Satire is an ancient literary form with roots in Greek and Roman writing, and it remains a vibrant genre today—one that has expanded to include such media as television, film, and YouTube. This course looks at a rich array of satirical examples from ancient times to the present, with the idea that parsing canonical texts such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal and Jane Austen’s biting, novelistic social commentary can help to illuminate and enliven a reading (or viewing) of modern productions such as Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Colbert Report. Our analyses of important classical examples (e.g., Horace, Juvenal) will provide the foundations for later discussions; we will also examine several famous theories of satire, ancient and modern. Course requirements include weekly responses, a midterm paper, and a final paper.
[Course will be structured to fulfill the 18th-century requirement.]