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By: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great by Henry Fielding The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great

This novel is sometimes thought of as [Fielding's] first because he almost certainly began composing it before he wrote Shamela and Joseph Andrews. It is a satire of Walpole that draws a parallel between Walpole and Jonathan Wild, the infamous gang leader and highwayman. He implicitly compares the Whig party in Parliament with a gang of thieves being run by Walpole, whose constant desire to be a “Great Man” (a common epithet for Walpole) should culminate only in the antithesis of greatness: being hanged.

Book cover An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, or simply Shamela, as it is more commonly known, is a satirical novel written by Henry Fielding and first published in April 1741 under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding never owned to writing the work, but it is widely considered to be his. It is a direct attack on the then-popular novel Pamela (November 1740) by Fielding's contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson and is composed, like Pamela, in epistolary form. Shamela is written as a shocking revelation of the true events which took place in the life of Pamela Andrews, the main heroine of Pamela...

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: Henry L. Mencken

Damn! A Book of Calumny by Henry L. Mencken Damn! A Book of Calumny

Henry Louis “H. L.” Mencken (1880 – 1956) was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore”, he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. Mencken is perhaps best remembered today for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he named the “Monkey” trial.”

By: Herbert George Jenkins (1876-1923)

John Dene of Toronto; a Comedy of Whitehall by Herbert George Jenkins John Dene of Toronto; a Comedy of Whitehall

John Dene comes to England with a great invention, and the intention of gingering-up the Admiralty. His directness and unconventional methods bewilder and embarrass the officials at Whitehall, where, according to him, most of the jobs are held by those "whose great-grandfathers had a pleasant way of saying how-do-you-do to a prince." Suddenly John Dene disappears, and the whole civilised world is amazed at an offer of £20,000 for news of him. Scotland Yard is disorganised by tons of letters and thousands of callers...

By: Herman Melville (1819-1891)

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade was the last major novel by Herman Melville, the American writer and author of Moby-Dick. Published on April 1, 1857 (presumably the exact day of the novel's setting), The Confidence-Man was Melville's tenth major work in eleven years. The novel portrays a Canterbury Tales-style group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. The novel is written as cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, dealing with themes of sincerity, identity, morality, religiosity, economic materialism, irony, and cynicism...

By: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Cobb's Anatomy by Irvin S. Cobb Cobb's Anatomy

Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was born on June 23, 1876. At seventeen years of age, he began writing for the Paducah Daily News, his hometown paper. At nineteen he became the managing editor; up to that point, our nation’s youngest. He worked as a columnist, a humorist and an author. But ‘horror,’ and ’short stories,’ are not why he is remembered. He is remembered because he was, and still is, funny. And although he is now dead–he died March 11, 1944–this work “Cobb’s Anatomy,” among others, has left an indelible mark upon mankind: a smile.

By: Israel Zangwill (1864-1926)

The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill The Big Bow Mystery

Regarded as the first full-length locked room mystery, the novel focuses on a murder that has occurred inside a locked room, with no clear indication as to the weapon used, the perpetrator of the horrendous crime, or a possible escape route. Needless to say, The Big Bow Mystery has all the elements necessary to engage its audience and encourage them to look between the lines in an attempt to unravel the complex murder. Set in Bow, east London, the novel opens when Mrs. Drabdump, a widow who rents out rooms, panics when one of her lodgers does not respond to her fervent attempts to wake him...

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...

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: J. M. Barrie (1860-1937)

The Admirable Crichton by J. M. Barrie The Admirable Crichton

From the author of Peter Pan:Lord Loam, a British peer, considers class divisions to be artificial. He promotes his views during tea-parties where servants mingle with his aristocratic guests, to the embarrassment of all. Crichton, his butler, particularly disapproves of this.Loam, his family, a maid, and Crichton are shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island. The resourceful Crichton is the only one of the party with any practical knowledge. Eventually, social roles are reversed, and Crichton becomes the governor.

By: James De Mille (1833-1880)

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder by James De Mille A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder is the most popular of James De Mille’s works. It was serialized posthumously in Harper’s Weekly, and published in book form by Harper and Brothers of New York City in 1888. This satirical romance is the story of Adam More, a British sailor. Shipwrecked in Antarctica, he stumbles upon a tropical lost world of prehistoric animals, plants, and a cult of death-worshipping primitives. He also finds a highly developed human society which has reversed the values of Victorian society...

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: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Emma by Jane Austen Emma

A comedy of manners, Emma portrays the spoilt, snobbish, yet charming Emma Woodhouse as she delightfully interferes in the relationships of others without taking much notice of her own heart. Although quick to make prejudgments and decisions, Emma is eventually able to notice her mistakes, and it is this revelation that makes her an endearing heroine and an inspiration to women throughout. Austen has not only created, but also brought to life the world inhabited by her characters through her vivid depictions and clever use of wit...

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Mansfield Park

One of the most controversial novels written by Austen, Mansfield Park follows the life of the young heroine Fanny Price as she searches for her place in society. Set in early 19th century England, the classic novel depicts the social issues of the time including marriage, social mobility and morality. The classic centers on the life of the poor young girl Fanny Price, who is the oldest daughter of nine siblings. Her father is a former naval officer and a heavy drinker, while her mother has married beneath her and is undeniably the black sheep in the family when compared to her two sisters, Mrs...

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a book about the life of Catherine Morland and her romantic relationships. The novel is divided into two parts; the first part begins with Catherine’s visit to Bath and her relationship with Henry Tilney and the other people she met there, and the second part starts with the arrival of Frederick Tilney and her visit to Northanger Abbey. This book alongside Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility is considered one of the major works of Jane Austen. The novel had undergone many revisions before its publication and it was even originally titled “Catherine...

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen Love and Friendship

Begun when she was just eleven years old, Love and Friendship is one of Jane Austen's stories that very few readers may have encountered before. Austen experts feel that this story was written, like many others, only for the pleasure of her family and friends. It is scribbled across three notebooks, in childish handwriting, and the complete work is thought to have been written over a period of six or seven years. It is dedicated to one of her cousins, whom she was very close to, Eliza de Feuillide...

Lady Susan by Jane Austen Lady Susan

An epistolary novel, Lady Susan is an early work by Austen that was posthumously published in 1871. The short novel focuses on the self-serving eponymous anti-heroine, as she cunningly maneuvers her way through society in search of a wealthy husband for both her daughter and herself. Disregarding anything but her own selfish goals, Susan employs her charms to lure men and draw them into her web of deceit, no matter their age or status. Exploring issues including morals, manners, self-indulgence, malevolence, and social machinations, the relatively short novel is sure to fascinate with its atypical form...

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...

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: John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922)

Alice in Blunderland: an Iridescent Dream by John Kendrick Bangs Alice in Blunderland: an Iridescent Dream

John Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 – January 21, 1922) was an American author and satirist, and the creator of modern Bangasian Fantasy, the school of fantasy writing that sets the plot wholly or partially in the afterlife. (Wikipedia)Plot summary: J K Bangs has taken Alice from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and lets her on a boring day travel with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat and the other of Carroll’s familiar characters to Blunderland. The story is a well written Satire, a witty, humorous tale of adventure and city politics, a tale of Alice in a land where nothing is as it should be. (Summary by Lars Rolander)

The Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs The Idiot

The Idiot is anything but, yet his fellow boarders at Mrs. Smithers-Pedagog’s home for single gentlemen see him as such. His brand of creative thought is dismissed as foolishness yet it continues to get under their skin, because when you’re beneath contempt you can say what you please. – This is the first of John Kendrick Bangs' “Idiot” books and was published by Harper and Brothers in 1895.

The Autobiography of Methuselah by John Kendrick Bangs The Autobiography of Methuselah

A satirical look at early biblical events from the point of view of someone who was there to witness most of them: the oldest man in recorded history.

By: John Wight (1866-1944)

Mornings at Bow Street by John Wight Mornings at Bow Street

This is a collection of various articles found in Morning Herald columns. Some are found interesting, some may be hilarious! The 84 pieces of this book are actual reports throughout the 1870s newspaper written by the reporter, John Wight and Illustrated by George Cruikshank

By: Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels

Comprised of four parts, Gulliver’s Travels documents the bizarre, yet fascinating voyages of Lemuel Gulliver as he makes his way through several uncharted destinations, experiencing the lives of the small, the giant, the scientific, and downright eccentric societies. Narrated in first person, Swift successfully portrays Gulliver’s thoughts and reactions as he faces struggles of integration throughout his travels. Beginning with the introduction of Gulliver, an educated ship’s surgeon, who after a series of unfortunate events is victim to repeated shipwrecks, desertions, and set adrift...

A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal

A satirical essay written by one of the most renowned satirists, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal expresses the author’s exasperation with the ill treatment of impoverished Irish citizens as a result of English exploitation and social inertia. Furthermore, Swift ventilates the severity of Ireland’s political incompetence, the tyrannical English policies, the callous attitudes of the wealthy, and the destitution faced by the Irish people. Focusing on numerous aspects of society including government exploitation, reckless greed, hypocrisy, apathy, and prejudice, the essay successfully exemplifies Swift’s satirical skills...

Book cover Tale of a Tub

A Tale of a Tub was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697, that was eventually published in 1704. It is arguably his most difficult satire, and perhaps his most masterly. The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of "digression" and a "tale" of three brothers, each representing one of the main branches of western Christianity. A Tale was long regarded as a satire on religion itself, and has famously been attacked for that, starting with William Wotton...

By: Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut 2 B R 0 2 B

In this chilling short-story by a master of the craft, Kurt Vonnegut creates a fictional world of the future where life and death are no longer matters of individual choice or destiny. The title refers to the famous quote from Hamlet, “To be or not to be....” with “0” being pronounced as “naught.” It also refers to the eternal dilemma of life and death that face every human being at some point in their lives. Written in 1962 it is set in some unspecified time in the future, when earth has become a Utopia...

By: Lord Dunsany (1878-1957)

Book cover Fifty-One Tales

Very brief, well-crafted stories, many having surprise endings, all steeped in the dye of myth and calling to every reader's neglected imagination.

By: Lucian of Samosata (120—180)

Trips to the Moon by Lucian of Samosata Trips to the Moon

The endeavour of small Greek historians to add interest to their work by magnifying the exploits of their countrymen, and piling wonder upon wonder, Lucian first condemned in his Instructions for Writing History, and then caricatured in his True History, wherein is contained the account of a trip to the moon, a piece which must have been enjoyed by Rabelais, which suggested to Cyrano de Bergerac his Voyages to the Moon and to the Sun, and insensibly contributed, perhaps, directly or through Bergerac, to the conception of Gulliver’s Travels. The Icaro-Menippus Dialogue describes another trip to the moon, though its satire is more especially directed against the philosophers.

By: Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849)

Book cover Castle Rackrent

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

An atypical piece of writing by Mark Twain, the short bawdy skit documents a conversion between Queen Elizabeth and several notable writers of the time, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Beaumont, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare. Despite first being published in 1880, the piece remained anonymous for a period of time, until it was later acknowledged by Twain in 1901 as his own. Comprised of humor, descriptive imagery, ribald connotations, and vulgar language, the faux conversation is simultaneously humorous and repulsing, but nonetheless a wonder for its satirical precision...


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