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Wagner, Peter: "Hogarth’s graphic palimpsests. Intermedial adaptation of popular literature." In: Word & Image 7.4 (1991), S. 329–347.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Wagner1991
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Keywords: Bildzyklus, Frühformen des Comics, Großbritannien, Hogarth. William, Intermedialität, Kunst, Populärkultur
Collection: Word & Image
My subject is the pictorial allusion to verbal discourse that is part of William Hogarth’s satiric iconography. Tracing just one small strand of the ‘architexte’ that informs what might be called, in Gerard Genette’s terms, Hogarth’s graphic ‘palimpsests’, I hope to be able to shed some light on an aspect of the dialectic of word and image [which] seems to be a construct in the fabric of signs that a culture weaves around itself. The focus of this paper is not on classics of English literature which, like great continental art, had undoubtedly exerted an important influence on Hogarth’s ideology as an artist. I shall be concerned here with popular forms of drama and ballads, with two genres of popular literature which, unlike the novel for instance, also addressed the plebeian audience instead of excluding it. Constituting a form of intermediality (i.e., the representation of literature in pictures), these writings are important not only because of their satirical functions, but also as signifiers of a cultural force shaping the ‘mentalites’ of Hogarth’s time. These include what M. D. George has termed ‘stereotypes, fixed ideas and prejudices’, but also the critical discourse about Hogarth’s works that started with Rouquet, Lichtenberg and Trusler. Finally, the evidence presented here will perhaps put us in a better position to answer the controversial question whether eighteenth-century English society should be seen in terms of ‘patrician society’ versus ‘plebeian culture’ or as a more unified, coherent structure in which cultural exchange occurred between the various social strata.
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