All Women's Talk

7 Amazing Satirists ...

By Lyndsie

I love satire. It's my favorite. Satire has been around for a surprisingly long time, though back in the day it was deliciously subtle. In compiling this list, I discovered a lot of writers I didn't even fully realize were satirists! So I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as I did!

1 Aesop

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Oh yeah, Aesop, as in Aesop's Fables. He dates all the way back to BCE, proving that sarcasm dates all the way back. Reading Aesop's fables as an adult makes it clear that he was into satire, but in such a subtle way that he is still kid friendly. Cool, right?

2 Geoffrey Chaucer

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Do not attempt to read Chaucer in his original form. The value is great if you're taking English or Literature classes, but if you want to go back and reread some of the Canterbury Tales for fun, make sure you get a translation. That's the best way to see Chaucer's skill as a satirist. In fact, the dude gets downright dirty more than you'd imagine!

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3 Voltaire

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One of my favorite college professors first introduced me to Voltaire. I thought it was going to be the pits, another boring play from a 17th and 18th century writer – and boy was I wrong. Better still, the French are well versed in sarcasm and satire, and Voltaire is a prime example of those talents. Read Candide, you'll see what I'm talking about!

4 Edgar Allen Poe

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Poet, novelist, and definite satirist. Not necessarily all the time, but Poe does have several satirical works, and while they contain a lot of his signature morbidity, that is interwoven with a satirical skill that makes me love him even more. The Man that Was Used Up is one of his best examples.

5 Lewis Carroll

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Uh huh, the Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll. You know he wrote “The Jabberwocky,” but did you know one of his poems is actually titled “The Hunting of the Snark,” on the real? Need I say more? Carroll is one of the greatest satirists of the 19th century, and part of what makes him so great is that his work is simultaneously ideal for children and adults.

6 Mark Twain

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Through reading about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, it can be difficult to tell that Mark Twain, nee Samuel Clemens, knew the true value of satire. However, if you read a little deeper, widen your search, and even read some of his personal letters, you'll see it loud and clear.

7 Oscar Wilde

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Well of course! My love, my mentor, my hero! Novel, play, personal letter – you can see Wilde's satirical edge in pretty much any writings attributed to him. He had a sharp silver tongue that seemed to connect straight to his pen, turning it into a weapon of the highest order, and I for one am extremely thankful for that. He's my favorite of the modern satirists, and I think he was one of the last great satirist writers.

That being said, I have lately noticed how many satirical filmmakers there are – some still working, some sadly gone onto their afterlives. Filmmakers and comedians, actually, and aren't they writers as well? Christopher Guest is a top favorite, but who are some of yours?

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