Important, read the author’s notes first
The author sets out on another voyage and is shipwrecked on the island of Masiplacti. The author giveth an account of Masiplacti and the Masiplactians.
I remained with my family, until on the 28th of April 1710, Captain Septimus Girwood invited me to serve as surgeon on the Intrepid. We set sail on the 30th of April and I will not trouble the reader of the uninteresting details of the voyage, sufficed to say that I was cast from the Intrepid in a storm. I recollected waking up later on a six metre long bed, I observed a woman who was of a similar build to myself, yet her face was different with her eyes being the colour of gold and having an intense shine to them. She informed me that I was on the island of Masiplacti, in their capital city of Fropit and that she was of two and twenty years and named Cepne.
Cepne guides the author around the financial heart of Masiplacti.
Cepne tooketh me around Fropit and explained that she was a nurse assigned to look after me by the ruling class of Masiplacti, the Nuigea, and Cepne explained that Masiplacti had been founded on the rules of making profit. Cepne then guided me to Brick Lane, which was where the Masiplactian Exchange lieth, here I witnessed many Masiplactians writing notes at great speed, checking them against chalk tablets that had numbers and either a plus or a negative sign attached to them, as well as chalkboards of twenty metres in length and ten feet in height, before running to give them to riders who departed in great haste. The scene was of such noise and chaos so beyond any measurable scale that I found it difficult to comprehend and relate to the reader. Cepne explained to me that the Nuigea used the Masiplactian Exchange to trade in high value items, with weapons having the highest value; Cepne further explained that the Nuigea were the directors of the Lubble Company who owned the trading rights within the Masiplactian Sea, which thus attracted investors from neighbouring lands to buy as many shares as possible in the Lubble Company, that led to the decoupling of stock prices.
An account of the Director of Masiplacti
Upon Cepne guiding me around the great Masiplactian exchange, she tooketh me to the Houses of Negotiation, where the Nuigea engaged in the grandest and most fanciful of trades, Cepne introduced me to Director Rownc who had eyes shinier than any Masiplactian that I had seen, and he said I would act as an advisor and consultant to the Masiplactians, within their forthcoming negotiations with Costeraria. I do not wish to trouble the reader with the particulars of Rownc’s proposal, but sufficed to say the Masiplactians were intending to sell weapons to the Costerarians who wished to destroy their enemies: the Britalli.
The author observes the negotiations between the Masiplactians and the Costerarians.
The full negotiations between the Masiplactians and the Costerarians tooketh close to two hours and I will not bore the reader with the intricacies of the negotiation, so I shall summarise. Firstly, I was alone within the Currency Hall, which was at least sixty feet tall, as Cepne, due to being a woman, was not granted access. The Costerarians requested a positive arsenal from the Nuigea; of which I approximated the cumulative cost and I was abhorred when the Nuigea set a price much higher than I had estimated, the Costerarians attempted to negotiate the price down, but the Nuigea refused to agree; I observed that Director Rownc and the Nuigea had all but intimidated the Costerarians into accepting the offer. This troubled me greatly, as I was uncertain whether I should protest the extortionate price or assist the Nuigea, however, throughout the whole negotiation my opinion was not asked upon once.
An account of the author leaving Masiplacti
After the transactions had ceased, Director Rownc informed me that I was free to leave Masiplacti, as my services were no longer required. When I questioned Cepne about Director Rownc’s sudden dismissal, which both relieved and surprised me, she explained that the Nuigea are so proud of their skills at negotiation, that they like to exhibit these tactics to outsiders and once they have done, the outsiders no longer serve a purpose to them. As Cepne guided me down to the Ports of Fropit, we walked through what Cepne explained were the Penny Markets that the Nuigea had created for the Lower Masiplactians to attend and facilitate, for they were denied access to the Masiplactian Exchange; at the Ports of Fropit, Cepne gave me the money to buy travel, which slightly withered my opinion of the Masiplactians. Of my journey home, there is nothing to report to the reader, except that I returned to my family who were much the same as I left them.
Within ‘A Voyage to Masiplacti,’ I aimed to satirise the growing consumerism of the 18th century, by drawing upon the values, ideals and dangers of modern capitalism. I parodied the South Sea Bubble and the South Sea Company through creating the Masiplactian Lubble Company that dominated trade through the control of the Masiplactian Sea. The notion of this was to embody both modern and eighteenth century capitalist concepts within the island of Masiplacti.
Upon reading ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ I noticed characteristics of Swift’s writing, which I emulated in the pastiche. Firstly, Swift uses a long sentence structure:
he added that his suspicions were much increased by some very absurd speeches I had delivered at first to the sailors and afterwards to himself in the relation to my closet or chest, as well as by my odd looks and behaviour while I was at supper.
Swift also factually tells the reader everything that Gulliver sees, rather than using elaborate description to show the reader: “in our passage from thence to the East-Indies, we were driven by a violent storm.” (GT, p. 12) Instead, of describing the horrors of the storm, Swift simply states that it was violent. Furthermore, Swift writes Gulliver’s observations as quantitative, statistical data: “this body consisted of three thousand foot, and a thousand horse.” (GT, p. 29) I emulated these characteristics by having lengthy, run-on sentences that quantitatively reported facts. I also omitted the development of the secondary characters to correspond with Swift’s characteristic of having superficial, two-dimensional characters.
I drew upon John M. Bullit’s work, who wrote “the satirist must allow himself neither to relax into an uncritical and laughing amusement nor to lose his temper.” I intended to balance both the comedic and the critical attitudes of the satire. Instead of solely using anagrams instead of proper nouns, I chose certain words that directly alluded to Capitalism, such as how ‘Brick Lane’ is paralleled with Wall Street. I felt that by exclusively using anagrams, I would exhaust the effectiveness of the device and undermine the critical nature of the satire, by over-emphasising the humour within it. Similarly, I did not want my narrative to be an angry, nonsensical rant. I felt that if Gulliver expressed his disgust at the Nuigea’s intimidation tactics, the satire’s effect would suffer, as it would devolve into an unintelligent attack on capitalism. I also made use of ‘diminution,’ which Bullit defines as “the use of any “”ugly or homely images”” which are intended to diminish the dignity of an object.” I wanted to undermine the pride that the Nuigea attach to their negotiation-cum-intimidation tactics by having them ostentatiously display these tactics to Gulliver. Bullit further describes Gulliver’s Travels, as the “greatest example […] [of] the works of Juvenal “”tragical satire.”” Its aim is deeply didactic in its almost overwhelming attempt to shock and disgust men out of one vice which Swift believed was still corrigible: pride.” I aimed to resemble the scornful abrasiveness of Juvenalian Satire by having the Nuigea so preoccupied with receiving the highest possible profit for their weapons, that they are uninterested in how the weapons will be used.
The pastiche is aimed towards the higher classes who profited the most from travels abroad, Colin Mooers argues that the growth of agrarian capitalism served to shape the colonial and industrial trade of commerce at the time, of which sourced the income of much of the peerage who were engaged in colonial and industrial enterprises. I paralleled this with the Nuigea being the only social class who have access to the most profitable of transactions: arms dealing. Furthermore, it is only the men who have access to these negotiations. Cepne is denied access to the Currency Hall, because she is a woman.
‘A Voyage to Masiplacti’ explicitly confronts the dangers of capitalism and how the promise of a high profit has lead the Nuigea to become morally blind to how their actions would lead to the destruction of the Britalli. I intended for the Nuigea to foreshadow of what the human race of the 18th century could become, if they let their greed corrupt them. This is comparable to how having an excess of wealth in modern society can lead to spiritual deadness. Lastly, I wanted Gulliver’s misanthropy to amplify, as he realises that through humanity’s pursuit of ever greater riches and wealth, they are consigning themselves to becoming a species dominated by their own decadence, just like the Nuigea.
This is my latest assignment for my university course. For the assignment, we were required to write a pastiche followed by a critical analysis of a text that we’re studying.
The text I chose was Gulliver’s Travels. This text was written in the early 18th century and I have thus tried to replicate this writing style and the writing style of Jonathan Swift. From reading this book, I have noticed that Swift writes in very long sentences, he tells the reader information rather than showing it and he doesn’t flesh out any of the secondary characters. These are characteristics that I have tried to emulate. Furthermore, the pastiche and the critical analysis of it both had to add up to 1650 words, so I was also under a tight word limit for this, as a result of this I had to quite ruthlessly cut out a lot of things I would have rather kept in. Brownie points if you can understand all of the things I’m satirising.
Bullitt, M. John, Jonathan Swift and the Anatomy of Satire: A study of Satiric Technique, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953)
Mooers, Colin, The Making of Bourgeois Europe: Absolutionism, Revolution, and the Rise of Capitalism in England, France and Germany, (London:Verso, 1991)
Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver’s Travels (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1992