The UVic Writer's Guide

Low Burlesque: Travesty (Hudibrastic Poem); Lampoon

A travesty uses an undignified form or style to deal with a serious or lofty subject. Samuel Butler's Hudibras (1663) travesties the Puritans and the Commonwealth they briefly ruled (1649-60) by using the form of a degraded romance (a story of misadventures told in doggerel rhyme) to describe a Puritan knight:

We grant, although he had much wit,
He was very shy of using it;
As being loath to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holidays, or so,
As men their best apparel do.

A lampoon is a short satire or segment of a literary work that burlesques a particular person, usually caricaturing the victim's physical appearance and other distinguishing characteristics. John Dryden lampoons George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, in a lengthy passage of "Absalom and Achitophel" (1681):

In squandering wealth was his peculiar art:
Nothing went unrewarded but desert. . . .

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated April 11, 1995