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The Lithographic Conspiracy

How Satire Framed Liberal Political Debate in Nineteenth-Century France

Amy Wiese Forbes

This article discusses political satire under the July Monarchy. It analyzes how the question of satire's political meaning was generated and framed in the 1830s as debate over abstract rights under the new, supposedly more liberal government of the July Monarchy. Following the Revolution of 1830, lithographic satire became connected conceptually to political conspiracy and was argued to be harmful to the new regime. State institutions, including the police, the courts, and the National Assembly, attempted to understand and define satire politically. The effort to evaluate satire's potential harm to the state shaped French liberalism into a contest between rights to free speech and protection from harm. This process was part of a broader struggle to construct legitimate authority in France.

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Montagnes Russes and Calicot

Print Culture and Visual Satire in Restoration Paris

Peggy Davis

Restoration-era discourse on the montagnes russes—early roller coasters—reveals how leisure activity could become a lightning rod for perspectives on public space, tensions among social groups, and expressions of patriotism. Eager to profit from the montagnes russes craze, boulevard theaters hosted a number of plays on the subject. Through the buffoonish character M. Calicot, one such comedy—entitled The Battle of the Mountains— caricatured young clothing-trade salesclerks who frequented roller-coaster parks. The play provoked the ire of some of these men, who “waged war” on the Variety Theater, where the play was performed. The conflict in turn sparked satires in print, visual, and other media. These cultural productions both reflected the short-lived mania for roller coasters and shaped attitudes in their own right, all while employing laughter to deal with postwar trauma.

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Offshore Desires

Mobility, Liquidity and History in Shakespeare’s Mediterranean

Rui Carvalho Homem

can be modally inflected by romance and satire. I am interested in addressing how in The Comedy of Errors and Pericles Shakespeare (partly determined by his sources) dislocates transactions observed in the mercantile and monetary world around him

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Women's Liberation

Swedish Feminist Comics and Cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s

Anna Nordenstam and Margareta Wallin Wictorin

, depicting some kind of humorous and/or political situation which is generally accompanied by a caption. Humour and satire, including irony, as strategies to challenge the patriarchy and prejudiced men are used in many of the comics, in some cases to contest

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The Crown and the Crowd

Sublimations of Monarchy in Georgian Satirical Prints

David Morgan

that is accepted by its citizens. In the case of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century metropolitan Britain, one way in which this function was vividly fulfilled was by means of the ‘efflorescence’ of visual satire that appeared in the print shops of

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Impolite Interventions?

English Satirical Prints in the Presence of the Academy, c. 1750–1780

Danielle Thom

This article examines the reciprocity between satirical and academic modes of image making, and locates that relationship within the context of an emergent bourgeois public sphere. The cultural and commercial imperatives of that sphere enabled its inhabitants to engage with conflicting modes of cultural output, consuming grotesque and bawdy satire as an exercise in political autonomy, while simultaneously emulating 'elite' politeness. In particular, the commercial growth and increasing visibility of satirical prints challenged the polite hierarchy of art as it was understood by the nascent academies and societies of art established in the same period. This process of establishment needs to be re-framed in the context of satirical intervention, and will be examined via two paintings that provoked distinct satirical responses: Benjamin West's The Death of Wolfe and Francis Hayman's The See-Saw. Correspondingly, satirical print culture itself can be reframed in light of its use (and parody) of academic visual tropes and techniques.

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David Ball

There were probably close to ten thousand tracts, fliers, and leaflets written and distributed in French cities in May-June 1968, part of the sudden explosion of speech (“la parole”) in the public space. Both the quantity of political speech in all walks of life—not just among students—and its subject (transforming society) point to a revolutionary wish, whether openly stated in serious, often Marxist, language or implicitly expressed through satire, play, and derision. Thousands of impassioned leaflets call for the profound transformation of social relations in the workplace and ultimately for the abolition of capitalism; many others use various forms of mockery to subvert established authority, which, in that political context, amounted to the same thing. This remarkable mass of literature suggests that—contrary to revisionist views of “Mai” now widely aired in France—May '68 was revolutionary at heart.

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Local Laughter, Global Polemics

Understanding Charlie Hebdo

Jane Weston Vauclair

Charlie Hebdo became a global name following the tragic events of 7 January 2015 in Paris. Following this, two competing, somewhat reductive forms of commentary on Charlie Hebdo rapidly emerged in the global media. Could Charlie Hebdo effectively be sidelined as a case of egregiously irresponsible and offensive satire, even if the attacks per se were inexcusable? Or could its cartoonists instead be championed as martyrs to free speech, having proved to have a backbone of conviction and courage that had been lacking elsewhere in the media? This article argues that a dual set of tensions have come to the fore through Charlie's vertiginous global exposure. These are tensions between the local and the global, and between the ethics of conviction and the ethics of responsibility. It looks to highlight how Charlie Hebdo's contributors have been engaging with these tensions, both in the 'survivor's issue' of 14 January 2015 and in other spaces of commentary.

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Poverty in Freedom versus Opulence in Chains

Satirical Exposé of the Postcolonial Dictatorships in Kourouma's Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote

Isaac Ndlovu

In my examination of Ahmadou Kourouma's satirical 'historiographic metafiction' (Hutcheon 1988: 93) Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote [1998] (2004), I argue that this narrative shows that in postcolonial Africa freedom from colonial rule has resulted neither in privilege nor power for the majority of African citizens. In the novel, Kourouma employs but also subverts the style of donsomana or praise poetry in his satirisation of postcolonial African ways of wielding political power. Largely narrated by Bingo, a satirical griot, the novel adopts a mock-epic mode as a way of acknowledging but also subverting both traditional African and European modernistic conceptualisations of the historical and literary. Among other things, the title of the novel satirises the inadequacy of electoral processes imposed by the Western nations to bring about smooth power transitions and genuine freedoms to the African populace. The novel's title also mocks African rulers for undermining democracy and those who are ruled for their inability to seize the voting opportunities, which in the novel are sometimes presented as moments of genuine civil power, to rid themselves of the emasculating dictators.

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The Tortured Signifier

Satire, Censorship, and the Textual History of Troilus and Cressida

Roger Stritmatter

Why does the 1609 quarto of Troilus and Cressida exist in two states, each with a distinct title page (S1 and S2, Figure One)? Surely this textual doubling is the most conspicuous illustration of W.W. Greg’s admonition that Troilus is a ‘play of puzzles, in respect of its textual history no less than its interpretation’. Despite more than a century of speculation, contemporary criticism seems no closer to a satisfying solution. Traditionally, answers have focused on hypothetical market-driven preferences of the publishers, Richard Bonian and Henry Whalley: S1’s reference to performance at the Globe theatre is false because it was ‘unlikely that this play was ever performed to an audience at the Globe’ and the preface to S2 constitutes ‘an assurance that the play was designed for some private occasion or company’. Or the publishers supposed that having two different states of the title page would incite publicity and ‘stimulate sales’, or one publisher, for some unidentified reason, preferred one title page, and the other, another. Or ‘they decided to avoid a copyright dispute with His Majesty’s Servants by leaving them unnamed either in the title or the epistle’, or ‘they discovered after printing was under way that the play had held the stage only briefly but had attracted a sophisticated following’. No wonder that William Godshalk has recently chastised Troilus critics for substituting unverifiable speculation for sober interpretation of factual evidence, encouraging a disciplined return to a ‘facts first, then interpretation’ inquiry model.