chapter  3
38 Pages

Visual and verbal caricature

WithJoe Bray

This chapter focuses on a branch of art which bears a close, if often troubled, relationship to portraiture. As the prior quotation from issue 18 suggests, the articles in London and Paris frequently emphasize both the accuracy and the complexity of Gillray's caricatures, with the literary knowledge' they demonstrate a frequent theme. The argument of the rest of this chapter is that literary forms of caricature in this period mirror developments in the graphic art and that they are capable of displaying a similar complexity and multi-facetedness. It will argue that the verbal form of caricature in their fiction exhibits an equal complexity and allusiveness and that, as with Gillray's art, its targets can be much harder to pin down than might first appear. Their aim often seems to be directed less at individuals and their philosophies than on the way theories and systems are cynically exploited by the unscrupulous or imbibed wholesale by the unsuspecting.