Juvenalian and Horatian Satire

Topics: Satire, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal Pages: 3 (1024 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Juvenalian and Horatian Satire

"Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it." Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. The Battle of the Books, Preface (written 1697; published 1704).

Satire is known as the literary style which makes light of a subject, diminishing its importance by placing it in an amusing or scornful light. Unlike comedy, satire attempts to create humor by deriding its topic, as opposed to a topic that evokes laughter in itself. Satires attempt to give us a more humorous look at attitudes, advances, states of affairs, and in some cases ( as in Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal ) the entire human race. The least offensive form of satire is Horatian satire, the style used by Addison and Steele in their essays. A much more abrasive style is Juvenalian satire, as used by Jonathan Swift in the aforementioned essay A Modest Proposal. To better understand satire as a whole, and Horatian and Juvenalian satire in particular, these essays can provide for further comprehension than a simple definition of the style alone. Horatian satire is noted for its more pleasant and amusing nature. Unlike Juvenalian satire, it serves to make us laugh at human folly as opposed to holding our failures up for needling. In Steele's essay The Spectator's Club, a pub gathering is used to point out the quirks of the fictitious Sir Robert de Coverly and his friends. Roger de Coverly is an absolute character. His failure in an amorous pursuit have left him in the past, which is shown through his manner of dress, along with his somewhat dubious honor of justice of the quorum. This position entails such trying duties as explaining Acts to the commoners. Also present is a lawyer who is more versed in "Aristotle and Cognius" than in "Littleton and Coke"(Norton, 2193),...

Bibliography: 1) The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, Volume I;
Copyright 1993 W.W. Norton and Company, pp.2181-2197
2) A Glossary of Literary Terms, M.H. Abrams; Copyright 1993 Holt, Rhinehart and
Winston, Inc., pp. 187-190
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