This collection examines the transformations of early modern European satire from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth centuries. Drawing together literary scholars and art historians, the book maps the changes that satire underwent in becoming a less genre-driven and increasingly visual medium. The collection traces the increasing dependence of satire on a proliferation of formats, including visual and textual media and various combinations of them, but also manuscript circulation as well as the use of ‘non-satirical’ forms for satirical purposes. In doing so, while discussing canonical satire in both its textual and visual incarnations, the contributors also move extensively into less charted territory, with material on satire that previous criticism has ignored or relegated to the margins. Satire was a particularly important phenomenon in England in the period and, while acknowledging this, the collection also contains material on France, Italy and Spain. In short, in its wide sweep across time and formats, the book discusses the role satire had as a transgressor of medial and political borders.
Cecilia Rosengren, Per Sivefors, and Rikard Wingård
The introduction outlines the rationale behind the book from basically three contexts. It frames satire in the period from the perspective of changing media; it moves beyond canonical satire and embeds it in a multiplicity of other, less discussed voices and forms; and it discusses the importance of satire not only to England but to a number of other European countries. Two particular focus areas discussed in the introduction and also in various ways in the chapters of the book are 1) how satire was affected by, and affected, the medium of print; and 2) how the emergence of a public sphere in Europe relates to the growth of satire as a political and aesthetic phenomenon.