Before the publications of Robert Hollander and Attilio Bettinzoli in the early 1980s, there was little recognition of the surprisingly large debt owed by Boccaccio to Dante hidden in the pages of the Decameron. Boccaccio's knowledge and use of the works of Dante constitute a challenging topic, one that is beginning to receive the attention it deserves.
Among commentators, it had been an unexamined commonplace that the "young" Boccaccio either did not know well or did not understand sufficiently the texts of Dante (even though the "young" Boccaccio is construed as including the thirty-eight-year-old author of the Decameron.) In Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire, Robert Hollander offers a valuable synthesis of new material and some previously published essays, addressing the question of Dante's influence on Boccaccio, particularly concerning the Commedia and the Decameron.
Hollander reveals that Boccaccio's writings are heavy with reminiscences of the Dante text, which he believed to be the greatest "modern" work. It was Boccaccio's belief that Dante was the only writer who had achieved a status similar to that reserved for the greatest writers of antiquity. Most of these essays try to show how carefully Boccaccio reflects the texts of Dante in the Decameron. Some essays also turn to the question of Boccaccio's allied reading of Ovid, especially the amatory work, as part of his strategy to base his work primarily on these two great authorities as he develops his own vernacular and satiric vision of human foolishness.
Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire is a welcome addition to the field of Dante studies and to medieval studies in general.
Robert Hollander is Professor in European Literature and Chair, Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University. He has received the city of Florence's gold medal for work advancing our understanding of Dante.
Abraham Lincoln’s sense of humor proved legendary during his own time and remains a celebrated facet of his personality to this day. Indeed, his love of jokes—hearing them, telling them, drawing morals from them—prompted critics to dub Lincoln “the National Joker.” The political cartoons and print satires that mocked Lincoln often trafficked in precisely the same images and terms Lincoln humorously used to characterize himself. In this intriguing study, Todd Nathan Thompson considers the politically productive tension between Lincoln’s use of satire and the satiric treatments of him in political cartoons, humor periodicals, joke books, and campaign literature. By fashioning a folksy, fallible persona, Thompson shows, Lincoln was able to use satire as a weapon without being severely wounded by it.
In his speeches, writings, and public persona, Lincoln combined modesty and attack, engaging in strategic self-deprecation while denouncing his opponents, their policies, and their arguments, thus refiguring satiric discourse as political discourse and vice versa. At the same time, he astutely deflected his opponents’ criticisms of him by embracing and sometimes preemptively initiating those criticisms. Thompson traces Lincoln’s comic sources and explains how, in reapplying others’ jokes and stories to political circumstances, he transformed humor into satire. Time and time again, Thompson shows, Lincoln engaged in self-mockery, turning negative assumptions or depictions of him—as ugly, cowardly, jocular, inexperienced—into positive traits that identified him as an everyman while attacking his opponents’ claims to greatness, heroism, and experience as aristocratic or demagogic. Thompson also considers how Lincoln took advantage of political cartoons and other media to help proliferate the particular Lincoln image of the “self-made man”; underscores exceptions to Lincoln’s ability to mitigate negative, satiric depictions of him; and closely examines political cartoons from both the 1860 and 1864 elections. Throughout, Thompson’s deft analysis brings to life Lincoln’s popular humor.
In his first book of Satires, written in the late, violent days of the Roman republic, Horace exposes satiric speech as a tool of power and domination. Using critical theories from classics, speech act theory, and others, Catherine Schlegel argues that Horace's acute poetic observation of hostile speech provides insights into the operations of verbal control that are relevant to his time and to ours. She demonstrates that though Horace is forced by his political circumstances to develop a new, unthreatening style of satire, his poems contain a challenge to our most profound habits of violence, hierarchy, and domination. Focusing on the relationships between speaker and audience and between old and new style, Schlegel examines the internal conflicts of a notoriously difficult text. This exciting contribution to the field of Horatian studies will be of interest to classicists as well as other scholars interested in the genre of satire.
Though one of America’s best known and loved novels, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been the object of fierce controversy because of its racist language and reliance on racial stereotypes. This collection of fifteen essays by prominent African American scholars and critics examines the novel’s racist elements and assesses the degree to which Twain’s ironies succeed or fail to turn those elements into a satirical attack on racism. Ranging from the laudatory to the openly hostile, these essays include personal impressions of Huckleberry Finn, descriptions of classroom experience with the book, evaluations of its ironic and allegorical aspects, explorations of its nineteenth-century context, and appraisal of its effects on twentieth-century African American writers. Among the issues the authors contend with are Twain’s pervasive use of the word “nigger,” his portrayal of the slave Jim according to the conventions of the minstrel show “darky,” and the thematic chaos created by the “evasion” depicted in the novel’s final chapters. Sure to provoke thought and stir debate, Satire or Evasion? provides a variety of new perspectives on one of this country’s most troubling classics.
Contributors. Richard K. Barksdale, Bernard W. Bell, Mary Kemp Davis, Peaches M. Henry, Betty Harris Jones, Rhett S. Jones, Julius Lester, Donnarae MacCann, Charles H. Nichols, Charles H. Nilon, Arnold Rampersad, David L. Smith, Carmen Dubryan, John H. Wallace, Kenny Jackson Williams, Fredrick Woodard
*Satire, Veneration, and St. Joseph in Art, c. 1300.1550* is the first book to reclaim satire as a central component of Catholic altarpieces, devotional art, and veneration, moving beyond humor™'s relegation to the medieval margins or to the profane arts alone. The book challenges humor™'s perception as a mere teaching tool for the laity and the antithesis of ™'high™' veneration and theology, a divide perpetuated by Counter-Reformation thought and the inheritance of Mikhail Bakhtin (*Rabelais and His World*, 1965). It reveals how humor, laughter, and material culture played a critical role in establishing St. Joseph as an exemplar in western Europe as early as the thirteenth century. Its goal is to open a new line of interpretation in medieval and early modern cultural studies by revealing the functions of humor in sacred scenes, the role of laughter as veneration, and the importance of play for pre-Reformation religious experiences.
Cartoonists make us laugh—and think—by caricaturing daily events and politics. The essays, interviews, and cartoons presented in this innovative book vividly demonstrate the rich diversity of cartooning across Africa and highlight issues facing its cartoonists today, such as sociopolitical trends, censorship, and use of new technologies. Celebrated African cartoonists including Zapiro of South Africa, Gado of Kenya, and Asukwo of Nigeria join top scholars and a new generation of scholar-cartoonists from the fields of literature, comic studies and fine arts, animation studies, social sciences, and history to take the analysis of African cartooning forward. Taking African Cartoons Seriously presents critical thematic studies to chart new approaches to how African cartoonists trade in fun, irony, and satire. The book brings together the traditional press editorial cartoon with rapidly diverging subgenres of the art in the graphic novel and animation, and applications on social media. Interviews with bold and successful cartoonists provide insights into their work, their humor, and the dilemmas they face. This book will delight and inform readers from all backgrounds, providing a highly readable and visual introduction to key cartoonists and styles, as well as critical engagement with current themes to show where African political cartooning is going and why.
Set in the 1980s, when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, this Flaggesque exploration of Southern characters is filled with plot twists, character surprises, New Orleans parties and true love. The second volume in the Peavine Chronicles Series, Hankins undergirds the narrative with a whimsical spirituality and delivers belly-laugh reading enjoyment with an afterglow.
The Twelve Chairs: A Novel
Ilya Ilf Northwestern University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PG3476.I44D913 2011 | Dewey Decimal 891.7342
Winner, 2012 Northern California Book Award for Fiction in Translation
More faithful to the original text and its deeply resonant humor, this new translation of The TwelveChairs brings Ilf and Petrov’s Russian classic fully to life. The novel’s iconic hero, Ostap Bender, an unemployed con artist living by his wits, joins forces with Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov, a former nobleman who has returned to his hometown to look for a cache of missing jewels hidden in chairs that have been appropriated by the Soviet authorities. The search for the chairs takes them from the provinces of Moscow to the wilds of the Transcaucasus mountains. On their quest they encounter a variety of characters, from opportunistic Soviet bureaucrats to aging survivors of the old propertied classes, each one more selfish, venal, and bungling than the last. A brilliant satire of the early years of the Soviet Union, as well as the inspiration for a Mel Brooks film, The Twelve Chairs retains its universal appeal.
Some six years after his narrow escape from proscription in 43 bce, Marcus Terentius Varro, the “most learned” of the Romans, wrote a technical treatise on farming in the form of a satirico-philosophical dialogue. Grant A. Nelsestuen argues that far from simply being just another encyclopedic entry of a seemingly aloof antiquarian or offering an escapist’s retreat into rustication, Varro’s De Re Rustica uses the model of the farm to craft an implicitly political treatise that grapples with multifarious challenges facing the contemporary Roman world.
On one level, Varro’s treatise presents an innovative account of the Roman farm, which rationalizes new agricultural and pastoral opportunities for contemporary elite owners of large-scale estates. But on another level, this bold agronomical vision associates the farm’s different spheres with distinct areas under Roman control, thereby allegorizing Rome’s empire on the model of a farm. Nelsestuen argues that Varro’s treatise thus provides his contemporaries with a model for governing the Roman state, anticipates Augustus’ subsequent transformation of Roman dominion into a coherent territorial state, and offers an ancient theory of imperialism.
Shedding new light on the only completely extant work of a much-celebrated but ill-understood figure, Varro the Agronomist has much to offer to those interested in Latin literature—especially, Cicero and Vergil—as well as on the political dimensions of intellectual life in first-century bce Rome, ancient imperialism, and Roman political philosophy.