Horatian satire: A type of formal satire that pokes fun at human foibles with a witty, even indulgent, tone. Horatian satire is named for the first-century B.C. Roman satirist Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), who sought to “laugh people out of their vices and follies.” It is distinguished from Juvenalian satire, the other major type of formal satire, by the latter’s denunciatory approach, which is aimed at evoking contempt or indignation from the reader.
EXAMPLES: Ben Jonson’s epigrammatic poem “On the Famous Voyage” (c. 1612); Alexander Pope’s Four Ethic Epistles, initially published separately in 1731, 1733, 1734, and 1735. More recently, political cartoons have served as a vehicle for Horatian satire; many of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury cartoons (1970— ) are Horatian.