satire in eighteenth-century literature. "in satire, irony is militant." northrup frye

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  • Satirein Eighteenth-Century Literature

  • "In satire, irony is militant."Northrup Frye

  • Definitions

    Satire: from the Latin satura lanx, meaning "medley, dish of colourful fruits."

    "[A] literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institutions of man's devising and attempts through laughter not so much to tear them down as to inspire a remodeling."

    William Thrall, Addison Hibbard, and C. Hugh Holman, eds., A Handbook to Literature. New York: Odyssey Press, 1960. 436.

    A literary mode based on criticism of people and society through ridicule. The satirist aims to reduce the practices attacked by laughing scornfully at them--and being witty enough to allow the reader to laugh, also. Ridicule, irony, exaggeration, and several other techniques are almost always present. The satirist may insert serious statements of value or desired behavior, but most often he relies on an implicit moral code, understood by his audience and paid lip service by them. The satirist's goal is to point out the hypocrisy of his target in the hope that either the target or the audience will return to a real following of the code. ...

    Thus, satire is inescapably moral even when no explicit values are promoted in the work, for the satirist works within the framework of a widely spread value system. Many of the techniques of satire are devices of comparison, to show the similarity or contrast between two things. A list of incongruous items, an oxymoron, metaphors, and so forth are examples.Robert Harris, Virtual Salt

    Anything sharp or severe is called a Satyr. Cockers English Dictionary, 1704.

  • History

  • examples as far back as the second millennium BC but Satire is usually seen as a product of Greco-Roman culture.two main types:

  • Horatiannamed for Horace, Roman satiristTone: critical yet playful and relatively mild, often sympatheticTactics: wit, exaggeration, humour

  • Juvenaliannamed for Juvenal, Roman satiristTone: darker, more pessimistic, sometimes without humourTactics: use of scorn, outrage, sharpness

  • Satire in the Enlightenment

  • Famous practitioners

  • John Dryden, 1631-1700A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (1693)

  • How easie is it to call Rogue and Villain, and that wittily! But how hard to make a Man appear a Fool, a Blockhead, or a Knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms!John Dryden, From 'A Discourse concerning the original and Progress of Satire' (1693)

  • Jonathan Swift, 16671745A Tale of the Tub (pub. 1704), Gullivers Travels (1726), A Modest Proposal (1729), &c

  • Alexander Pope, 16881744The Rape of the Lock (1712), The Dunciad (1728), &c.

  • Satirical print depicting "A--- P--E," for Alexander Pope, depicted as a pope, with papal tiara and atop a stack of Pope's works. The Latin says, "Know thyself," and the verse at the bottom is Pope's own satire on Thersites. From Pope Alexander, an anonymous lampoon written in response to Dunciad in 1729. The print was also sold separately.

  • Voltaire, 16941778Francois-Marie ArouetCandide (1759)

  • Graphic satireCommon topics: politics, manners and mores, fashion

  • James Gillray (1757-1815)

  • Anonymous etching from about 1775. Satire on coiffures

  • La Franoise Londres. The French Lady in London,or the Head Dress for the Year 1771

  • "Les Invisibles en Tte--Tte", a French satire on the poke bonnet (called "invisible" in French), 1810s.

  • "The Matrons in Hanging-Sleeves, or The Enquirer into Nature", an eighteenth-century satire (or "satyr") against sex-education (1802?)