Sarcasm

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sarcasm

 

a comic device, criticism expressed through scathing mockery. Sarcasm is the strongest form of irony. Although a sarcastic statement is formulated in positive terms, its negative meaning is immediately made apparent; other forms of irony preserve and develop the positive formulation, expressing criticism only by subtle implication. Sarcasm is always tendentious, merciless, and satirical; irony, when used for purposes of humor, is gentle and conciliatory. Unlike simple condemnation, sarcasm does not explicitly criticize but forces the reader himself to reassess the object of satire:

Molchalin! Who else can smooth things out so peacefully!
He knows just when to pet a pug,
And when to slip in a card.

(A. S. Griboedov, Woe From Wit)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"Seth, lad," said Adam, taking no notice of the sarcasm against himself, "thee mustna take me unkind.
Now and again he would mutter, 'Ay, well, I'll be going to vote - little did I think the day would come,' and so on, but if he rose it was only to sit down again, and at last she crossed over to him and said softly, (no sarcasm in her voice now),
"Come, come, Lebedeff, no sarcasm! It's a serious--"
The Squire's life was quite as idle as his sons', but it was a fiction kept up by himself and his contemporaries in Raveloe that youth was exclusively the period of folly, and that their aged wisdom was constantly in a state of endurance mitigated by sarcasm. Godfrey waited, before he spoke again, until the ale had been brought and the door closed--an interval during which Fleet, the deer-hound, had consumed enough bits of beef to make a poor man's holiday dinner.
'A proper allowance!' repeated his father, in tones of blighting sarcasm, for the expression was not new to him.
As they approached their own lines there was some sarcasm exhibited on the part of a gaunt and bronzed regiment that lay resting in the shade of trees.