English and drama

The Arts and Literature of Satire

Module code: Q3049
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module takes you through some of the major developments from the birth of literary satire in the works of Horace and Juvenal, to the survival of satire in literature and the visual arts. You will become familiar with some of the basic concepts central to the workings of satire: including parody, burlesque, mimicry, travesty, comedy and humour, and laughter. The module will also maintain a focus upon the interaction of visual and verbal satire. Some of the later seminars are consequently devoted to a consideration of the operations of semiotics, symbolism and visual narrative. The major figures of 18th- and 19th-century literary satire (Dryden, Pope, Swift, Hone, Byron) will consequently be studied alongside the giants of print satire (Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank). The emphasis throughout is interdisciplinary and will enable you to develop basic skills in the areas of aesthetics and cultural history, as well as strategies for discussing the operations of genre and narrative in the context of satire.

Module learning outcomes

  • Explain how texts create or enact their meaning.
  • Display an understanding of the ways in which texts a) are transmitted through literary and cultural institutions and b) are translated between different cultures, linguistic systems and periods.
  • Communicate effectively, in critical and/or creative modes, an understanding of the ways in which texts are re-presented creatively through acts of reading, interpretation and performance.