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What is satire? How can we define it? Is it a comic tool or a political weapon? Is Satire funny or cruel? Does it always need a target or victim? Combining thematic, theoretical and historical approaches, John Gilmore introduces and investigates the tradition of satire from classical models through to the present day. In a lucid and engaging style, Gilmore explores: * the moral politics of satire * whether satire is universal, historically or geographically limited * how satire translates across genres and media * the boundaries of free speech and legitimacy. Using examples including the literature of Roman satire, Chaucer, Dryden and Orwell, the films of Monty Python and Borat, and tv programmes such as Brass Eye and Spitting Image, this comprehensive volume should be of interest to students and scholars of literature, media and cultural studies as well as politics and philosophy.