British satire  

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"I'll prose it here, I'll verse it there,
And picturesque it ev'ry where"

--The Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (1812) by William Combe and Thomas Rowlandson
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 novella by Edwin Abbott Abbott, still popular among mathematics and computer science students, and considered useful reading for people studying topics such as the concept of other dimensions. As a piece of literature, Flatland is respected for its satire on the social hierarchy of Victorian society.
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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 novella by Edwin Abbott Abbott, still popular among mathematics and computer science students, and considered useful reading for people studying topics such as the concept of other dimensions. As a piece of literature, Flatland is respected for its satire on the social hierarchy of Victorian society.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
satire, British caricature

Contents

Swift and Defoe

Jonathan Swift was one of the greatest of Anglo-Irish satirists, and one of the first to practise modern journalistic satire. For instance, his A Modest Proposal suggests that poor Irish parents be encouraged to sell their own children as food. In his book Gulliver's Travels he writes about the flaws in human society in general and English society in particular. Swift creates a moral fiction, a world in which parents do not have their most obvious responsibility, which is to protect their children from harm. Similarly, Defoe presents a world in which freedom of religion is reduced to the freedom to conform. Swift's purpose is of course to attack indifference to the plight of the desperately poor, and Defoe's to advocate freedom of conscience.

Satire in Victorian England

Satire, Victorian England

Novelists such as Charles Dickens often used passages of satiric writing in their treatment of social issues. Several satiric papers competed for the public's attention in the Victorian era and Edwardian period, such as Punch and Fun.

Perhaps the most enduring examples of Victorian satire, however, are to be found in the Savoy Operas of W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan. In fact, in The Yeomen of the Guard, a jester is given lines that paint a very neat picture of the method and purpose of the satirist, and might almost be taken as a statement of Gilbert's own intent:

"I can set a braggart quailing with a quip,
The upstart I can wither with a whim;
He may wear a merry laugh upon his lip,
But his laughter has an echo that is grim!"

Examples

Disrespect to members of the establishment and authority, typified by:


Bibliography

  1. English Satire and Satirists by Hugh Walker; 1925
  2. English satire by James Sutherland - 1962 -

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "British satire" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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