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ISBN-10: 0470657952

ISBN-13: 9780470657959

This choice of twenty-nine unique essays, surveys satire from its emergence in Western literature to the current.
Tracks satire from its first appearances within the prophetic books of the previous testomony during the Renaissance and the English culture in satire to Michael Moore's satirical motion picture "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Highlights the real impression of the Bible within the literary and cultural improvement of Western satire.
Focused in general on significant classical and eu impacts on and works of English satire, but in addition explores the complicated and fertile cultural cross-semination in the culture of literary satire.

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Extra info for A Companion to Satire: Ancient and Modern

Sample text

We see ourselves sexually and scatologically, naked and diseased, insignificant and transitory, without value, without dignity. This satire at its most disturbing is the cattle car stuffed with human beings who must urinate, defecate, and copulate, treated as herded animals for whom, of course, private facilities are hardly provided – Schindler’s List as Nazi satire. Such a context does not disturb a cow; it profoundly disturbs a human being. This is, as Frye observes, critical fantasy at perhaps its most critical and most intense, breaking down all those customary associations we unconsciously assume in order to maintain our dignity as human beings.

The iambographers combine the aggression of Thersites with the status and the coercive abusive strategy of Odysseus. Archilochos’ attacks on a man named Lykambes, and Hipponax’s abuse of Boupalos and Athenis, were famous in antiquity not just for their display of poetic skill, but for their savagery, which allegedly drove the victims to suicide. The extraordinary similarity between these two stories makes them more than a little suspect. But they reflect a superstition that abusive words can have the effect of real violence (a theme in the satiric tradition; Elliott 1960).

If the potato famine in Ireland a century later is any indication, A Modest Proposal must be regarded as a failure. What becomes a common denominator between prophetic satire in particular and its classical and later equivalents is their frequent complaint about the ineffectiveness of their criticism. ’’ Jeremiah frequently complains about the indifference of his listeners, and the Christian gospels are studded with Jesus’s frequent complaints about the refusal of those who have ears to hear. But, aside from a shared perception of historical ineffectiveness, these satires, biblical, classical, and modern, also share a quality of rhetorical effectiveness, by which we may evaluate how well the language has been put together.

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A Companion to Satire: Ancient and Modern


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