The Art of Satire

English 313, Spring 2009

Jack Lynch

Course Description

Go directly to:


Office: (973) 353-5204; 516 Hill Hall.

Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 2:30–4:00, and by appointment (appointments are best).

Home: (609) 882-4642 (before 10:00 p.m.!).

E-mail: (the best way to reach me).

Listserv: ArtOfSatire @ (for the whole class).

Course Requirements

Schedule of Class Meetings

Tuesday, 20 January
Introduction: Satire, irony, comedy, parody, lampoon, invective, burlesque, travesty, jeremiad.

The Origins:
Ridentem Dicere Verum

Thursday, 22 January
Horace, Satires 2.1 and 2.2.

Tuesday, 27 January
Juvenal, Satires 3 and 10.
Thursday, 29 January
Alexander Pope, "The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated," and "The Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Paraphrased."

Tuesday, 3 February
John Dryden, selections from Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire.
Thursday, 5 February
Dryden, Juvenal's "Third Satyr."

Tuesday, 10 February
Samuel Johnson, London. Exercise: Produce your own imitation of part of a satire by Horace or Juvenal in about 500 words. Rhyme and meter are optional.

Who Breaks a Butterfly upon a Wheel?:
Lampoon and Invective

Thursday, 12 February
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, "A Satyr on Charles II."

Tuesday, 17 February
Dryden, Mac Flecknoe.
Thursday, 19 February
Pope, Epistle to Arbuthnot; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "Verses Addressed to the Imitator of Horace." Exercise: Break a butterfly on a wheel with a personal lampoon directed at a public figure in about 500 words. Examples: "A Satyr on George II," "Mac Cain."

The Best of All Possible Worlds?
Social and Political Satire

Tuesday, 24 February
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, part 1.
Thursday, 26 February
Gulliver's Travels, part 3.

Tuesday, 3 March
Voltaire, Candide, chapters 1–16.
Thursday, 5 March
Candide, chapters 17–30.

Tuesday, 10 March
Swift, A Modest Proposal.
Thursday, 12 March
Garry Trudeau, Welcome to the Nerd Farm! Exercise: Produce your own "modest proposal" on the topic of your choice in about 500 words.

Tuesday, 17 March
No Class: Spring Break.
Thursday, 19 March
No Class: Spring Break.

Satirical Worlds:
Utopias and Dystopias

Tuesday, 24 March
Thomas More, Utopia, pp. 1–41.
Thursday, 26 March
No Class: I'll be away at a conference.

Tuesday, 31 March
Utopia, pp. 41–85.
Thursday, 2 April
Gulliver's Travels, part 4. Debate: "Resolved, Swift's Houyhnhnmland is a utopia."

Universal Darkness:
Satire as Apocalypse

Tuesday, 7 April
Rochester, A Satyr against Mankind; Pope, The Dunciad, book 4.
Thursday, 9 April
The Dunciad, book 4 (continued).

Tuesday, 14 April
George Gordon, Lord Byron, A Vision of Judgment.
Thursday, 16 April
A Vision of Judgment (continued).

Tuesday, 21 April
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49, chapters 1–2.
Thursday, 23 April
The Crying of Lot 49, chapters 3–4.

Tuesday, 28 April
The Crying of Lot 49, chapters 5–6.
Thursday, 30 April
Conclusion. Final Paper Due.