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Menippean Satire Reconsidered

From Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century

Howard D. Weinbrot

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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…

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.

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Menippean Satire Reconsidered

Howard D. Weinbrot

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Reviews

Reviews

An impressive book.

Weinbrot's prose is clear and sharp and witty.

Weinbrot's impressive dissection of the Menippean branch will likely be viewed as a tour-de-force... among studies of satire.

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.

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

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About

Book Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I. Classical Practices and Early Modern Adaptions
1. From Menippus the Gadaranean to Varro the Roman
2. Petronius, Senecs, and Julian
3. From Lucian the Debunker to

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I. Classical Practices and Early Modern Adaptions
1. From Menippus the Gadaranean to Varro the Roman
2. Petronius, Senecs, and Julian
3. From Lucian the Debunker to Lucian the Blusher: Revolution in the Menippean Dialogues of the Dead
4. Changes: Menippus Redivivus, menippus Idem, Menippus Sensus
Part II. Menippean Satire by Addition
5. The Preeminence of Weeds: Swift's A Tale of a Tub and Its Parts
6. A Tale of a Tub: "Leze-Majetse" and Further Joining
7. Falling into the Pit: The Battle of the Books and the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit
Part III. Menippean Satire by Genre
8. A Tale of Two Cultures: Boileau's Art poetique in France and England
9. Pope's Menippean Essay on Criticism in France and England
Part IV. Menippean Satire by Annotation
10. Pope's Dunciad, Smithfield Royalty, and Subjects of Disputation
11. The Dunciad and Notable Poem
Part V. The Menippean Incursion
12. Clarissa, Elias Brand, and Death by Parentheses
Conclusion: In Which Something Is Summarized and Something about Evil Is Speculated
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Howard D. Weinbrot, Ph.D.

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.