Satire (SCANS Fall 2020)


ZOOM link - Studio (Hope United Church), Tuesday: 10:00 - 11:30 am, Oct. 13 to Nov. 17

Instructor: David McNeil


Phone: 902 441-8087 IM E-Mail:

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 works from antiquity to the present: literary texts, cartoons, songs, sketches, monologues, dialogues. Early Scottish "flyting" (i.e., insulting), eighteenth-century graphic satire, Punch Magazine, standup comedy, and local cartoonists will be just some of the things we'll examine. Folly and vice are traditionally considered to be the targets of satire, and the art of satire is to make fun of them. So the goal of this class is to admire the art and have a lot of laughs. We'll even make fun of ourselves! Seeing so much corruption and idiocy in ancient Rome, Juvenal said that: "It is hard not to write Satire." Many believe the same about our contemporary world (if you think otherwise, just SEARCH "people doing dumb things" on YouTube and see for yourself).


Oct. 13: Introductions (satire as art, forms of, relation to the curse, lethal aspect, and politics)
Link to a mp4 recording of class 1 of 6
Link to Transcript Summary of Q&A

Oct. 20: The Classics (Juvenal, Lucian, Erasmus, Cervantes, Swift)
A Modest Proposal, Ed. Jack Lynch, online version
Link to a mp4 recording of class 2 of 6
Link to Transcript Summary of Q&A

Oct. 27: Graphic Satire 1 (Hogarth, Rowlandson, Gillray)
Wikipedia Entry for William Hogarth, an excellent place to begin exploring his work; click on the links/images for detailed resolutions and information
Excellent website on James Gillray and his work
Thomas Rowlandson: The Art of the Print Catalogue
Academic lecture on Thomas Rowlandson

Nov. 3: Graphic Satire 2 (Punch Magazine, 20th-C, contemp.)

Nov. 10: Satiric Performances 1 (novels, poems, "flyting," songs)

Nov. 17: Satiric Performances 2 (television hosts, stand-up, film)

Electronic Resources

SCANS link to ZOOM Help Guides

SCANS link to Course Materials

Difficile est saturam non scribere.

The comments box has been taken down until I can get it to work!

Updated: October 21, 2020