English 604: Studies in Satire
Fall 2004; Monday 4:00-6:30
Charles Knight
Office Hours: Monday 3:00-4:00, 6:30-7:00
(and by appointment)

Tentative Syllabus

The material linked to this page is in the process of development and will continue to be updated throughout the course.

My expectation is that everyone will have read Gulliver's Travels, and if you have not read it, you should do so by October 18. Book I and II of Gulliver's Travels (together), and Book III or IV (separately) may be the subject of Report 3.

September 13. Introductions.
        Bibliographical Note
        Note on Reading Irony
        A Satiric List
        Some Satiric Topics

September 20. Aristophanes, Frogs (in Aristophanes, Four Plays. Meridian)
        Aristophanes Bibliography
        Aristophanes and Frogs
     Study Questions

September 27. Horace, Satires, I.i, I.iv, I.vi, I.viii, I.ix, I,x; II.i, II.3, II.v, II.vii (in Horace, Satires and Epistles, trs. Niall Rudd. Penguin); Juvenal, Satires I, III, VI, X (in Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires, trs. Peter Green. Penguin).
        Horace and Juvenal Bibliography
        Chronology of Roman Satirists and History
        Study Questions

October 4. Lucian, "A True Story," "Zeus the Opera Star," "A Voyage to the Underworld," "Charon," "Timon," "Philosophers for Sale," "The Fisherman," "The Death of Peregrinus" (In Selected Satires of Lucian, trs. Lionel Casson. Norton)
        Lucian Bibliography
        Note on Menippean Satire
        Study Questions

October 18. Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel," "MacFlecknoe," "Prologue to Juvenal's Satires";  John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, "On King Charles," "The Imperfect Enjoyment," "Artemisa to Chloe,"  "A Song of a Young Lady. To her Ancient Lover," A Satyr against Mankind," "The Disabled Debauchee," "Upon Nothing" (photocopy).
        Dryden and Rochester Bibliography
        A Restoration Handout
        Study Questions

October 25. Jonathan Swift, "A Tale of a Tub" (in The Major Works, ed. Angus Ross and David Woolley. Penguin).
        A Swift Bibliography
        Notes on "A Tale of a Tub"
        Study Questions

November 1. Swift, "An Argument against Abolishing Christianity," "A Description of the Morning," "A Description of a City Shower," "Cadenus and Vanessa," "The Importance of the Guardian Considered," "The Progress of Beauty," "A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a late Famous General," "Drapier's Letter I," "A Modest Proposal," "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift," "On Poetry. A Rhapsody."
        A Georgian Handout
        Study Questions

November 8. Alexander Pope, "The Rape of the Lock, "An Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot," "The Dunciad, Book IV" (in Selected Poetry, ed. Pat Rogers. Oxford).
        A Pope Bibliography
        Study Questions

November 15. John Gay, The Beggar's Opera, ed. Bryan Loughrey and T. O. Treadwell (Penguin).
        A Gay Bibliography
        Study Questions

November 22. Henry Fielding, Jonathan Wild, ed. Hugh Amory, Claude Rawson, and Linda Bree (Oxford).
        A Fielding Bibliography
        Study Questions

November 29. George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan, Cantos I, VII, VIII, and IX (Stanzas 1-21), ed. T. G Steffan, E. Steffan, and W. W. Pratt (Penguin)
        A Byron Bibliography
        A Second Georgian Handout
        Study Questions

December 6. Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall (Little, Brown).
        A Waugh Bibliography
        Study Questions
        A Waugh Web Page

December 13. Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (Harper Perennial)
        A Pynchon Bibliography
        Pynchon Web Page
        Picture by Remedios Varo
        Study Questions

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Papers and Reports

There will be three papers and three reports; depending on the interests of particular students, the papers may or may not be the same as the reports.

Report and Paper 1. For the September 27 class, half of the students should choose one satire by Horace or Juvenal (which may or may not be a satire read in class) and give a ten-minute report on that satire. The report should provide an overview of the key issues, problems, and interpretive possibilities. For the October 4 class, the other half of the class should choose a satire by Lucian and give a similar ten-minute report. The report should be the basis of the first paper (about five pages), due October 4.

Report 2. At some point in the course, each student should give a ten-minute report on a text discussed in the week the report is given. The report may (like the first) give a general critical overview of issues, problems, and interpretations; it may respond to one or more study questions; it may discuss on or more of the relevant secondary sources listed in the bibliography. (Please note that report 2 may theoretically come after report 3.)

Report 3. Each student should give a ten-minute report on a text not read for this course. It may be on another satire (or group of satires) written by one of the satirists we have read; it may be on one of the satires listed on "A Satiric List." The nature of the report will, of course, depend on the work discussed, but a useful focus might be on what the text adds to our understanding of satire in general or of the satiric purposes and strategies of a particular author. (Unlike Report 2, Report 3 cannot assume that members of the class have read the work.)

Paper 2. Either Report 2 or Report 3 should be the basis for Paper 2, 7-10 pages, due November 8. (Thus it might be prudent but not necessary to give one of the two reports before that date.)

Paper 3. The final paper may be based on whichever report was not used for Paper 2. It may therefore be a critical and scholarly discussion of a text read-or not read-in class. It may compare several satires. It may take up a general topic of satire (for a sample see "Some Satiric Topics"). (It need not be based on a previous report, but may be a new project.)  In any case you must talk with me about the final paper before writing it.  It must include at least three but preferable five or more secondary sources. It should use the MLA format for notes and citations. It should be 12-20 pages in length, and is due on December 20.  It should be wonderful.


I will schedule at least two conferences with you. The first during the week of October 4, to discuss your first paper and your plans for your second and perhaps third reports, the second in the week of November 8, to discuss your second paper, your third report (if you have not given it already), and your final paper. Please feel free to see me in my office (before and after class), or to make an appointment to meet at any other mutually convenient time.  

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