Satire in an Age of Madness

Jonathan Coe

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Jonathan Coe, Rory Bremner, Judith Hawley, Martin Rowson and author Sathnam Sanghera discuss contemporary satire in the light of Jonathan Swift’s legacy

Are we lost in Lilliput? To mark the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan Swift, four writers come to together to discuss contemporary satire in the light of his legacy.

Revered as one of the fathers of modern satire, Swift is one of our most enigmatic, ambiguous and disturbing writers. In a conversation chaired by the novelist Jonathan Coe, author of a new version of Gulliver’s Travels for eight year olds, the panel attempts to pick apart the contradictions in Swift’s political positions, and to consider his continuing relevance: can he be claimed either for the Left or for the Right, and can his ‘savage indignation’ still pack a punch, when modern political reality seems to outstrip satire at every turn? 

Comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner is noted for his work in political satire. 

Judith Hawley is Professor of 18th-century Literature at Royal Holloway. 

Martin Rowson’s satirical cartoons appear regularly in The Guardian and the Daily Mirror. He is the author of a comic-book adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels

Sathnam Sanghera is the author of Marriage Material: A Novel and The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton.


Name: Satire in an Age of Madness
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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