The importance of being earnest: Satire and the criticism of Law

Peter Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Even Coke joked. His humour, however, has not been taken up by commentators. Even less so his satirical allusions. It is but one instance of the way in which the humorous genre of satire has been almost completely ignored by jurists. They find it threatening, they don't know what to do with it, and it infracts antique norms of ecclesiastical dogma that common law has yet to properly examine. This article elicits the historical and theoretical reasons for the doctrinal repression of the satirical. It sets about the lengthy task of remedying the exclusion of satire from legal analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-58
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Coke
  • Genre
  • Horace
  • Humour
  • Legality
  • Quintilian
  • Satire
  • Stillingfleete

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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