quotations about satire
Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.
LORD BYRON, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, Spring 1967
Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
JONATHAN SWIFT, preface, The Battle of the Books
But satire, ever moral, ever new,
Delights the reader and instructs him, too.
She, if good sense refine her sterling page,
Oft shakes some rooted folly of the age.
NICOLAS BOILEAU-DESPRÉAUX, Satires
There is parody, when you make fun of people who are smarter than you; satire, when you make fun of people who are richer than you; and burlesque, when you make fun of both while taking your clothes off.
P. J. O'ROURKE, Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut
Wherever there is objective truth, there is satire.
WYNDHAM LEWIS, Rude Assignment
Satire must not be a kind of superfluous ill will, but ill will from a higher point of view ... hatred against the bogged-down vileness of average man as against the possible heights that humanity might attain.
PAUL KLEE, The Diaries of Paul Klee
Satire is a prompt recipe for making bitter enemies.
CHARLES WILLIAM DAY, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos
Satire is an abuse of wit. It corrects few evils.
CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought
A satirist is a man whose flesh creeps so at the ugly and the savage and the incongruous aspects of society that he has to express them as brutally and nakedly as possible to get relief.
JOHN DOS PASSOS, Esquire, 1936
Satire has a great big glaring target. If successful, it blasts a great big hole in the center. Directness there must be and singleness of aim: it is all aim, all trajectory.
WYNDHAM LEWIS, notes to Kenneth Allott, Contemporary Verse
Satire is a glass in which the beholder sees everybody's face but his own.
ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust
It is difficult not to write satire.
A man is angry at a libel because it is false, but at a satire because it is true.
G. K. CHESTERTON, Five Types: A Book of Essays
The end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction; and he who writes honestly is no more an enemy to the offender than the physician to the patient when he prescribed harsh remedies.
JOHN DRYDEN, Satires
You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community, it shows you up as ridiculous, lame, pathetic, worthless, in the eyes of your community, in the eyes of your family, in the eyes of your children, in the eyes of yourself, and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were.
ALAN MOORE, interview, "The Craft", Engine Comics, January 2005
A single satire will sometimes effect more good than a hundred sermons.
PIETRO ARETIN, attributed, Day's Collacon
Unless a love of virtue light the flame,
Satire is, more than those he brands, to blame;
He hides behind a magisterial air
His own offences, and strips others' bare.
WILLIAM COWPER, Charity
Of a bitter satirist -- of Swift, for instance -- it might be said that the person or thing on which his satire fell shriveled up as if the devil had spit on it.
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, The American Notebooks
Satire's nature is to be one-sided, contemptuous of ambiguity, and so unfairly selective as to find in the purity of ridicule an inarguable moral truth.
E. L. DOCTOROW, Creationists: Selected Essays