Seeing satire in the eighteenth century
About the Book
A moment in history when verbal satire, caricature, and comic performance exerted unprecedented influence on society, the Enlightenment sustained a complex, though now practically invisible, culture of visual humor. In Seeing satire in the eighteenth century contributors recapture the unique energy of comic images in the works of key artists and authors whose satirical intentions have been obscured by time.
From a decoding of Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin’s Livre de caricatures as a titillating jibe at royal and courtly figures, a reinterpretation of the man’s muff as an emblem of foreignness, foppishness and impotence, a reappraisal of F. X. Messerschmidt’s sculpted heads as comic critiques of Lavater’s theories of physiognomy, to the press denigration of William Wilberforce’s abolitionist efforts, visual satire is shown to extend to all areas of society and culture across Europe and North America. By analysing the hidden meaning of these key works, contributors reveal how visual comedy both mediates and intensifies more serious social critique. The power of satire’s appeal to the eye was as clearly understood, and as widely exploited in the Enlightenment as it is today.
Includes over 80 illustrations.
Elizabeth C. Mansfield and Kelly Malone, Introduction: seeing satire in the Age of Reason
Emmanuel Schwartz, 1. Satire unmasked by reading
Eric Rosenberg, 2. The impossibility of painting: the satiric inevitability of John Singleton Copley’s Boy with a squirrel
Julie-Anne Plax, 3. Watteau’s witticisms: visual humor and sociability
Emily Richardson, 4. ‘Tu n’as pas tout vü !’: seeing satire in the Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures
Melissa Lee Hyde, 5. Needling: embroidery and satire in the hands of Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin
Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, 6. ‘He is not dressed without a muff’: muffs, masculinity, and la mode in English satire
Trevor Burnard, 7. ‘A compound mongrel mixture’: racially coded humor, satire, and the denigration of white Creoles in the British Empire 1784-1834
Reva Wolf, 8. Seeing satire in the peepshow
Steven Minuk, 9. Swift’s satire of vision
Michael Yonan, 10. Messerschmidt, the Hogarth of sculpture
Katherine Mannheimer, 11. Anatomizing print’s perils: Augustan satire’s textual bodies
Marcus C. Levitt, 12. ‘Women’s wiles’ in Mikhail Chulkov’s The Comely cook
List of illustrations