Ian Haywood explores the 'Golden Age' of caricature through the close reading of key, iconic prints by artists including James Gillray, George and Robert Cruikshank, and Thomas Rowlandson. This approach both illuminates the visual and ideological complexity of graphic satire and demonstrates how this art form transformed Romantic-era politics into a unique and compelling spectacle of corruption, monstrosity and resistance. New light is cast on major Romantic controversies including the 'revolution debate' of the 1790s, the impact of Thomas Paine's 'infidel' Age of Reason, the introduction of paper money and the resulting explosion of executions for forgery, the propaganda campaign against Napoleon, the revolution in Spain, the Peterloo massacre, the Queen Caroline scandal, and the Reform Bill crisis. Overall, the volume offers important new insights into the relationship between art, satire and politics in a key period of history.
Ian Haywood is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Romanticism at the University of Roehampton. He co-edited, with John Seed, The Gordon Riots: Politics, Culture and Insurrection in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge, 2012).
Introduction: the recording angel; 1. Milton's monsters. James Gillray, Sin, Death and the Devil (1792); 2. Lethal money: forgery and the Romantic credit crisis. James Gillray, Midas (1797), George Cruikshank and William Hone, Bank Restriction Note (1819); 3. The aesthetics of conspiracy. James Gillray, Exhibition of a Democratic Transparency (1799); 4. The spectral tyrant: Napoleon and the English dance of death. Thomas Rowlandson, The Two Kings of Terror (1813); 5. The spectropolitics of Romantic infidelism. George Cruikshank, The Age of Reason (1819); 6. The British inquisition. George Cruikshank and William Hone, Damnable Association (1821); 7. The return of the repressed: Henry Hunt and the Reform Bill crisis. William Heath/Charles Jameson Grant, Matchless Eloquence (1831).