Exhibition | Character Mongers

Posted in exhibitions, graduate students, lectures (to attend) by Caitlin Smits on September 6, 2016


James Gillray, High Change in Bond Street, ou, La Politesse du Grande Monde, published March 27th 1796 by H. Humphrey, etching with hand coloring (The Lewis Walpole Library, 796.03.27.01+).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From The Lewis Walpole Library:

Character Mongers, or, Trading in People on Paper in the Long 18th Century
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, 10 October 2016 — 27 January 2017

Curated by Rachel Brownstein and Leigh-Michil George

In the course of the long eighteenth century—the Age of Caricature, and of The Rise of the Novel—the British reading public perfected the pastime of savoring characters. In a flourishing print culture, buying and selling likenesses of people and types became a business—and arguably an art. Real and imaginary characters—actual and fictional people—were put on paper by writers and graphic artists, and performed onstage and off. The exigencies of narrative, performance, and indeed of community conspired to inform views of other people—friend and foe, fat and thin—as tellingly, characters. “For what do we live,” Jane Austen’s Mr. Bennet would ask rhetorically in 1813, “but to make sport for our neighbours and laugh at them in our turn?”

This exhibit will feature images by William Hogarth, James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, Thomas Patch, Edward Francis Burney, Francis Grose, and G.M. Woodward, excerpts from novels by Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Henry Fielding, and Laurence Sterne, and examples of graphic collections published by Matthew and Mary Darly and Thomas Tegg that marketed caricature as entertainment.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Public Talk | Eating People
Rachel Brownstein (Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY)
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, Wednesday, 16 November 2016, 7:00pm

Offered in collaboration with the Farmington Libraries. Advance registration required.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Graduate Student Seminar | Character and Caricature
Rachel Brownstein (Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY)
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, Friday, 18 November 2016

Caricature relies on a double take: you recognize both the person represented and the artist’s critical, comic view, register both the familiar and the strange. Basic to what E.H. Gombrich called “the cartoonist’s arsenal” is the contrast between extremes, differences in scale (fat and thin, short and tall) that define a character in relation to another (the thing it is not). Pairings proliferate, sometimes by accident, always by design.

History has a hand in the process. The fathers of Charles James Fox and William Pitt were also political rivals, and Fox in fact was plump and Pitt skinny. But as Simon Schama imagines it, the artist James Gillray, commissioned in 1789 to produce a formal portrait of Pitt, could not but see him with a caricaturist’s eye, as “angular where Fox was sensual, repressed where Fox was spontaneously witty, … the upper lip stiff as a board, where both of Fox’s were fat, shiny cushions.”  Schama speculates, “How could he resist? He didn’t. The ‘formal portrait’ looked like a caricature, or at the very least a ‘character.’” Is the one a version of the other?

Coming with different questions from different disciplines, we will consider caricatures by Gillray and others, bringing fresh perspectives to the questions they raise about the relation of caricature to character and to being ‘a character,’ as well as to the trick of contrast, to historical context, and to point of view.

The program is open by application. Preference will be given to graduate students. For further details contact Cynthia Roman, cynthia.roman@yale.edu. Yale Shuttle to and from New Haven. Accommodation at the Library’s Timothy Root House may be available at no charge upon inquiry.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Talk with Edward Koren
Edward Koren (Cartoonist, The New Yorker Magazine)
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, New Haven, 13 December 2016, 5:30pm

“In my cartoon drawings, I like getting things right… What captures my attention is all the human theater around me. I can never quite believe my luck in stumbling upon riveting minidramas taking place within earshot (and eyeshot), a comedy of manners that seem inexhaustible. And to be always undercover makes my practice of deep noticing more delicious. I can take in all the details as long as I appear inattentive—false moustache and dark glasses in place. All kinds of wonderful moments of comedy happen right under my nose…”
On Cartooning, by Edward Koren

Edward Koren’s iconic images record the comedy of manners in society and politics that have captured his attention for decades. In this talk, he will reflect on his career as a New Yorker artist, and on the many and diverse influences that have contributed to the development of his thinking and drawing.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Art of Observational Satire: A Conversation
Rachel Brownstein and Edward Koren, moderated by Cynthia Roman
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, Friday, 14 December 2016, 2:00pm

Edward Koren, a long-time cartoonist, and Rachel Brownstein, a literary scholar, will reflect on the enduring tradition of social satire. Space is limited. Please register in advance.

Note (added 17 October 2016) — The original posting incorrectly listed the 13 December talk as scheduled for mid-afternoon. My apologies for any confusion –CH.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: