The Satirist: His Temperament, Motivation, and Influence

By Leonard Feinberg | Go to book overview

2
Morality

Sydney Smith, called by his contemporaries the wittiest Englishman who ever lived, said, in reply to the question "Why do you write?""I write for three reasons: first, because I really wish to do good; secondly, because if I don't write, I know nobody else will; and thirdly, because it is in the nature of the animal to write, and I cannot help it."

The idea that morality is the basic motivation of the satirist has a good deal to be said for it, and a good deal has been said for it, often by satirists themselves and sometimes after quoting Mark Twain's remark: "Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever. By forever, I mean thirty years. . . . I have always preached. That is the reason that I have lasted thirty years." Twain, who spent his life denouncing conven-

Ask you what Provocation I have had?
The strong Antipathy of Good to Bad.
When Truth or Virtue an Affront endures,
The Affront is mine, my Friend, and should be yours . . .
O sacred Weapon! Left for Truth's defense,
Sole dread of Folly, Vice, and Insolence
!

-- Alexander Pope

-18-

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The Satirist: His Temperament, Motivation, and Influence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • About the Author *
  • Preface *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Part One - Motivation 1
  • 1 - Creativity 3
  • 2 - Morality 18
  • 3 - Compensation 42
  • 4 - Adjustment 80
  • Part Two - Personality 103
  • 5 - The Satiric Type 105
  • 6 - Characteristics 121
  • 7 - Psychoanalysis 200
  • 8 - Development 224
  • Part Three - Influence 243
  • 9 - Beliefs 245
  • 10 - Relation to Environment 292
  • Part Four - Established Writers and Novices 329
  • 11 - Writers of Satire 331
  • 12 - The Amateur 348
  • Reading List 357
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