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What is some literary evidence that supports "a culture without satire is a culture...

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ilovecats2 | Honors

Posted October 19, 2011 at 8:07 AM via web

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What is some literary evidence that supports "a culture without satire is a culture without self criticism and thus, ultimately, without humanity?"

It is for a research project.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 19, 2011 at 8:41 AM (Answer #1)

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In Kingsley's short essay "Laughter's To Be Taken Seriously" (published in the New York Times in 1957), he makes the following statement:

Satire offers a social and moral contribution; a culture without satire is a culture without self-criticism and thus, ultimately, without humanity.

Given that Kingsley's understanding of society and the development of society was based upon regenerative actions (meaning learning from the past by not making the same mistakes as made in the past), he fully understands that satire is important in changing society. It is not until one can recognize the implications and absurdity of how governments or society acts that one can realize the changes which need to be made.

One must be able to criticize oneself in order to realize that changes must be made in life in order to grow (as a person, culture, or society). Without this individual understanding, the greater whole (humanity) cannot change.

Therefore, examples of literature which show the importance of satire, and the recognition of humanity, are the following:

1. Pope's "Rape of the Lock"

2.Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales"

3. Swift's Gulliver's Travels

4. John Dryden's "To His Sacred Majesty"

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