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Readers recommend: misanthropic songs | Peter Kimpton


Hatred of humankind? Youve got to love it. Dark humour, sharp lyrics and moving music will be among your song suggestions

From Horace to Huxley, Hogarth to Pope, Molière to Brass Eyes Chris Morris, misanthropy has peppered, with satires salty garnish, some of the finest moments in all literature, art, theatre, film and television, let alone music. Yet the golden age of misanthropy was perhaps also the golden age of satire - the 17th century, during which many protagonists sharpened their wits. And, often in a throwback to last weeks theme, their swords. One of the sharpest wielder of blades was poet, John Dryden, who detailed the finer points of highlighting human failings in his Discourse concerning the Origin and Progress of Satire (1693). His particular concern was on the very craft of character assassination.

How easie is it to call Rogue and Villain, and that wittily! But how hard to make a Man appear a Fool, a Blockhead, or a Knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms! There is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly Butchering of a Man, and the fineness of a stroke that separates the Head from the Body, and leaves it standing in its place.

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