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Bierce the Piercing

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Monday, 05 December 2016

Satire is the antidote to the world’s greatest ego-related epidemics that manifest as self-righteousness and egotism at best. I’ve always admired those few who come with a natural sense of humor and I consider it not only a skill but a direct indication of higher intelligence. Personally, I’m still trying to infuse some into my cynicism and hopefully one day I’ll manage to actually laugh off without the help of bitter sarcasm what now frightens and saddens me. Good satire is hard to come by but when it does it lights your way and, since it deals with universal constants regarding the individual and society, it is or is sure to become classic stuff. Satire has a few sub-genres and the Juvenalian is probably the most popular today, as it appears in exaggerated fictional worlds with a pleasantly toxic mixture of cynicism, sarcasm and irony. The Horatian satire is less sarcastic and doesn’t cry out for social change in the way the Juvenalian satire does. Instead it distances itself, as it wittingly reports and clarifies the often hazy truth. One of the greatest examples of Horatian satire is Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary and I can only advise you to go on and read it (there are numerous publications and some are free, as for example this one from Project Gutenberg).

 

And here is a link to The Literary Field Kaleidoscope, where you can listen to my reading of “Abracadabra,” which is one of the Dictionary’s entries.

 
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