The Art of Satire

English 313, Autumn 1999

Jack Lynch

Course Description

Go directly to:

September -- October -- November -- December

Office: (973) 353-5279x516; 516 Hill Hall.

Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30-11:30, and by appointment (appointments are best).

Home: (609) 750-1263 (before 11 p.m.!).

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

Listserv: (for the whole class).

Course Requirements

English 313 involves the following responsibilities on your part:


Six books -- Utopia, Gulliver's Travels, Candide, Lucky Jim, The Crying of Lot 49, and Planet Doonesbury -- are available from the Rutgers Newark Bookstore in Bradley Hall. The remainder of the readings are available in a photocopy pack from Affordable Copies (68 Halsey St.); many are also on-line.


This class has a mailing list called; all students are required to have an E-mail account by the end of the second week of classes and to participate in the discussions on the list. Although I have the greatest sympathy for those suffering from technological nightmares, don't expect to use computer problems as an excuse for not doing the reading or writing. If you have a computer problem, contact me as soon as possible.

Schedule of Class Meetings

Thursday, 2 Sept.
Introduction: Satire, irony, comedy, parody, lampoon, invective, burlesque, travesty, jeremiad.

The Origins:
Ridentem Dicere Verum

Tuesday, 7 Sept.
Horace, Satires 2.1 and 2.2.
Thursday, 9 Sept.
Juvenal, Satires 3 and 10.

Tuesday, 14 Sept.
Alexander Pope, "The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated," and "The Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Paraphrased."
Thursday, 16 Sept.
John Dryden, Juvenal's "Third Satyr"; Samuel Johnson, London.

Tuesday, 21 Sept.
Dryden, selections from Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire. 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, 23 Sept.
Rochester, "A Satyr on Charles II"; Dryden, Mac Flecknoe.

Tuesday, 28 Sept.
Pope, Epistle to Arbuthnot; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "Verses Addressed to the Imitator of Horace."

The Best of All Possible Worlds?
Social and Political Satire

Thursday, 30 Sept.
Garry Trudeau, Planet Doonesbury.

Tuesday, 5 Oct.
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, part 1.
Thursday, 7 Oct.
Gulliver's Travels, part 3.

Tuesday, 12 Oct.
Swift, A Modest Proposal.
Thursday, 14 Oct.
Voltaire, Candide, chapters 1-16. Exercise: Produce your own "modest proposal" on the topic of your choice in about 500 words.

Tuesday, 19 Oct.
Candide, chapters 17-30.
Thursday, 21 Oct.
Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim, chapters 1-12.

Tuesday, 26 Oct.
Lucky Jim, chapters 13-25.
Thursday, 28 Oct.
The Simpsons, "Homerphobia."

Satirical Worlds:
Utopias and Dystopias

Tuesday, 2 Nov.
Thomas More, Utopia, pp. 1-41.
Thursday, 4 Nov.
Utopia, pp. 41-85.

Tuesday, 9 Nov.
Gulliver's Travels, part 4. Debate: "Resolved, Swift's Houyhnhnmland is a utopia."

Universal Darkness:
Satire as Apocalypse

Thursday, 11 Nov.
Rochester, A Satyr against Mankind; Pope, The Dunciad, book 4.

Tuesday, 16 Nov.
The Dunciad, book 4. E-mail assignment: Send at least three possible theses for your final paper to the class listserv by midnight on Tuesday.
Thursday, 18 Nov.
Byron, A Vision of Judgment. E-mail assignment: Comment on at least three possible theses by other members of the class on the listserv by midnight on Thursday.

Tuesday, 23 Nov.
A Vision of Judgment.
Thursday, 25 Nov.
No class -- Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, 30 Nov.
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49, chapters 1-2.
Thursday, 2 Dec.
The Crying of Lot 49, chapters 3-4.

Tuesday, 7 Dec.
The Crying of Lot 49, chapters 5-6. Final paper due.
Thursday, 9 Dec.