The Satirist: His Temperament, Motivation, and Influence

By Leonard Feinberg | Go to book overview

3
Compensation

We have seen that some critics offer the "aesthetic drive" as the primary motivation of the satirist, while others suggest that "morality" is the spur.

A number of other attempts to explain why the satirist writes satire can be loosely grouped in a third category: "compensation." All of the variations on this theory assume that the satirist is striking back at society because it has either neglected him for being inadequate or punished him for being obstreperous. This compensation is expressed in one, or a combination, of the following forms: rebellion and revenge, protective laughter, perverted self-criticism, and perverted frustration.


Rebellion and Revenge

"I was born for opposition," said Byron. Lucian announced, "I profess hatred of pretension and imposture, lying and pride." Edmund Wilson sees

The satirist attacks in others the weaknesses and temptations that are really within himself.

-- Kenneth Burke

-42-

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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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