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BACKGROUND A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. HISTORICAL NOTE  End of 1600s abrupt change in literary style  1660 date of Restoration & end of Oliver.

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Presentation on theme: "BACKGROUND A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. HISTORICAL NOTE  End of 1600s abrupt change in literary style  1660 date of Restoration & end of Oliver."— Presentation transcript:

1 BACKGROUND A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

2 HISTORICAL NOTE  End of 1600s abrupt change in literary style  1660 date of Restoration & end of Oliver Cromwell’s reign  Restoration Charles II (monarchy) – new court French influence  Religion: Catholic Church in decline  No agreement on word of God or accepted moral authority  Social/political basis needed to avert religious strife

3 NEW RATIONALISM  Limit emotional excess  Attention to forms of language  Purification of language to clear, simple style

4 LANGUAGE REFORM  Great age of dictionaries  Purge language of complex metaphors, especially religious  Style move from passionate lyric to more public, restrained, polite forms

5 RISING MIDDLE CLASS  Literate with considerable spending power and leisure  Rising concern with public manners + how people should spend leisure time  Development of magazines and journals  Importance of literature shaping public taste

6  Conservative, Anglican traditionalists  Defended state religion + existing institutions  Liberal, committed to rational reform + dismissing the irrational from religion as much as possible  Improve trade, society, make political system more inclusive TWO POLITICAL GROUPS Tories Whigs

7  Not visibly powerful politically  Radical Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, etc.  Growing appeal with working class DISSENTERS

8 RISE OF SATIRE  Form of literature directly concerned with addressing public issues w/strong didactic intent  Use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, etc., in speech or writing to expose + discourage vice or folly  Particular use of humor for overtly moral purposes

9 WAYS TO CHANGE BEHAVIOR  Force (threats of punishment)  Deliver moral lectures  Engage in conversation to discover roots of beliefs  Encourage everyone to see target as ridiculous + object of scorn

10 BASIS OF SATIRE  Sense of moral outrage must exist in audience as well  Most successful satires focus on lasting characteristics of human experience  Challenge for writer is to be subtle + varied enough keep reader interested in wit while making clear satiric intent  Insensitivity to levels of irony in language causes difficulty in following satire

11 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Invective: abusive, non-lyrical language aimed at particular target  Curses, name-calling  Least inventive  Diatribe = lengthy invective  Limited and can be boring

12 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Caricature: exaggerating one feature of target achieve ridiculous effect  In writing reader amused by distorted detail in constantly witty ways

13 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Burlesque: ridiculous exaggeration in language – makes discrepancy b/w words + situation or character silly  Example: have a king speak like idiot or workman speak like king  Serious situation have characters speak in in appropriate ways  Creates large gap b/w situation/character and style in which they speak or act  Developed into risque performance genre

14 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Mock heroic: form of burlesque – sets up deliberately disproportionate + witty distance b/w elevated language (to describe action) and foolishness of action  Urges reader see ridiculousness of heroic pretentions of really trivial people  mocks classical stereotypes of heroes: Don Quixote, by Cervantes

15 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Irony: real meaning different from literal meaning - tends to be ambiguous - becomes satiric when real meaning appears to contradict surface meaning - “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift

16 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Lampoon: harsh personal attack on recognizable target, focusing on target’s character or appearance  Example: "Nightlight" takes on the "Twilight" series with the story of Belle Goose, a young girl who travels to Switchblade, Oregon, only to meet Edwart Mullen, a vampire computer nerd who isn't into girls.

17 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Parody: ridicule of a style  Less talented version = silly version of original  More skillful = imitates original well + goes farther to make more ridiculous  Depends on reader knowledge of original  Example: Christmas Afternoon, by Robert Benchley (Done in the Manner, If Not the Spirit, of Dickens)

18 KEY SATIRIC TERMS  Reductio ad absurdum: author agrees enthusiastically w/basic attitudes or assumptions he satirizes + by pushing to logically ridiculous extreme, exposes foolishness of original attitudes  can be dangerous when reader fails to recognize satire or target  Example: A Modest Proposal

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