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A Definition of Satire (And Why a Definition Matters)

Declercq, Dieter (2018) A Definition of Satire (And Why a Definition Matters). The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 76 (3). pp. 319-330. ISSN 0021-8529. (doi:10.1111/jaac.12563) (KAR id:68967)


There is a consensus that satire cannot be defined, but is best characterised by a cluster account.

However, I argue that a cluster account does not acknowledge the artistically and politically significant

distinction between real satire and some forms of frivolous topical comedy which are casually labelled

‘satire’ in international media contexts. To uphold this distinction, I introduce a weak proposal that

satire is a genre which necessarily sets out to critique and entertain (with the qualification that these

purposes necessarily interact, although neither is wholly instrumental to the other). I further argue

that this proposal also provides necessary and sufficient conditions for a definition of satire.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/jaac.12563
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: D. Declercq
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2018 13:50 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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