jonathan Swift
Genre Satire
TypeCity
Notable locationsAcademy of Lagado
Notable charactersLord Munodi (former governor)

Lagado is a fictional city from the satirical book of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.

<i>Gullivers Travels</i> novel by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels, or Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, is a prose satire by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and the "travellers' tales" literary subgenre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature. He himself claimed that he wrote Gulliver's Travels "to vex the world rather than divert it".

Jonathan Swift 17th/18th-century Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, and poet

Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

Contents

Location

Lagado is the capital of the nation Balnibarbi, which is ruled by a tyrannical king from a flying island called Laputa. Lagado is on the ground below Laputa, and also has access to Laputa at any given time to proceed in an attack or defense. It is located in the centre of the kingdom, some 150 miles from that land's Pacific coast. [1]

Balnibarbi

Balnibarbi is a fictional land in Jonathan Swift's satirical novel Gulliver's Travels. it was visited by Lemuel Gulliver after he was rescued by the people of the flying island of Laputa.

Laputa fictional island

Laputa is a flying island described in the 1726 book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. It is about 4.5 miles in diameter, with an adamantine base, which its inhabitants can maneuver in any direction using magnetic levitation. It has a cave in the very centre which is precisely there to gather all the rainwater. It is also used by the king to enforce his supremacy.

Description

Gulliver in the academy of Lagado, from a French edition of Gulliver's Travels (1850s) Willmann, Colin, & Outhwaite, Gulliver in the academy of Lagado, cph.3b18908.jpg
Gulliver in the academy of Lagado, from a French edition of Gulliver's Travels (1850s)

Lagado is poverty stricken like the rest of the nation. The king had invested a great fortune on building an Academy of Projectors in Lagado so that it shall contribute to the nation's development through research, but so far the Academy has yielded no result. The author has vividly described bizarre and seemingly pointless experiments conducted there, for example - trying to change human excretion back into food and trying to extract sunbeams out of cucumbers or teaching mathematics to pupils by writing propositions on wafers and consuming it with "cephalick tincture". [2] Gulliver is clearly unimpressed with this academy and offers many suggestions to improve it. [3] The author's ulterior motive on describing this place could possibly have been to point out the senseless side of science in his time. The Academy is home to The Engine, a fictitious device resembling a modern computer.

The Engine Fictional computational machine in Gullivers Travels

The Engine is a fictional device described in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift in 1726. It is possibly the earliest known reference to a device in any way resembling a modern computer. It is a device that generates permutations of word sets. It is found at the Academy of Projectors in Lagado and is described thus by Swift:

“... Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas, by his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, might write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, laws, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study.” He then led me to the frame, about the sides, whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the room. The superfices was composed of several bits of wood, about the bigness of a die, but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires. These bits of wood were covered, on every square, with paper pasted on them; and on these papers were written all the words of their language, in their several moods, tenses, and declensions; but without any order. The professor then desired me “to observe; for he was going to set his engine at work.” The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the edges of the frame; and giving them a sudden turn, the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He then commanded six-and-thirty of the lads, to read the several lines softly, as they appeared upon the frame; and where they found three or four words together that might make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were scribes. This work was repeated three or four times, and at every turn, the engine was so contrived, that the words shifted into new places, as the square bits of wood moved upside down."

A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A "complete" computer including the hardware, the operating system, and peripheral equipment required and used for "full" operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.

Gulliver's guide on Balnibarbi, Lord Munodi, a former governor of Lagado, is a rare case of a practically-minded man in the kingdom who runs his estate well and productively, but is seen as an oddity by other Laputans because he has no ear for music and must endure social ostracism.

Legacy

On Mars's largest moon, Phobos, there is a planitia, Lagado Planitia, which is named after Swift's Lagado because of his 'prediction' of the two then undiscovered Martian moons, which his Laputan astronomers had discovered. [4]

Mars Fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the "Red Planet" because the reddish iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

Natural satellite astronomical body that orbits a planet

A natural satellite or moon is, in the most common usage, an astronomical body that orbits a planet or minor planet.

Phobos (moon) natural satellite of Mars

Phobos is the innermost and larger of the two natural satellites of Mars, the other being Deimos. Both moons were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall.

Notes

  1. Gulliver's Travels (GT), part III, ch 7: Oxford World Classic (OWC) p180
  2. GT pt III, ch5: OWC pp167-174
  3. GT pt III, ch6: OWC p175-179
  4. Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature USGS Astrogeology Research Program, Phobos

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References

See also