Menippean Satire Reconsidered: From Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century

Overview

Despite the long history of Menippean satire, from antiquity through the early modern era in Europe and up to the present, the genre often has resisted precise definition and has evoked critical controversy. In this magisterial work, Howard D. Weinbrot offers a new and lucid account of this complex literary category. He argues that in the wake of twentieth-century critics, notably Frye and Bakhtin, Menippean satire has been too broadly associated with "philosophic ideas" ...

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Overview

Despite the long history of Menippean satire, from antiquity through the early modern era in Europe and up to the present, the genre often has resisted precise definition and has evoked critical controversy. In this magisterial work, Howard D. Weinbrot offers a new and lucid account of this complex literary category. He argues that in the wake of twentieth-century critics, notably Frye and Bakhtin, Menippean satire has been too broadly associated with "philosophic ideas" expressed in dialogic voices or languages.

He proposes instead a set of more rigorous but still fluid criteria incorporating several key elements: the use of varied historical periods, voices, languages, or genres that challenge a threatening orthodoxy; an outcome either of failure and the satirist's renewed anger or of resistance without counter-orthodoxy; and the use of one or more of several identified rhetorical devices. He then explores in detail how these elements of Menippean satire combine and operate in the literatures of classical Rome and early modern France and England, considering major texts by Varro, Petronius, Lucian, Swift, Boileau, Pope, and Richardson.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

New England Classical Journal - Joel Relihan
An impressive book.
Studies in English Literature - Cynthia Wall
Weinbrot's prose is clear and sharp and witty.
1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries - Kirk Combe
Weinbrot's impressive dissection of the Menippean branch will likely be viewed as a tour-de-force... among studies of satire.
Modern Philology - Timothy Erwin
This admirable study makes for the thoughtful taming of an otherwise intractable form, both in the weight that it brings to bear upon its separate arguments and in the care that it applies to their articulation.
Scriblerian - Christopher Fanning
This book... offers a strong model for determining the canon and demands that future discussions proceed with care.
Eighteenth-Century Life - John J. Burke
Weinbrot... is a proven scholar [and] a genial and generous student of literature, well aware of the intellectual perils involved in working his way through such an argument. He is also breathtakingly learned.
Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer - Robert G. Walker
Professor Weinbrot ranges wide and delves deep in this study.
Studies in English Literature
Weinbrot's prose is clear and sharp and witty.

— Cynthia Wall

New England Classical Journal
An impressive book.

— Joel Relihan

Modern Philology
This admirable study makes for the thoughtful taming of an otherwise intractable form, both in the weight that it brings to bear upon its separate arguments and in the care that it applies to their articulation.

— Timothy Erwin

Eighteenth-Century Life
Weinbrot... is a proven scholar [and] a genial and generous student of literature, well aware of the intellectual perils involved in working his way through such an argument. He is also breathtakingly learned.

— John J. Burke, Jr.

Scriblerian
This book... offers a strong model for determining the canon and demands that future discussions proceed with care.

— Christopher Fanning

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801882104
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard D. Weinbrot is the Ricardo Quintana Professor of English and William Freeman Vilas Research Professor in the College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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