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That Satirical Way of Nipping

Fara Dabhoiwala: Learning to Laugh, 16 December 2021

Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain 
by Ross Carroll.
Princeton, 255 pp., £28, April, 978 0 691 18255 1
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... be a sincere defence. The word ‘ironical’ was added to the title in subsequent printings. As Ross Carroll shows, even authors who shared Shaftesbury’s belief in the value of ridicule faced an obvious problem. Satire could enlighten, but it could just as quickly coarsen public discourse, especially when it failed to land. An awkward balancing act ...

A Traveller in Residence

Mary Hawthorne, 13 November 1997

... the fourth wife of St Clair McKelway, who had been a talented writer and editor under Harold Ross but whose powers were then in decline. He was handsome, suave (his advice to reporters was ‘to be more debonair’), charismatic and completely unstable – an alcoholic who suffered from manic depression, which worsened as time went on. He became famous ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... but the president scrawls his name across the top.*A well-known magazine columnist, E. Jean Carroll, graphically describes being raped by Donald Trump in the mid-1990s. The president denies knowing her, but after photos of the two of them in groups at social gatherings are produced, he says: ‘It never happened. She’s not my type. I’ll say it with ...

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