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We are Horatian, not Juvenalian! …Or so some say…

We discovered today that, in Wikipedia’s entry for Satire, the Ig Nobel Prizes are the first exemplar of one of the two kinds of satire. The entry reads:

Horatian vs Juvenalian

Satirical literature can commonly be categorized as either Horatian or Juvenalian,[27][need quotation to verify] although the two are not entirely mutually exclusive.


Horatian satire, named for the Roman satirist Horace (65–8 BCE), playfully criticizes some social vice through gentle, mild, and light-hearted humour. It directs wit, exaggeration, and self-deprecating humour toward what it identifies as folly, rather than evil. Horatian satire’s sympathetic tone is common in modern society.[citation needed]



Juvenalian satire, named after the Roman satirist Juvenal (late 1st century – early 2nd century CE), is more contemptuous and abrasive than the Horatian. Juvenalian satire addresses social evil through scorn, outrage, and savage ridicule. This form is often pessimistic, characterized by irony, sarcasm, moral indignation and personal invective, with less emphasis on humor. Strongly polarized political satire is often Juvenalian. Also see: Satires of Juvenal.


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