Anatomy of Satire

Anatomy of Satire

Copyright Date: 1962
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Anatomy of Satire
    Book Description:

    Literary satire assumes three main forms: monologue, parody, and narrative (some fictional, some dramatic). This book by Gilbert Highet is a study of these forms, their meaning, their variation, their powers. Its scope is the range of satirical literature-from ancient Greece to modern America, from Aristophanes to Ionesco, from the parodists of Homer to the parodists of Eisenhower. It shows how satire originated in Greece and Rome, what its initial purposes and methods were, and how it revived in the Renaissance, to continue into our own era.

    Contents: Preface. I. Introduction. II. Diatribe. III. Parody. IV. The Distorting Mirror. V. Conclusion. Notes. Brief Bibliography. Index.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4977-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    G. H.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
    (pp. 3-23)

    Satire is not the greatest type of literature. It cannot, in spite of the ambitious claims of one of its masters, rival tragic drama and epic poetry.¹ Still, it is one of the most original, challenging, and memorable forms. It has been practiced by some energetic minds—Voltaire, Rabelais, Petronius, Swift; by some exquisitely graceful stylists—Pope, Horace, Aristophanes; and occasionally, as a parergon, by some great geniuses—Lucretius, Goethe, Shakespeare. It pictures real men and women, often in lurid colors, but always with unforgettable clarity. It uses the bold and vivid language of its own time, eschewing stale clichés...

  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 24-66)

    Satire as a distinct type of literature with a generic name and a continuous tradition of its own, is usually believed to have started in Rome. The earliest satirist whose work has survived intact for us to read is Horace (65–8 B.C.). He has left us two volumes of verse satire, with ten poems in the first and eight in the second, together with some poetic letters which are not far removed from satire as he conceived it.

    Horace says, however, that in Latin one important satirist came before him.¹ This predecessor’s poems have perished, except for a collection...

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 67-147)

    Parody is one of the most delightful forms of satire, one of the most natural, perhaps the most satisfying, and often the most effective. It springs from the very heart of our sense of comedy, which is the happy perception of incongruity. A little boy and a little girl sitting at the head and foot of the dining-table, gazing gravely at each other, talking with exaggerated seriousness in adult phrases, saying “Hush, dear” to their parents, and wearing, one a false moustache and the other a spangled evening bonnet, are parodying, and thereby satirizing, the solemnity of all grown-ups and...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 148-230)

    We have looked at two of the chief forms that satire assumes: the droll or scornful monologue, which can be disguised in many ways, but is usually the utterance of the satirist in his own person; and the parody, which takes something real and respected and, by using exaggeration and incongruity, converts it into mockery of itself. If we examine the books which are called satirical, we find a third main pattern, which is nowadays the most popular and has always been the most widely appreciated. This is a story. Just as the satirist can preach an unconventional and grotesque...

  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 231-244)

    Last of all, a few fundamental definitions and descriptions.

    1. name The name “satire” comes from the Latin wordsatura, which means primarily “full,” and then comes to mean “a mixture full of different things.” It seems to have been part of the vocabulary of food. We have the recipe of a sort of salad calledsatura; a dish full of mixed first-fruits offered to the gods was calledlanx satura; and Juvenal, no doubt in allusion to this strain of meaning, calls his satires by the name of another mixed food,farrago, a mishmash of grain given to cattle. Other...

    (pp. 245-246)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 247-278)
    (pp. 279-282)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 283-301)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 302-304)