Because the world needs more laughs, I’m continuing my Satire Series. If you’ve stumbled across my blog for the first time, do scroll back to read the first posts on the topic. Should you enjoy my eclectic posts, I invite you to subscribe. My interests are broad and varied and topics could be anything.
Here’s a short recap ~ The word satire owes its roots to the Latin for well-fed as in saturated and sated. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Being well-fed feels good and so does having a good laugh.
To people who study such things, there’s no doubt about it, American humorist Mark Twain was a moralist of strong opinion. His was the Gilded Age, that period from 1870 to roughly 1900. This was the late Victorian era, a time known for ostentatious pretentiousness. In this era, the industrialist was king, western wealth grew at an unprecedented rate, and social reform was shamefully slow.
The term gilded age, commonly used to describe the conditions in the world in which Samuel Clemens lived, actually comes from the title of a book he penned with another author. The book Gilded Age: A Tale of Today must have had some pretty powerful words to be able to brand an entire age of history. It’s also interesting to note that Clemens borrowed the idea from an earlier satirist named Shakespeare. In the play King John, Shakespeare wrote: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, is wasteful and ridiculous excess.”
With this ridiculous gilding of the lily in mind, Mark Twain’s writings satirized the greed and political corruption so common then. His literature is full of his precisely articulated anger and undeniable disillusionment over the happenings in his time. As an example of his refined snark, I offer actor Hal Holbrook’s spot-on impersonation. Using the celebrity’s own writings, he perfectly brings some of Mark Twain’s thoughts to life. You tube has several clips of this accomplished actor having a go at Twain. For a larger sample of literary satire at work, I highly recommend watching them.
Here’s a collection of his satirical pieces narrated by Mike Bennet.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy this very nice collection of stories.
And here’s a full Samuel Clemens’ biography done by the History Channel.
Tomorrow~ Satire and sarcasm.
My Hump Day Happenings Around the Web~
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“Character is higher than intellect.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today’s guest~ Paty Jager
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In honor of the first anthology by the Authors of Romance Books ‘4’ Us, we’re running an additional October contest. Prizes include a $100 Amazon Gift Card and a terrific “super power” Romance Reader or Romance Author t-shirt. If you’re into romances, the t-shirt will make you smile.
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