Studies in Satire

English 556, Spring 2013

Jack Lynch

Course Description

Go directly to:


Office: FASN Dean's Office, 325 Hill Hall (take the elevator; you can't get in from the stairwell).

Phone: (973) 353-5213

Hours: By appointment.

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

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

Course Requirements

Schedule of Class Meetings

Wednesday, 23 January
Introduction: Class business, &c.

Wednesday, 30 January
Horace, Satires 1.9, 2.1, 2.2, and 2.6 (or try these translations: 1.9, 2.1, 2.2, and 2.6); Juvenal, Satires 6 and 10 (or try these translations: 6 and 10; Ulrich Knoche, “Satire: A Roman Literary Genre” and “Origin and Name of the Satura.”

Wednesday, 6 February
William Langland, Piers Plowman, the Prologue (in Middle English) and passus I–VII (in translation); John A. Yunck, “Satire” (from A Companion to Piers Plowman).

Wednesday, 13 February
Thomas More, Utopia; Robert C. Elliott, “The Shape of Utopia.”

Wednesday, 20 February
John Dryden, A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (abridged); John Donne, Satyr 4; Alexander Pope, “The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated,” and “The Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Paraphrased”; Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dustin Griffin, “Theories of Satire in Polemical Context.”

Wednesday, 27 February
John Dryden, Mac Flecknoe and Absalom and Achitophel; John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, “Satyr upon Charles II,” “Signor Dildo,” and “Satyr against Reason and Mankind”; Wayne C. Booth, “The Ways of Stable Irony.”

Wednesday, 6 March
Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock and Epistle to Arbuthnot; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “Verses Addressed to the Imitator of Horace”; Howard D. Weinbrot, “Masked Men and Satire and Pope.”

Wednesday, 13 March
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels and “Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift”; Louis I. Bredvold, “The Gloom of the Tory Satirists.” First Paper Due.

Wednesday, 20 March
No Class: Spring Break.

Wednesday, 27 March
Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub, “Cassinus and Peter,” “Strephon and Chloe,” “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed,” and “The Lady's Dressing Room”; Ashley Marshall, “Satire,” from The Oxford Handbook of British Poetry, 1660–1800 (forthcoming).

Wednesday, 3 April
Samuel Johnson, Rasselas; Voltaire, Candide; James F. Woodruff, “Rasselas and the Traditions of ‘Menippean Satire.’”

Wednesday, 10 April
Jane Austen, Emma; David P. Demarest, “Reductio ad Absurdum: Jane Austen's Art of Satiric Qualification.”

Wednesday, 17 April
Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus; Anne K. Mellor, “Carlyle's Sartor Resartus: A Self-Consuming Artifact”; Wayne C. Booth, “Reconstructing the Unconstructable.”

Wednesday, 24 April
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; Everett Carter, “The Meaning of A Connecticut Yankee.”

Wednesday, 1 May
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Theodore D. Kharpertian, “Thomas Pynchon and Postmodern American Satire”; Wayne C. Booth, “Infinite Instabilities.” Final Paper Due.