Augustan Satire:
An Annotated Bibliography

Jack Lynch,
22 May 1995

Any claim to comprehensiveness would be laughable. Covered are the most important general accounts of satire in the last half century and some of the most influential treatments of the two most important early eighteenth-century satirists, Pope and Swift, especially since the late sixties.

Reference Works

There is no comprehensive bibliography of eighteenth-century satires, either of primary or secondary sources. Below are some of the most useful stopgap measures.

1. Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, ed. Frederick George Stephens, rev. Dorothy George, 11 vols. in 12. London: British Museum, 1870-1954, rev. 1968.

Stephens edited the first four volumes, comprehending British Museum satirical visual materials from 1320 through 1770. The Victorian scholarship is now thoroughly dated. George's 1968 extension of the catalogue in volumes 5 through 11 covers 1771 through 1832 in an indispensable reference source of later eighteenth-century satirical prints.
2. Richmond P. Bond, "Register of Burlesque Poems." In English Burlesque Poetry 1700-1750. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1932, pp. 235-453.
An annotated bibliography of primary material, arranged chronologically. No index.
3. Eugene P. Kirk, Menippean Satire: An Annotated Catalogue of Texts and Criticism. New York and London: Garland, 1980.
Though the chronological coverage is unfortunate for students of Augustan satire -- "this catalogue attempts to list exhaustively all Menippean satires written before 1660 in the languages of Western Europe, and all the criticism published in those same languages about Menippean satire, up to the present time" (p. ix) -- the thirteenth chapter, "Criticism of Menippean Satire" (pp. 223-84), is useful for its coverage of general sources. The annotations are not thorough but adequate.
4. The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, ed. George Watson and Ian Willison. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1969-77.
Three sections of the second volume cover Augustan satire: II, 8-9, 59, and 317-18.
5. Don L. F. Nilsen, "A Survey of Satire Publications." Studies in Contemporary Satire, 15 (1987), 16-22.
Not thorough, but the most recent systematic survey.

Standard Editions of Major Satirists

6. Samuel Butler, Hudibras, ed. John Wilders. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.

7. The Poetical Works of Charles Churchill, ed. Douglas Grant. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956.

8. The California Edition of the Works of John Dryden, ed. Edward Niles Hooker and H. T. Swedenborg, Jr. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1956-.

9. The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, ed. E. L. McAdam et al. New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 1959-.

10. The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, ed. John Butt et al., 11 vols. in 12. New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 1939-69.

11. The Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus, ed. Charles Kerby-Miller. New York: Russell & Russell, 1950.

12. Jonathan Swift, Poems, ed. Harold Williams. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958.

13. The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis, 14 vols. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-.

14. Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub, ed. A. C. Guthkelch and D. Nichol Smith. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958; 2nd ed., 1973.

Supersedes the volume in the Basil Blackwell edition (item 13).


15. A Satire Anthology, ed. Carolyn Wells. New York: Scribners, 1905.
Wells reveals turn-of-the-century taste: of the three hundred fifty pages of her anthology, only a few are given over to the distasteful Augustans. Swift gets only four pages, Pope six.
16. Poems on Affairs of State: Augustan Satirical Verse, 1660-1714, ed. George deF. Lord et al., 7 vols. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1963-75.
A collection of hundreds of satirical poems, mostly anonymous, between the Restoration of Charles II and the death of Anne. The satires, grouped chronologically by volume and then thematically by topic or event that sparked them, are heavily annotated with references to the historical context, providing a background for the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis, Oates's trial, the 1707 Union, religious toleration, imperial expansion, mercantilism, problems of succession, and so on. Essential reading -- comprehensive and historically informed -- for studies of Augustan political satire.
17. English Poetic Satire: Wyatt to Byron, ed. George S. Rousseau and Neil L. Rudenstine. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972.
A collection of strictly formal verse satires from the Renaissance through the Romantics. Rousseau and Rudenstine prefer fewer long extracts to more brief ones, giving, for instance, over two hundred pages to Don Juan. Contains Mac Flecknoe, Absalom & Achitophel, "Verses on the Death of Dr Swift," "A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General," Rape of the Lock, Epistle to Arbuthnot, London, and The Vanity of Human Wishes.
18. Anthology of Poems on Affairs of State: Augustan Satirical Verse, 1660-1714, ed. George deF. Lord. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1975.
A one-volume anthology of highlights from item 16.
19. An Anthology of Eighteenth-Century Satire: Grub Street, ed. Peter Heaney. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellin Press, 1994.
Heaney takes up the relationship of verse satire and popular culture, particularly in the early eighteenth century.


20. Satire Jahrbuch. Cologne: Satire Verlag, vol. 1 (1978)-.
A German-language annual not easily available in America.
21. Satire Newsletter. Oneonta, N.Y.: State Univ. College, vol. 1 (1964)-vol. 10 (1973).
Though now long-defunct, its ten volumes were devoted strictly to satire during the great age of satire theorists. In spite of an impressive advisory board -- Elliott, Frye, Kernan -- the journal attracted only a few of the major hitters after its first few numbers and soon went into decline. But it remains a useful indicator of the sixties Zeitgeist in satirical scholarship. There is a current bibliography in each semiannual volume, and vol. 7 (1970) includes "SNL Bibliography: 1965-1970," a seven-page annotated bibliography of research in satire.
22. The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats. Philadelphia: Temple Univ., vol. 1 (1968)-.
A collection of brief reviews and short notices on early eighteenth-century British literature, focusing especially on the two literary circles mentioned in the title.
23. Studies in Contemporary Satire. Clarion, Pa.: Clarion State College, vol. 1 (1974)-.
A "creative and critical" annual. The journal attracts few major writers, and in spite of professions of general coverage, overwhelmingly addresses nineteenth- and twentieth-century American writing.
24. Studies in the Literary Imagination. Special Issue: "Modes of Augustan Satire." Vol. 5, no. 2, 1972.
A collection of essays by some major figures: Carnochan, Weinbrot, Spacks, Hunter, Edward Bloom.
25. Swift Studies. M nster: W. Fink, vol. 1 (1986)-.
Not devoted specifically to satire, but much work recent on Swift and his circle appears in its volumes.

Critical Studies -- General or Comparative

26. Louis I. Bredvold, "The Gloom of the Tory Satirists." In Pope and His Contemporaries: Essays Presented to George Sherburn, ed. James L. Clifford and Louis A. Landa. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949, pp. 1-19. Reprinted in Eighteenth-Century English Literature: Modern Essays in Criticism, ed. James L. Clifford. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959.
A now-classic essay on the "gloom" of Swift, Pope, and the other Scriblerians. Bredvold is careful to distinguish this satirical gloom from the misanthropy, melancholy, and even insanity of which the Tory satirists have often been indicted, and he insists that great satire must "hav[e] at its core a moral idealism expressing itself in righteous indignation. The saeva indignatio which Swift suffered from is radically different in quality from a morbid Schadenfreude." The darkness, then, necessarily implies a light, and the darker the gloom of their satires, the more ennobling the (usually classical) ideals against which they measure their contemporaries, particularly in Walpole's administration.
27. Maynard Mack, "The Muse of Satire." Yale Review, 41 (1951), 80-92.
A momentous and hugely influential article. Mack uses Pope's satire to argue that the satirical voice must be distinguished from the poet's -- that the satirist uses dramatic personae. He catalogues three of Pope's personae's voices: in one formulation, "the man of plain living," "the ingénu," and "the public defender"; in another, "the naïf, the vir bonus, and the hero." Though anticipated by Elder Olson, Mack fired the first important salvo in an important battle over the use of the satirical persona. Elliott (item 69) sided with Mack; Ehrenpreis (item 34) led the opposition. The debate was taken up in a special issue of Satire Newsletter, vol. 3 (1966), 88-153, a forum on satirical personae. The debate survived at least into the 1980s with Weinbrot's article in ECS (item 66).
28. Ian Jack, Augustan Satire: Intention and Idiom in English Poetry, 1660-1750. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.
A study especially of satiric subgenres and their corresponding dictions in Butler, Dryden, Pope, and Johnson. Jack's concern is to discover the "kinds" of satiric poetry and their functions; when we learn to read satires according to their proper kinds, he suggests, we recover a great deal of their contemporary meaning and rescue them from accusations of sterility. Contemporary engagement is thereby rescued through formal considerations.
29. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1957.
Two extended passages take up satire in a discussion that became extremely influential on the sixties generation of satire scholars: pp. 223-39 and 309-14. Satire and irony are identified with Frye's "mythos of winter," and the two are distinguished thus: "satire is militant irony." He traces the appearance of satire and irony in his six phases, from mythic through mimetic to ironic. His "Theory of Genres" is almost single-handedly responsible for the resurrection of the favorite term of satire theorists in the twentieth century, "Menippean satire."
30. James Sutherland, English Satire. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1958.
An old-fashioned but informed set of close readings and capsule history. Sutherland distinguishes satire from comedy on the basis of its reformatory urge. He finds an origin in the invective and lampoon of Skelton, then explores verse satire in Dryden, Pope, Johnson, Peter Pindar, Cowper, and Byron; prose satire in Defoe and Swift; novelistic satire in Smollett, Fielding, Austen, Peacock, Dickens, and Meredith; and dramatic satire in Jonson, Fielding, Wycherley, and Shaw. His interest is in the wide variety of form and variety of motive in English satire.
31. Alvin B. Kernan, The Cankered Muse: Satire of the English Renaissance. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1959.
Kernan reads Elizabethan and Jacobean satires as merely one manifestation of a larger principle. Kernan's close readings of Jonson, Marston, Lodge, Shakespeare, and others insist on the importance of satirical personae, and these are more valuable than his theoretical introductions and discussions of satire generally. In those sections he treats satire as a genre rather than a mode, argues that it is dependent on the world beyond the text, and lacks a plot in the traditional sense, being instead statically suspended between the two poles of virtue and vice.
32. Robert C. Elliott, The Power of Satire: Magic, Ritual, Art. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1960.
A hugely influential anthropological study of the origins of satire in primitive societies (especially Greece, Arabia, and Ireland). Elliott suggests literary satire grew out of ancient ritual and magic, noting that satirists were held to have power over life and death in some societies, and considers the role of ridicule in what have been called shame cultures. Though not a study of Augustan satire in particular, Elliott's influence over subsequent theorists of satire is tremendous, and he devotes a large part of one chapter to a reading of Gulliver's Travels.
33. Norman Knox, The Word Irony and Its Context, 1500-1755. Durham, N.C.: Duke Univ. Press, 1961.
Though not centered directly on satire, Knox's extended meditation on early modern irony is useful in many studies of satirical irony.
34. Irvin Ehrenpreis, "Personae." In Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature: Essays in Honor of Alan Dugald McKillop (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963), pp. 25-37.
The first important reaction to Mack's thesis in item 27: Ehrenpreis rejects outright the application of dramatic personae to narrative and lyric. "Through his masterpieces a man defines -- not hides -- himself. By reading them, we are put in touch with him, not with a series of intermediaries" (p. 33). "Unless we treat the material as indicating, however indirectly, what the author believes and is, we do not discover the meaning of the work" (p. 37). Ehrenpreis's argument sparked the roundtable on satiric personae in Satire Newsletter, 3 (1966), 88-153.
35. Alvin B. Kernan, The Plot of Satire. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1965.
The "plot" of the title, by which Kernan means the formal elements of satire generally, grow out of the satirical mode, deriving their energy from "the energies of dullness." Kernan follows Elliott and Frye in their anthropological account of the origins of satire, and likens satire to Manichaeism in its reliance on a positive notion of embodied evil. The book relies less on a thesis than on close readings of satires from Volpone through Evelyn Waugh.
36. Howard D. Weinbrot, "The Pattern of Formal Verse Satire in the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century." PMLA, 80 (1965), 394-401.
An attempt to pin down the essential formal elements of the verse satire as understood in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The contemporary understanding of the "pattern of praise and blame" in the classical models, argues Weinbrot, were filtered through Dryden's "Discourse." Reprinted in item 56.
37. Ronald Paulson, Fictions of Satire. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1967.
A major study, and one of two important related studies on satire and the novel published by Paulson in 1967. Fictions of Satire looks at the formal trappings the satirical mode typically takes on; Paulson traces "the mimetic drift of satire in the eighteenth century away from formal satire ... toward ... a fictional construct, both in the sense that it pretends to be something it is not, and in the sense that it produces stories, plots, and character relationships" (pp. 8-9). Paulson's incisive and informed observations and generalizations serve to show the means by which Augustan satire appropriated fictional forms in the period of the novel's infancy, and though Swift is the center of this book, he points toward the satirical novels of Fielding, Smollett, and Sterne, works that completely incorporate the satirical energy into the fictional form.
38. Ronald Paulson, Satire and the Novel in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1967.
A major study, and a companion to Paulson's Fictions of Satire. Both address the novel and satire; this volume is more concerned with the novel, the other with the satire. Beginning from the premise that the rise of the novel coincides with the decline of satire -- the two modes, he argues, are inimical, and differ over such fundamental questions as whether humans are essentially good -- Paulson resolves to explore their mutual influence, especially in Fielding and Smollett, but with passages on Swift, Sterne, Goldsmith, and even Austen. He takes up the question of "satiric realism," and considers the purposes to which satire put the new-found novelistic techniques. A careful consideration of satire and sentimentality (such as in the chroniques scandaleuses) suggests satire was ultimately absorbed by sentimentalism.
39. Philip Pinkus, "The New Satire in Augustan England." University of Toronto Quarterly, 38 (1969), 136-58.
Augustan satire, argues Pinkus, is different in kind from the classical satura. There are classical influences and analogues aplenty -- "Modern satire seems to combine the detachment of Horace with the indignation and protest of Juvenal. ... It is the Menippean satire of Lucian and Petronius, however, that comes closest to the method and tone of modern satire" (p. 143) -- but the Augustans reworked satura into satire by using "ironic inversion." Pinkus traces its origins from Chaucer and Skelton, finding a turning-point in Butler, though he admits the satura proper survives in such works as London and The Vanity of Human Wishes.
40. W. B. Carnochan, "Satire, Sublimity, and Sentiment: Theory and Practice in Post-Augustan Satire." PMLA, 85 (1970), 260-67.
An account of later eighteenth-century satire, focusing on Anstey, Churchill, Gifford, and Peter Pindar. Carnochan is one of the first to look seriously at the satires from the period after Pope's death, a death often said to coincide with that of satire itself.
41. Satire: Modern Essays in Criticism, ed. Ronald Paulson. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971.
A collection of previously published essays and book chapters that originally appeared between 1912 and 1968. See item 29 (Frye), item 32 (Elliott), item 31 (Kernan), and item 37 (Paulson).
42. Pat Rogers, The Augustan Vision. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1974.
In a broad, energetic, and coherent account of early eighteenth-century British culture, Rogers devotes one chapter to "The Satiric Inheritance" and one each to Swift, Pope, Gay, and Johnson.
43. Howard D. Weinbrot, "History, Horace, and Augustus Caesar: Some Implications for Eighteenth-Century Satire." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 7 (1974), 391-414.
The age's self-definition as Augustan, suggests Weinbrot, is shot through with difficulties and requires qualification: "There existed a substantial and articulate voice that denied the poetic myth of the virtues of Augustus." This essay is a study of the manipulation of these classical models of political grandeur and stability for satiric ends in the major writers of the early eighteenth century. This decline in the Horatian and Augustan ideal, he suggests in closing, may account for the rise of Juvenalian satire in the later eighteenth century. Reprinted in item 56, and a germ of his Augustus Caesar in "Augustan" England.
44. Edward A. and Lillian D. Bloom, Satire's Persuasive Art. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1979.
For the Blooms, satire is a mode rather than a genre, and they hope to untangle some of the complications of this most complicated literary force. Satire is remedial and oratorical, with potential "to effect a gradual moral reawakening, a reaffirmation of positive social and individual values." At its best it is not historically bound; the specific targets of satire are universalized into "the fallen exempla, timelessly fictional agents of human vanities, errors, and perspectives." Satire is therefore not nihilistic, subversive, or misanthropist, but a thoroughly conservative and moralistic form. The focus is largely but not exclusively on the Restoration and eighteenth century.
45. Peter M. Briggs, "Notes toward a Teachable Definition of Satire." Eighteenth-Century Life, vol. 5 no. 3 (Spring 1979), 28-39.
A frankly pedagogical and methodical discussion of teaching satire to undergraduates. The tone is not theoretical but practical, concerned only with what will help students to improve their understanding of specific satires. The entire number of Eighteenth-Century Life comes from an EC/ASECS meeting on teaching from 1977.
46. Thomas Lockwood, Post-Augustan Satire: Charles Churchill and Satirical Poetry, 1750-1800. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 1979.
Lockwood is one of the first to explore seriously the satire between Pope and Byron, with particular attention to Churchill, Cowper, and Peter Pindar. He views his book almost as an "autopsy" of verse satire after its death with Pope, but what interest the book has is its demonstration of the ways in which the Augustan satirists were appropriated in what was until recently considered the "pre-Romantic" period. He acknowledges his debt to one of his few precursors in this area, W. B. Carnochan (item 40). Though Lockwood's book itself has attained only modest regard, he anticipates a number of studies of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century satire in the last few years.
47. Michael Seidel, The Satiric Inheritance: Rabelais to Sterne. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1979.
An important and intriguing study, though sometimes more daring than prudent. Satire -- for Seidel, a mode rather than a genre -- works to convert literary "inheritance" into "the conspiracy of degeneration" (p. xii): that is to say, it is a transgressive and subversive force concerned not with reformation but the annihilation of generic norms. Satire revels in degeneration, in the grotesque, in the monstrous birth, and from them derives an energy inconsistent with traditional and conservative literary forms. Specific readings include Rabelais, Cervantes, Butler, Marvell, Dryden, Swift, Pope, and Sterne.
48. Satire in the Eighteenth Century, ed. J. D. Browning. New York: Garland Publishing, 1983.
A festschrift from colloquia at McMaster University in 1980-81. Contributors include such superstars as Morris Brownell, Ehrenpreis, Paulson, Martin Price, and Seidel. The essays, which vary in quality, address both specific authors and illustrators (Swift, Pope, Fielding, Gillray) and other topics (the country house poem, the sublime, political cartoons). The very general introduction is ill-suited to this collection of very specific studies.
49. Vincent Carretta, The Snarling Muse: Verbal and Visual Political Satire from Pope to Churchill. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.
A detailed historical account of the origins of political satire in the political history of the early eighteenth century, with attention to both visual and verbal materials. Carretta explores the satiric vocabulary and topoi of mid-century satires, shared by both the iconographic and the verbal traditions. Pope is the dominant figure (the book grew out of a dissertation on Pope supervised by Kupersmith), but the scope is larger than Pope's age, extending from 1714 to 1764. The chapters are organized thematically (usually around a single image).
50. Felicity Nussbaum, The Brink of All We Hate: English Satires on Women, 1660-1750. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1984.
An important reading of Augustan satires (mostly verse satires) directed at women. Chapters are devoted to Restoration satire, Butler's Hudibras, Rochester, Swift, Pope, and numerous minor poets. Nussbaum looks for shared conventions and myths these misogynist satirists used to "create a poetic fiction of power and authority" (p. 3) and to construct an ideal woman "who is to establish order in the domestic sphere" (p. 5). Though Nussbaum's feminist reading is an important milestone in studies of satire, it marks not so much a break with as an elaboration of the major theorists of satire such as Elliott, Kernan, and Mack. She works especially with a catalogue of important female myths: "the permissive female or whore, the powerful Amazon, the learned lady, the ideal woman, the angel" (p. 4).
51. Annabel Patterson, Censorship and Interpretation: The Conditions of Writing and Reading in Early Modern England. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1984.
An account of censorship from the Renaissance through 1695, with some attention to the satirist's fear of prosecution for libel.
52. Ellen Pollack, The Poetics of Sexual Myth: Gender and Ideology in the Verse of Swift and Pope. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1985.
Another major feminist reading of the manipulation of misogynist myth in Augustan verse satire, which independently develops many of the arguments stated in Nussbaum (item 50). Pollack's account of the two most important satirists of the early eighteenth century is both sophisticated and challenging: that "Swift was committed in his poems to exploding certain bourgeois sexual myths" -- she elsewhere refers to "the myth of passive womanhood" -- "that Pope's verse insistently worked to justify" (p. 13). Her account explores the ideology inherent in form, and seeks to shake "the conventional identification of Swift and Pope -- in literary, historical, and political terms -- as 'Tory satirists.'" She reads the connection of these satires with the nascent novel.
53. Vincent Carretta, "The Royal Dupe: George III and the Satirists on the Eve of the American Revolution." The Age of Johnson, 1 (1987), 261-305.
A study of both verbal and visual satirical material directed at George III from 1760 to 1770, with attention to the manipulation of George's political image in ways that authorized some of the American revolutionary rhetoric. George, in the satirical representations, becomes a tool of his ministers, especially Bute. The essay was later developed into item 58.
54. Leon Guilhamet, Satire and the Transformation of Genre. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.
Guilhamet argues satire is best understood not as a mode but as a genre, and uses the notion of mimesis to explore satire's appropriation of other genres' formal conventions. The study proceeds systematically through three "simple structures of satire" ("demonstrative," "deliberative," and "judicial"), then turns to the "complex structures of satire" in close readings of the three most important satirists of the early eighteenth century: Dryden (Mac Flecknoe and Absalom & Achitophel), Pope (Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad), and Swift (A Tale of a Tub and Gulliver's Travels). Guilhamet claims to address satire synchronically rather than diachronically, in spite of such historically limited coverage.
55. David Nokes, Raillery and Rage: A Study of Eighteenth Century Satire. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
"The intentions behind this book," says the Preface, "are unashamedly utilitarian," concerned with "the main themes and techniques of eighteenth-century satire, with the hope of assisting modern readers to understand and appreciate the often allusive and ambiguous strategies" of Augustan satire. Nokes addresses his study to undergraduates and the legendary "general reader"; there will be little that strikes experts or even advanced students as new. Still, the coverage is clear and witty, and Nokes's frequent analogues from twentieth-century British popular culture (Private Eye, Spitting Image) make for easy comprehension. The major works (The Rape of the Lock and Gulliver's Travels) intentionally receive less attention than usual in favor of some less well-known works. Insofar as the book has a central focus, it is the "central Augustan principle of literary composition, concordia discors."
56. Howard D. Weinbrot, Eighteenth-Century Satire: Essays on Text and Context from Dryden to Peter Pindar. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988.
A witty, various, and historically grounded collection of essays published between 1965 and 1988, several of them from obscure journals not easily available. Chapters address formal verse satire, classical precedents, satirical personae, Rochester, Dryden, Pope, and Johnson (Swift, though often used as an illustration, is surprisingly unrepresented).
57. Ronald Paulson, Breaking and Remaking: Aesthetic Practice in England, 1700-1820. New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1989.
Not a study of satire proper, but of a technique to which many satirists are drawn: Paulson considers Swift, Pope, and Hogarth in this study of "the aesthetics of iconoclasm." Bakhtin and McKeon are behind Paulson's investigation of the aestheticization of the ugly and the transgressive in works other than the novel; he argues that poets in particular "used certain infra dig materials to revivify high art at a time when it seemed to be languishing" (p. 12).
58. Vincent Carretta, George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1990.
An extended discussion of satirical treatments of George III in both print and visual materials. The core of the book was published several years before as an article in The Age of Johnson (item 53).
59. Frank Palmeri, "The Satiric Footnotes of Swift and Gibbon." The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, 31 (1990), 245-62.
An exploration of the use of scholarly annotation as a satirical tool. Palmeri looks at Swift's travestied apparatus in A Tale of a Tub in the controversy with Wotton and Bentley, though the development here is somewhat cursory. Better is his coverage of Gibbon's worldly, ironic, and often lengthy footnotes.
60. Michael F. Suarez, SJ, "Bibles, Libels, and Bute: The Development of Mock-Biblical Satire in the Eighteenth-Century Political Print." The Age of Johnson, 5 (1992), 341-89.
Biblical analogues, notes Suarez, far outweigh all the classical and Shakespearean allusions put together in eighteenth-century satire. He looks at the manipulation of familiar biblical scenes from history painting into satirical political prints used to attack (with the force of biblical typology behind them) the Bute administration.
61. Dustin Griffin, Satire: A Critical Reintroduction. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994.
An explicit attempt to return to the spirit and scope of the great age of satire criticism, Frye (1957) to Paulson (1967). Griffin argues it is time to re-assess the basis of the sixties critical consensus in the light of theory since 1968. He therefore takes a Bakhtinian approach -- not "a new comprehensive and unified 'theory' [but] a set of critical perspectives" -- suggesting that "Satire is problematic, open-ended, essayistic, ambiguous in its relationship to history, uncertain in its political effect, resistant to formal closure, more inclined to ask questions than to provide answers, and ambivalent about the pleasures it offers" (p. 5). Seven chapters develop this notion of satire, which he treats not as a genre but as a mode, with frequent examples from his satirical canon: Horace, Juvenal, Persius, Lucian, More, Rabelais, Donne, Dryden, Pope, Swift, Blake, and Byron. Its scope is important even if its approach is not especially fresh.
62. Claude Rawson, Satire and Sentiment 1660-1830. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994.
A collection of mostly previously published essays "concerned with the energies of a patrician culture in decline" -- a "patrician culture" which alone constitutes for him the "Augustan." But he argues that even the most Augustan satire "flourished in an atmosphere inhospitable to heroic celebration," and "in all its embattled loyalism to epic originals, is fraught with subtextual anxieties" about the impossibility to live up to the (epic and heroic) ideal that satire necessarily implies. Satires are therefore unable to celebrate the wars essential to epics, and are forced to efface them in an age of war atrocities. Chapters are devoted to Rochester, Oldham, Swift & Pope, Byron & Shelley, Addison, Richardson, Boswell, and Thomas Moore. The somewhat misleading title is taken from the last essay in the volume, previously published as the introduction to the World's Classics edition of Austen's Persuasion.

Critical Studies -- Individual Satirists


63. John M. Aden, Something Like Horace: Studies in the Art and Allusion of Pope's Horatian Satires. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 1962.
A study of Pope's manipulation of his classical model in his Horatian satires ("Arbuthnot," "Epilogue to the Satires," "Murray," Sober Advice, &c.). Aden gives his attention to the Horatian interlocutor (adversarius) and the rare and characteristic prolocutor, examining Pope's use of adversary dialogue borrowed from Horace's sermones. He then turns to the use of politically charged allusion. The last chapter addresses Pope's own general attitude toward satire as reformative, restoring reason to its proper place above the passions.
64. Howard D. Weinbrot, "The Conventions of Classical Satire and the Practice of Pope." Philological Quarterly, 59 (1980), 317-37.
A discussion of imitation and emulation in Pope's use of previous satires, especially Roman, but also French and English. A section on "Pope and the Mingled Muse" demonstrates Pope's synthesis of Horatian, Juvenalian, and Persian models, and shows the vision of Pope as essentially Horatian is inadequate: "Only the full panoply of classical satirists could have begun to satisfy the needs of Pope's emulative imagination and to offer the abundance of literary and moral 'choices' he needed." Reprinted in item 56.
65. Fredric V. Bogel, "Dulness Unbound: Rhetoric and Pope's Dunciad." PMLA, 97 (1982), 844-55.
An award-winning essay, heavily formalist in emphasis. Bogel considers the function of satirical rhetoric not primarily as the reconciliation of opposites -- "But as the World, harmoniously confus'd" -- but the distinction of things apparently (and deceptively) like. Metaphor, he argues, must at once express sameness and difference, and Pope's mission in The Dunciad is to conquer Dulness's collapse of difference into similarity, a profane parody of divine unity. "The Dunciad ... implicitly aims not at annihilating but at binding Dulness, and Pope's object of satire is not Dulness herself but that failure to resist, bind, transfigure, and draw strength from her" (p. 853).
66. Howard D. Weinbrot, "Masked Men and Satire and Pope: Toward a Historical Basis for the Eighteenth-Century Persona." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 16 (1983), 265-89.
A contribution to the debate between the camps of Mack (item 27) and Ehrenpreis (item 34) over the validity of the satirical persona. Weinbrot grounds the largely theoretical debate in actual reception studies and looks at contemporary attitudes toward satire, trying to "suggest some of the ways in which the mask was perceived and used, and some of the perils to which its wearers were subject" (p. 272). He defends the validity of a device from drama by arguing for satire's origin in the theatre. Pope's contemporaries, he argues, knew about masks, though their notions were not so simplistic as Mack's masks that can be assumed at will. "In principle, the persona was acceptable to many eighteenth-century readers; in practice, it bore the emblem caveat scriptor, and was subject to rigorous examination and demands for verisimilitude" (p. 288). Reprinted in Eighteenth-Century Satire (item 56).
67. Julian Ferraro, "The Satirist, the Text and 'The World Beside': Pope's First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated." Translation & Literature, 2 (1993), 37-63.
A more sophisticated reading of Pope's reworking of his Horatian models than Aden gives in item 63.


68. W. B. Carnochan, "Swift's Tale: On Satire, Negation, and the Uses of Irony." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 5 (1971), 122-44.
A witty, speculative, and loosely organized meditation on the Tale of a Tub that centers on a number of unresolvable paradoxes such as "the venerable puzzle of non-existence." Carnochan is of course aware that any attempt to pin down irony ("the indirection that converts criticism to satire") is a doomed enterprise, but his attempt to define satire and its more-than-casual association with irony is enlightening.
69. Robert C. Elliott, "Swift's I." Yale Review, 62 (1973), 372-91.
A contribution to the Mack-Ehrenpreis debate over satiric personae. Elliott trace's Swift's ever-shifting identification with the first-person pronoun, and though he comes down firmly on Mack's side, he finds much to admire in Ehrenpreis's close readings. He finally urges a more sophisticated conception of the satirical persona: "The notorious instability of Swift's personae in their relation to the author makes the relation author-spokesman-reader often painfully confused" (p. 385).
70. Robert C. Elliott, "Swift's Satire: Rules of the Game." ELH, 41 (1974), 413-28.
Rawson's thoughts on character spawned this meditation on the complexities of the satirical persona in A Tale of a Tub: "Swift must express himself through a zany alter ego, say truth by means of a lie, speak sense through a madman's lips. He must manipulate a spokesman whose utterance simultaneously expresses and unwittingly condemns the folly Swift is pursuing. As for the reader, his part in the game is to follow the complex maneuvers as closely as possible."
71. Terry J. Castle, "Why the Houyhnhnms Don't Write: Swift, Satire and the Fear of the Text." Essays in Literature, 7 (1980), 31-44.
Castle begins with an account of the Nambikwara from Lévi-Strauss's Tristes Tropiques, a tribe whose first exposure to writing led them to manipulate the strange and threatening magic power of the text. The Houyhnhnm exemplify a similar Derridean "grammaphobia," a recognition that writing is deeply problematic and unique to the fallen world. A Tale of a Tub "exemplifies guilt: its truth status is compromised by its corrupt physical nature."
72. The Character of Swift's Satire: A Revised Focus, ed. Claude Rawson. Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 1983.
A collection of essays, some previously published, by Ehrenpreis, Quintana, Watt, and others. The quality varies widely. Rawson's title essay is challenging but unfocused, and addresses Swift's concern with a degenerate and degraded humanity, a humanity trapped in desperation at the maculate. Johnson is a frequent figure for comparison. This sort of meditative essay is balanced by several drily factual accounts (a biography by Rawson, a survey of Swift's politics by Lock). Highlights are Pat Rogers's clever and incisive essay on cliché, Ehrenpreis's account of the letters, and Quintana's exploration of the structure of Gulliver. Watt's essay is reprinted from the 1956 Clark Lectures three decades after the fact.
73. Everett Zimmerman, Swift's Narrative Satires: Author and Authority. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1983.
Zimmerman explores Swift's satires in the light of Lockean epistemology, suggesting that satire's role as not an empirical but a prescriptive mode -- "Rather than succumbing to the limits of human understanding, it defines them" -- problematizes the persona question. Frye and Elliott are guiding spirits, but none more so than Paulson, whose accounts of the relationship between satire and the novel informs Zimmerman's account of the use of both old and new narrative forms early in the age of Locke. The authorial stance with respect to genre is explored in accounts of satirical realism (in an age when realism was being born) and satirical allegory (in an age when allegory was dying).
74. Dustin Griffin, "Venting Spleen." Essays in Criticism, 40 (1990), 124-35.
Griffin explores the importance of early modern medical and psychological theory, derived from Blackmore's Treatise of the Spleen and Vapours and Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, in the vulgarity and malice of Swift's Tale of a Tub. Satire receives an almost biological explanation: "Satire (for all its savagery and power) is not a force that produces social and political consequences, but an elaborate civilized means for letting off steam." He argues "not that satire has no political power at all, but that most claims about its revolutionary or subversive power are overstated and misplaced." Its political effects are less direct than most accounts suggest.