A companion to satire : ancient to modern by Ruben Quintero

By Ruben Quintero

This number of twenty-nine unique essays, surveys satire from its emergence in Western literature to the present.

  • Tracks satire from its first appearances within the prophetic books of the outdated testomony throughout the Renaissance and the English culture in satire to Michael Moore’s satirical motion picture Fahrenheit 9/11.
  • Highlights the $64000 impact of the Bible within the literary and cultural improvement of Western satire.
  • Focused more often than not on significant classical and ecu impacts on and works of English satire, but in addition explores the complicated and fertile cultural cross-semination in the culture of literary satire.

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You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous god’’ (Exodus 20: 3–5). This attitude pervades the prophets and explains why no first-phase satire appears there. Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, like other wisdom writings, however, focus very much on such worldly behavior in contexts where bedrock religious attitudes are not an issue. One can be flexibly pragmatic with the world. One cannot be flexibly pragmatic, however, in the face of false gods. Even the narratives of exemplary Israelites, like Daniel or Mordecai in Esther, reinforce this awareness of the noncompromising quality of faith in Yahweh.

In this kind of satire, the satirist or ironist overturns conventional forms with parody. The upside-down formulas embody the thrust of experience over theory like Socrates’ idiotic experiments and theories in Aristophanes’ Clouds, the oldest surviving literary fun that parodying writers have had with theorizing academics and philosophers. The jump between Aristophanes’ Clouds to Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers (1972) is a short jump indeed. Satire, thus, can argue the possibility of a constructive life within admittedly limited conventions or challenge the conventions themselves as unworkable and unreasonable.

No biblical writing speaks more powerfully of the power of shame than the story of Job, who, like his friends, believes that he has been cursed by God, but who, unlike his friends, feels that the curse and shame of misfortune are undeserved. Job’s intense response to what he believes to be unjustifiable misfortune leads to self-imprecation – cursing the day of his birth – that parodies Psalm 8. He nastily calls God the ‘‘man watcher’’ (7: 17), spying on his creatures to find them at fault, ironically reducing God to the role of the overseer or Satan who prompted God to test Job in the first place.

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