13 Pages


WithJohn T. Gilmore

Inevitably, this book has not been able to survey every work of satire ever produced, and has only been able to give a sketch of some major themes and developments. It is clear, nevertheless, that satire includes much more than traditional definitions which restricted it to work in a specific literary form imposed by a prevailing cultural system, whether that might have been verse in Latin hexameters or English heroic couplets. While the work of satirists who chose to adhere to such traditions has historically been of great importance, we have looked at satires in a wide range of literary styles, including, but not limited to, fables, epigrams, parodies of church hymns, plays, accounts of imaginary voyages, utopias and science fiction narratives. We have also considered proverbs and popular songs, as well as many different aspects of satire in visual form, from cave paintings to newspaper cartoons, television comedy and YouTube clips. The question then arises of whether we are any closer to a definition of satire than we were at the beginning. What, if anything, do these very different forms have in common?