Popular satirist Joe Queenan proves that cynicism in literature flourished long before Generation X in this acerbic compendium of the best classic satirical writing from the last several centuries, as well as from Ancient Greece. The collection encompasses essays, short stories, plays, and novels, with Queenan's insightful biographies of each featured writer. Selections include engaging, readable works by early wits ranging from Oscar Wilde to Mark Twain, and excerpts from "The Prince" by Machiavelli; "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift; "Justine" by the Marquis de Sade; as well as works by Rabelais, Moliere, Ben Johnson, Aristophanes, George Bernard Shaw, Jane Austen, and other wits.
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(229mm x 153mm x 51mm)
Publisher: Running Press
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UK Kirkus Review »
Those who thought that satire began in the 1960s had better think again. Mockery in all its forms has been around for several thousand years, and arch-cynic Joe Queenan has the material to prove it. This book features caustic and scathing writings from ancient Greece to the present day, the authors including Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, the Marquis de Sade and Jane Austen. Queenan has culled his extracts from every available source including essays and plays. Most famous is Jonathan Swift's 'Modest Proposal', satirizing the British government's lack of response to the Irish famine and proposing an alternative foodstuff for the starving peasants: 'a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout'. Voltaire, equally thoughtful, declares, 'There is no doubt of it; but in this country it is found good, from time to time, to kill one admiral to encourage the others', while Mark Twain laments that 'the very things the boys in the books got rewarded for turned out to be about the most unprofitable things he could invest in'. Joe Queenan is the author of other off-the-wall books including A Cynic's Short-Lived Search For Sainthood and Confessions Of A Cineplex Heckler, and that should give some idea of what to expect from him here. Irreverence is rampant, humour comes in the blackest of shades, and some favourite writers will never appear quite the same again. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Joe Queenan
Joe Queenan is the author of seven books as well as a writer-at-large for "GQ," a contributing editor at "Movieline," and a columnist for the "New York Times" and "Forbes." He lives in Tarrytown, New York.