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- Tracks satire from its first appearances within the prophetic books of the outdated testomony during the Renaissance and the English culture in satire to Michael Moore’s satirical motion picture Fahrenheit 9/11.
- Highlights the real impact of the Bible within the literary and cultural improvement of Western satire.
- Focused as a rule on significant classical and ecu affects on and works of English satire, but additionally explores the advanced and fertile cultural cross-semination in the culture of literary satire.
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What could the Samaritan woman have meant by calling Jesus a prophet, a designation frequently applied to him by those who heard his message? What I had not realized was that prophets, at least their Hebrew incarnation – or their contemporary embodiments, like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King – rarely, if ever, predict. The future they envision is the likely consequence of present behavior. Conduct and consequence are causally related. Prophets criticize that conduct: they judge, and, in an almost strictly 16 Thomas Jemielity legal sense, they render sentence, God’s sentence, a sentence of built-in, coming disaster for current misbehavior.
Satire, thus, can argue the possibility of a constructive life within admittedly limited conventions or challenge the conventions themselves as unworkable and unreasonable. In Frye, these are the first two phases of satire (with corresponding phases in irony). In challenging whatever conventions are at issue, the satirist, of course, assumes that sensory data provide a reliable basis upon which to challenge conventions: that we can rely on what we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. What if we can’t?
Such satire repeatedly places us in singularly uncomfortable, threatening situations, situations that force us to see ourselves in ways that overturn 28 Thomas Jemielity conventional experiential associations. We see ourselves sexually and scatologically, naked and diseased, insignificant and transitory, without value, without dignity. This satire at its most disturbing is the cattle car stuffed with human beings who must urinate, defecate, and copulate, treated as herded animals for whom, of course, private facilities are hardly provided – Schindler’s List as Nazi satire.
A companion to satire : ancient to modern by Ruben Quintero