Satire/Notable satires

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More information on Notable satires relevant to Satire.

Literary

Poems - political

Edmund Spenser Mother Hubberds Tale (1591). An allegorical satire on church governance and the court, following the failure of Spenser's hopes for preferment.

Andrew Marvell Last Instructions to a Painter (1667). Satirising recent naval disasters and the court.

John Dryden Absalom and Achitophel . An account of recent history under the guise of Jewish history.

Percy Bysshe Shelley The Mask of Anarchy (1819, published 1832). Savagely attacking the reactionary Tory government.

Lord Byron The Vison of Judgment (1822). This both responded to Robert Southey's attack on Byron in the preface to his A Vision of Judgment, and satirised the actions of George III who had recently died.

Poems - on other writers

Geoffrey Chaucer Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas in the Canterbury Tales. A parody of chivalric verse. The tale is interrupted by the Host who will not put up with any more of the "rhyme doggerel".

Alexander Pope The Dunciad (1728 & 1743). An account of the triumph of Dulness. Pope's main target changed between versions from Lewis Theobald (who had exposed Pope's inadequacy as an editor of Shakespeare) to Colley Cibber.

Byron English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. Byron, responding to the attack on his first volume of verse in the Edinburgh Quarterly, also took the opportunity to lambast contemporary poets whom he disliked.

Poems - on society

Byron Don Juan (1819—1824). This long and incomplete poem, which has been described as a "satirical epic", attacks almost everything and everyone to whom Byron was opposed, in the intervals of telling an improbable tale; but in its later cantos it concentrates on satirising English society at all levels, though mainly the upper class.

Prose - political

Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal (1729). Swift suggests infant cannibalism as a good way of dealing with the problems of poverty and wretchedness in Ireland.

Prose - other writers

Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1605 & 1615). This starts out as a fairly vicious visualisation of the effects of reading romances, and only gradually softens into a more affectionate picture.

Swift The Battle of the Books (1704). An undecided battle between the ancients and the moderns.

Prose - on society

Swift Gulliver's Travels (1726)

Visual arts

Political

James Gillray (1757—1815). Cartoonist frequently reproduced.

On society

William Hogarth (1697—1764). Paintings and engravings, notably The Rake's Progress (series), Marriage à la Mode (series), Gin Lane and Beer Lane.