New Book | Seeing Satire in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on January 25, 2013

From the Voltaire Foundation:

Elizabeth C. Mansfield and Kelly Malone, eds., Seeing Satire in the Eighteenth Century, SVEC 2013:02 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2013), 320 pages, ISBN-978-0729410632, £65 / €80 / $106.

coverA 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 Gabriel 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.

Elizabeth C. Mansfield’s research encompasses modern and early modern European art. Her publications include an award-winning book on the classical legend of Zeuxis ‘Selecting Models’. She is currently Vice-President of Scholarly Programs at the National Humanities Center. Kelly Malone is a scholar of the literature and culture of eighteenth-century England. She is currently Associate Professor of English at Sewanee, the University of the South.

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Introduction, Elizabeth C. Mansfield and Kelly Malone — Seeing satire in the Age of Reason
1. Emmanuel Schwartz — Satire unmasked by reading
2. Eric Rosenberg — The impossibility of painting: the satiric inevitability of John Singleton Copley’s Boy with a Squirrel
3. Julie-Anne Plax — Watteau’s witticisms: visual humor and sociability
4. Emily Richardson — ‘Tu n’as pas tout vü!’: seeing satire in the Saint-Aubin Livre de Caricatures
5. Melissa Lee Hyde — Needling: embroidery and satire in the hands of Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin
6. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell — ‘He is not dressed without a muff’: muffs, masculinity, and la mode in English satire
7. Trevor Burnard — ‘A compound mongrel mixture’: racially coded humor, satire, and the denigration of white Creoles in the British Empire 1784-1834
8. Reva Wolf — Seeing satire in the peepshow
9. Steven Minuk — Swift’s satire of vision
10. Michael Yonan — Messerschmidt, the Hogarth of sculpture
11. Katherine Mannheimer — Anatomizing print’s perils: Augustan satire’s textual bodies
12. Marcus C. Levitt — ‘Women’s wiles’ in Mikhail Chulkov’s The Comely Cook
List of illustrations

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