Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

application of the word, and this is the meaning which 
I attach to it in the prefent volume. During the middle 
ages, and for fome period after (in fpecial branches), 
literature-I mean poetry, fatire, and popular literature 
of all kinds-belonged to fociety, and not to the 
individual authors, Who Were but workmen who gained 
a living by fatisfying fociety's Wants; and its changes 
in form or charaiter depended all upon the varying 
progrefs, and therefore changing neceiiities, of fociety 
itfelf. This is the reafon why, efpecially in the earlier 
periods, nearly the Whole mats of the popular-i-I may, 
perhaps, be allowed to call it the focial literature of the 
middle ages, is anonymous; and itvwas only at) rare 
intervals that fome individual rofe and made himfelf a 
great name by the fuperiority of his talents. A certain 
number of Writers of fabliaux put their names to their 
compofitions, probably becaufe they were names of 
Writers who had gained the reputation of telling better 
or racier Pcories than many of their fellows. In fome 
branches of literature--as in the fatirical literature of the 
fixteenth century_f0ciety {till exercifed this kind of 
influence over it; and although its great monuments 
owe everything to the peculiar genius of their authors, 
they were produced under the preffure of focial cir- 


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