chapter  4
Allegorical Metamorphoses and Antic Transformations
ByJacqueline Reid-Walsh
Pages 23

Here I continue examining the format of the turn-up book initiated in the last chapter. In that chapter, the focus lay on a 17th-century religious text, The Beginning, Progress and End of Man, and its subsequent modifications into Metamorphosis. These are both instances of “cheap” print formed of woodcuts and initially addressed to a wide audience but later adapted toward children. The focus in this chapter is on two kinds of sophisticated turn-up books formed of engraved words and images and popular in late 18th-century England. Such turn-up books are remediations or formal refashionings of other popular texts. The first kind is intended for moral instruction directed towards a gendered, middling class audience of boys or girls and transmits morals in an interactive manner. The second is meant for entertainment and directed towards a wide audience, including the young. This kind is a crossover text based on popular theater (such as puppet shows, early circus, and especially the pantomime) and exploiting the possibilities of performance to create incongruous transformations. Key questions concerning the types of remediations the books display and the flexibility of the turn-up book design can be raised in regard to these two different kinds. How could such a simple format convey oppositional content so effectively?