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By: Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Book cover In the Sweet Dry and Dry

Written just before Prohibition to entail the possible troubles that might happen en route. Both sides of the argument, or battle as the case may be, strike out with various over-top methods like legislating most fruits and vegetables as unsafe or intoxicating large groups with breathable alcohol.

By: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope The Rape of the Lock

The Rape of the Lock is a mock-heroic narrative poem written by Alexander Pope, first published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany in May 1712 in two cantos (334 lines), but then revised, expanded and reissued under Pope's name on March 2, 1714, in a much-expanded 5-canto version (794 lines). The final form was available in 1717 with the addition of Clarissa's speech on good humour. The poem satirizes a petty squabble by comparing it to the epic world of the gods. It was based on an incident recounted by Pope's friend, John Caryll...

By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson The Alchemist

An outbreak of plague in London forces a gentleman, Lovewit, to flee temporarily to the country, leaving his house under the sole charge of his butler, Jeremy. Jeremy uses the opportunity given to him to use the house as the headquarters for fraudulent acts. He transforms himself into 'Captain Face', and enlists the aid of Subtle, a fellow conman and Dol Common, a prostitute. In The Alchemist, Jonson unashamedly satirizes the follies, vanities and vices of mankind, most notably greed-induced credulity...

By: Molière

Tartuffe by Molière Tartuffe

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works is Tartuffe or The Hypocrite, written in 1664. Though Tartuffe was received well by the public and even by Louis XIV, its popularity was lessened when the Archbishop of Paris issued an edict threatening excommunication for anyone who watched, performed in, or read the play.Tartuffe, a pious fraud who pretends to speak with divine authority, has insinuated himself into the household of Orgon...

By: Gaius Petronius Arbiter

Book cover The Satyricon

Satyricon (or Satyrica) is a Latin work of fiction in a mixture of prose and poetry. It is believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as a certain Titus Petronius. As with the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, classical scholars often describe it as a "Roman novel", without necessarily implying continuity with the modern literary form.The surviving portions of the text detail the misadventures of the narrator, Encolpius, and his lover, a handsome sixteen-year-old boy named Giton...

By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing by Arnold Bennett Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing

Bennett's essays always provide food for thought and bring a wry smile to the lips. Human nature, it appears, changes little over the ages, and Bennett's writing stands the test of time, though in the case of some of the essays in this eclectic collection, it is well to remember that they were written at the time of the First World War and the fight for women's suffrage.

By: Mark Twain

Anti-imperialist writings by Mark Twain Anti-imperialist writings

This audiobook is a collection of Mark Twain's anti-imperialist writings (newspaper articles, interviews, speeches, letters, essays and pamphlets).

By: John Dryden (1631-1700)

Book cover Absalom and Achitophel

John Dryden published Absalom and Achitophel: A Poem in 1681. It is an elaborate historical allegory using the political situation faced by Kind David (2 Samuel 14-18) to mirror that faced by Charles II. Each monarch had a son whom a high-ranking minister attempted to use against him. James Scott, first Duke of Monmouth, Charles II's illegitimate son, was detected planning a rebellion late in 1681, supposedly instigated by the Earl of Shaftesbury, who was tried for high treason, and it is believed that Dryden wrote the poem in an effort to sway the jury in his trial...

By: Anonymous

The Curtezan Unmasked by Anonymous The Curtezan Unmasked

"The Curtezan unmasked or, the Whoredomes of Jezebel Painted to the Life: With Antidotes against them, or Heavenly Julips to cool Men in the Fever of Lust" is a fire-and-brimstone polemic by "A Spiritual Physician" to persuade young men not to succumb to harlotry and its accompanying perils. (Introduction by Denny Sayers)

By: August Strindberg (1849-1912)

Book cover The Red Room

A young idealistic civil servant, Arvid Falk, leaves the drudgery of bureaucracy to become a journalist and author. As he explores various social activities — politics, publishing, theatre, philanthropy, and business — he finds more hypocrisy and corruption than he thought possible. He takes refuge with a group of "bohemians", who meet in a red dining room in Berns Salonger to discuss these matters. (Introduction adopted from Wikipedia)

By: Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)

Book cover Headlong Hall

Headlong Hall is the first novel by Thomas Love Peacock, published in 1815 (dated 1816). As in his later novel Crotchet Castle, Peacock assembles a group of eccentrics, each with a single monomaniacal obsession, and derives humor and social satire from their various interactions and conversations. The setting is the country estate of Squire Harry Headlong Ap-Rhaiader, Esq. in Wales.

By: Moliere (1622-1673)

Book cover The Imaginary Invalid

The Imaginary Invalid is a three-act comédie-ballet by the French playwright Molière. It was first performed in 1673 and was the last work he wrote. The plot centers around Argan, the 'imaginary invalid' who is completely dependent on his doctors and wants to marry his daughter to a doctor against her will, so that he will always have medical care freely available to him. In an ironic twist of fate, Molière collapsed during his fourth performance as Argan on 17 February and died soon after.

By: Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

Rameau's Nephew by Denis Diderot Rameau's Nephew

Rameau's Nephew, or the Second Satire (French: Le Neveu de Rameau ou La Satire seconde) is an imaginary philosophical conversation written by Denis Diderot, probably between 1761 and 1772. It was first published in 1805 in German translation by Goethe, but the French manuscript used has subsequently disappeared. The German version was translated back into French by de Saur and Saint-Genies and published in 1821. The first published version based on French manuscript appeared in 1823 in the Brière edition of Diderot's works...

By: Various

The Sturdy Oak by Various The Sturdy Oak

At a certain committee meeting held in the spring of 1916, it was agreed that fourteen leading American authors, known to be extremely generous as well as gifted, should be asked to write a composite novel....Third, to have the novel finished and published serially during the autumn Campaign of 1917.The carrying out of these requirements has not been the childish diversion it may have seemed. Splendid team work, however, has made success possible.Every author represented, every worker on the team, has gratuitously contributed his or her services; and every dollar realized by the serial and book publication of "The Sturdy Oak" will be devoted to the Suffrage Cause...

By: Plato (Πλάτων) (c. 428 BC - c. 347 BC)

Book cover Gorgias

This dialogue brings Socrates face to face with the famous sophist Gorgias and his followers. It is a work likely completed around the time of "Republic" and illuminates many of the spiritual ideas of Plato. The spirituality, as Jowett points out in his wonderful introduction, has many ideas akin to Christianity, but is more generous as it reserves damnation only for the tyrants of the world. Some of the truths of Socrates, as presented by Plato, shine forth in this wonderful work on sophistry and other forms of persuasion or cookery.

Book cover Gorgias

This dialogue brings Socrates face to face with the famous sophist Gorgias and his followers. It is a work likely completed around the time of "Republic" and illuminates many of the spiritual ideas of Plato. The spirituality, as Jowett points out in his wonderful introduction, has many ideas akin to Christianity, but is more generous as it reserves damnation only for the tyrants of the world. Some of the truths of Socrates, as presented by Plato, shine forth in this wonderful work on sophistry and other forms of persuasion or cookery.

By: Henry Fielding

The Old Debauchees by Henry Fielding The Old Debauchees

Young Laroon plans to marry Isabel, but Father Martin manipulates Isabel's father, Jourdain, in order to seduce Isabel. However, other characters, including both of the Laroons, try to manipulate Jourdain for their own ends; they accomplish it through disguising themselves as priests and using his guilt to convince him of what they say. As Father Martin pursues Isabel, she is clever enough to realize what is happening and plans her own trap. After catching him and exposing his lust, Father Martin is set to be punished.

By: John Dryden (1631-1700)

Book cover Dryden vs Shadwell - a Poetic Duel

Throughout history there have been many creative artists whose fame depends largely on their association with a much greater artist. Such the case of Thomas Shadwell, poet and prolific writer of low brow comedies, who is today most famous as the butt of satire by one of greatest and most influential English poets, John Dryden. Shadwell and Dryden were at first colleagues and collaborators, but later fell out over some sharp divergences of opinion. In particular, Dryden disagreed with Shadwell's high estimation of Ben Jonson, and even more of the latter's claim to be be Jonson's artistic heir...

By: James Thomson (1834-1882)

Book cover Satires and Profanities

"Believing as I do that James Thomson is, since Shelley, the most brilliant genius who has wielded a pen in the service of Freethought, I take a natural pride and pleasure in rescuing the following articles from burial in the great mausoleum of the periodical press. There will doubtless be a diversity of opinion as to their value. One critic, for instance, has called “The Story of a Famous Old Jewish Firm” a witless squib; but, on the other hand, the late Professor Clifford considered it a piece of exquisite mordant satire worthy of Swift...

By: Washington Irving (1783-1859)

Book cover Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent.

The Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent. (1824) is a compilation of eight humorous and observational letters written by American writer, Washington Irving, under the pseudonym, Jonathan Oldstyle. These eight letters and one additional were first published as a series of "Letters to the Editor" of the New York paper, The Morning Chronicle, between 1802 and 1803. In them Oldstyle skewered the local New York social scene on the topics of etiquette, marriage, fashion, and other particulars of human interaction...

By: Molière (1622-1673)

Book cover Learned Women

By: Saki (1870-1916)

Book cover Unbearable Bassington

The Unbearable Bassington was the first novel written by Saki (H. H. Munro). It also contains much of the elegant wit found in his short stories. Comus (The Unbearable) Bassington, is a charming young man about town. His perversity however thwarts all his mother’s efforts to advance his prospects and lands him in hot water. Like many a “black sheep” he ends up being sent off to one of the colonies to fend for himself. This book showcases Saki’s wonderful writing and that ability to be so very funny and terribly sad at the same time.

Book cover Unbearable Bassington

The Unbearable Bassington was the first novel written by Saki (H. H. Munro). It also contains much of the elegant wit found in his short stories. Comus (The Unbearable) Bassington, is a charming young man about town. His perversity however thwarts all his mother’s efforts to advance his prospects and lands him in hot water. Like many a “black sheep” he ends up being sent off to one of the colonies to fend for himself. This book showcases Saki’s wonderful writing and that ability to be so very funny and terribly sad at the same time.

By: George Calderon (1868-1915)

Book cover Cinderella

If you are expecting glass slippers and pumpkin coaches, look elsewhere... This is "a pantomime as Ibsen would have written it, if only it had occurred to him to write one." Set on a "bleak and cheerless heath overlooking the fjord" we meet Ibsenesque heroine Mrs. Inquest, her step-daughter Hilda, and her daughter Hedda, who is engaged to be married to the unfortunate Tesman. Thus begins Calderon's hilarious Ibsenesque version of Cinderella. NOTE from the editor of the volume, published in 1922 after Calderon's death: This play is hardly more than a rough draft, written when the idea was fresh and put aside to be worked on when the right moment should come...

By: George Gascoigne (1535-1577)

Book cover Adventures of Master F.J.

This story presents through letters, poems and third-person commentary the love affair between a young man named Freeman Jones and a married woman named Elinor, lady of the castle he is visiting in Scotland. Events in the affair are traced from initial attraction through seduction to (somewhat) graphic sexual encounters and their aftermath. (Allegedly based on a real-life scandal, the author, in re-issuing his story two years later, transplanted the action to Italy, renaming the principals Fernando Jeronimi and Leonora.)

Book cover Adventures of Master F.J.

This story presents through letters, poems and third-person commentary the love affair between a young man named Freeman Jones and a married woman named Elinor, lady of the castle he is visiting in Scotland. Events in the affair are traced from initial attraction through seduction to (somewhat) graphic sexual encounters and their aftermath. (Allegedly based on a real-life scandal, the author, in re-issuing his story two years later, transplanted the action to Italy, renaming the principals Fernando Jeronimi and Leonora.)

By: Allan Monkhouse (1858-1936)

Book cover Mary Broome

Before Downton Abbey, there was Mary Broome. In Allan Monkhouse's 1911 satire, when the son of a middle-class household gets their housemaid pregnant, the two families must try to combine their very different values.

By: William Blake (1757-1827)

Book cover Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical foment and political conflict immediately after the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral structures and his Manichean view of good...

Book cover Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical foment and political conflict immediately after the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral structures and his Manichean view of good...

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Widowers' Houses

This is one of three plays Shaw published as Plays Unpleasant in 1898; they were termed "unpleasant" because they were intended, not to entertain their audiences—as traditional Victorian theatre was expected to—but to raise awareness of social problems and to censure exploitation of the laboring class by the unproductive rich. In this play, Dr. Harry Trench becomes disillusioned when he discovers how his fiancee's father, Mr. Sartorius, makes his money. However, it is soon revealed that Trench's own income is far from untainted.

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain’s Journal Writings, Volume 2

This second collection of essays by Mark Twain is a good example of the diversity of subject matter about which he wrote. As with the essays in Volume 1, many first appeared alone, in magazines or newspapers, before being printed as chapters of his larger works, while others were taken from larger works and reprinted in collections of essays. On top of being prolific, Mark Twain was a very successful marketer of his works. Volume 2 contains the following works: 1.) "A Curious Experience" - 1892 2...

By: Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891)

Book cover Oblomov

Oblomov is the best known novel by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov, first published in 1859. Oblomov is also the central character of the novel, often seen as the ultimate incarnation of the superfluous man, a symbolic character in 19th-century Russian literature. Oblomov is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions. Spoiled as a child to the point of not even being able to put on his own socks, Oblomov is unprepared to deal with the smallest difficulty of adult life...

By: Saki (1870-1916)

Book cover Westminster Alice

Published five years before John Kendrick Bangs had the same idea with Alice in Blunderland, Saki, in his 1902 series of satirical articles, takes an Alice in Wonderland view of British politics, which Alice finds even stranger than events in Wonderland.In all honesty, owing to its extremely topical nature this political satire hasn't worn well, which explains why it has virtually sunk without trace. To appreciate it at all, it's really rather necessary to understand the topical references. I am...

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain’s Journal Writings, Volume 3

This third volume of Mark Twain's journal writings continues on eclectic and varied path established by the first two volumes. Included in this collection are works that appeared by themselves in magazines during Twain's lifetime, as well as essays taken by editors and Twain himself from Twain's larger works, and re-published in collections of his stories. This volume includes the following works: "Buying Gloves in Gibraltar", "The great revolution in Pitcairn", "A Gift from India" [including editor's...

By: Maurice Switzer (1870-1929)

Book cover To a Faded Rose

LibriVox readers bring you 16 recordings of "To a Faded Rose" by Maurice Switzer. This was the Weekly Poetry selection for June 16, 2013.

By: Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891)

Book cover Common Story

Alexander Fedoritch Adouev is the naïve, pampered son of Anna Pavlovna, a provincial landowner. He decides to go off to Saint Petersburg, not only to make his mark upon society but also to fulfill his two rosy romantic dreams of becoming a great writer and finding a great love. He is taken under the reluctant wing of his uncle, Piotr Ivanitch Adouev, a pragmatic, hard-headed businessman who scorns everything romantic and tries to cure Alexander Fedoritch of his sentimental, youthful illusions. The...

By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

Book cover Wonderful Visit

An other-worldly creature visits a small English village, and H. G. Wells uses humour and satire to convey some of the imperfections of Victorian society, as ‘angel’ and humans view each other with equal incomprehension.(

By: Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (-2nd Cent.)

Book cover Satires

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD. The details of the author's life are unclear, although references within his text to known persons of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD fix his terminus post quem (earliest date of composition). The Satires are a collection of satirical poems by Juvenal written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD. Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books; all are in the Roman genre of satire, which, at its most basic in the time of the author, comprised a wide-ranging discussion of society and social mores in dactylic hexameter...

By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)

Book cover Acharnians (Billson Translation)

Loaded with cryptic, nearly indecipherable inside jokes and double entendres, this early comedy of Aristophanes has a simple, anti-war premise that resounds down the centuries. On flimsy pretexts, greedy politicians have embroiled the nation of Athens in war after war after war. Dicæopolis is Everyman, an ordinary, plain-speaking citizen fed up with the bumbling, belligerence, and insincerity of the professional leaders. He decides on a whim to make a separate peace with Sparta all by himself, returning with a treaty good for thirty years...

By: Charles Macklin (1699-1797)

Book cover Will and No Will or a Bone for the Lawyers

This "Afterpiece" - a short play to follow a main production - was first produced in 1746. It was based on Regnard's five-act comedy le Legetaire Universel (1707), which is itself a composite of Italian comedy with echoes of Molière, moving from scene to scene with little effort at logical consistency or structure but treating each scene autonomously for its own comic value. The rather long Prologue to A WILL AND NO WILL (11 pages of manuscript) makes fun of the convention of the eighteenth century prologues by the familiar dodge of having actors chatting as though they were in the Pit waiting for the actors in the preceding main play to dress for the afterpiece.


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