English 2230.03 (Winter 2013)


Mona Campbell 1108, TR: 19:05 - 20:25

Electronic Resources

David McNeil
Office: 3193 6135 University (McCain Building)
Office Hours: M 10:30 - 11:30; T 16:00 - 15:00

Phone: 494-3508 E-Mail: dmcneil@dal.ca

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
Jonathan Swift


Swift's satiric definition of satire is one of many mirror-images that surface in discussions of the genre. In this class, we elucidate the dynamics of satiric humour in a wide range of texts from antiquity to the present. Although the readings are organized chronologically, the focus is on enduring forms (e.g., lampoon, high burlesque, character sketch, travesty and parody). The various subgenres of satire (e.g., verse, graphic and "Menippean") will be covered, as will its common targets (e.g., injustice, Quixotism, corruption, stupidity, conflict).

Students will learn the basic difference between Horatian and Juvenalian satire, the elements of Rabelaisian rhetoric and the features of the mock encomium. A continuing project of this class is to compile a description of the Seven Deadly Follies. While the focus is on canonical texts, we will also make reference to contemporary manifestations, such as Rick Mercer's Rants, Bruce McKenna's cartoons, and Frank Magazine.

Students with permanent or temporary disabilities who would like to discuss classroom or exam accommodation are asked to see the instructor as soon as possible.


Class Participation (includes Attendance and WebCt) 10%
Group Presentation 10%
Mid-Term Test (in class) 20%
Research Essay or Creative Project
(Proposal due Feb. 27; Final Draft Mar. 20) 30%
Exam (period, Apr. 10-26)* 30%

*All students must be available to write an exam during this period.

Class Participation:
Students should be prepared to discuss the assigned reading as indicated on the syllabus. All students will be assigned to a group and each group will be responsible for doing one presentation to the class per term. (Presentation topics will be posted.) Other in-class activities and WebCT bulletins will also be considered as part of Class Participation.

Research/Analytical Essays OR Creative Project
Students are required to complete one research/analytical essay or project (creative and collaborative projects are possible). A list of essay topics will be made available by the end of January. Written proposals for possible creative projects (e.g., parodic skits, stand-up routine, cartoons) must be approved by the instructor by February 27. All creative projects must be presented to the class (either live or electronically). The deadline for submission of the essay or project is March 20. Essays or Projects must be given directly to the instructor on the due date. Do not submit essays at the department office or under the instructor's office door. There will be a one-mark penalty (e.g., B to B-) for each class overdue, unless an extension has been approved by the instructor prior to the due date.

Students are warned not to plagiarize (see Dalhousie Webpage on Plagiarism). Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else's work in your own essay or assignment. Self-plagiarism is taking school work for which you have already received academic credit and turning it in again. In both instances, you are cheating by trying to receive credit that you do not deserve. ALL ESSAYS and PROJECTS for Engl. 2230 must be submitted to SafeAssign. Any apparent case of plagiarism is referred directly to the Senate Discipline Committee; the penalties are severe.

For the most part, we will be using e-texts from WWW. Students should be prepared to print hardcopies and perhaps pay for a class packet of readings. Rather than printing an HTML page, students are encouraged to COPY/PASTE into a word-processing document (e.g., Word, WordPerfect), reduce the font, add your own annotations or notes, and ultimately compile your own anthology.

You can access Electronic Resources here or on WebCt--everything you need to read is here. "Ya, Baby!"

This class makes use of WebCT, a software package that assists in the use of the Internet and electronic resources. Our class is located on the Academic server-just go to "Learning Resources" on MyDal.

Syllabus 2006 (check WebCt for Updates)

Jan. 9 - Introduction
- bibliographies and curses

" 16 - Juvenal, Satire III (Juvenalian satire)
- Johnson's Imitation of Juvenal's Satire III
- Horace, Satire 2.7 (Horatian satire)
- Lucian, selected dialogues (satire and the dialogue form)

" 23 - Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale" (including the "Prologue")
- Joseph Hall, Virgidemarium, Book I, Satire III (Excerpt)
- Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel, excerpt, Book I, Chapters 3-4; 25-29

" 30 - Erasmus - The Praise of Folly, excerpts
- Cervantes, Don Quixote "Windmill" episode (Quixotic humor)
- Butler, Hudibras, selection (Hudibrastic verse)

Feb. 6 - Dryden, "MacFlecknoe" (lampoon, mock encomium)
- Rochester, "Satyr Against Reason and Mankind" (theriophily)
- Rochester, "The Imperfect Enjoyment" (sexual dysfunction and satire)
- Behn, "The Disappointment"
- Rochester, "Satire on Charles II" (obscenity and satire, see Freud)

" 13 - Mid-Term Test


" 27 - Swift, "A Modest Proposal" (power of irony
- Pope, "Imitation of Horace, 2.1"
- Montague, "Verses Addressed to the Imitator of Horace"
- Essay/Project Proposal Due

Mar. 6 - Swift, A Tale of a Tub

Mar. 13 - Byron, "Vison of Judgment" (apocalyptical satire)
- Haliburton, Sam Slick
- Twain's "Nude Bathers"
- Leacock, TBA

" 20 - Orwell, Animal Farm

- Essay/Project Final Draft Due

" 27 - Satiric Song (lyrics), Graphic Satire
- Performance Satire (Mercer, This Hour Has 22 Minutes)
- Satiric Magazines

Apr. 3 - Review

" 10-26 EXAM (exact date and location TBA--you must be available to write the examination)

To trace the tradition of satire from its earliest beginnings in western civilization to the present; to gain a better appreciation and understanding of specific satiric texts; to develop skill in written and verbal communication, literary analysis, research and creative expression; to explain why so many great satirists come from Newfoundland; and, finally, to laugh away the general folly and vice of humankind (lest we drown in tears)!

Difficile est saturam non scribere.

A prize to the first person who posts a correct translation of this statement on the "Mail" function of WebCT!

Updated: December 27, 2012