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

and Art. 
Thefe various pieces, under the titles of farces, fotties, moralities, or 
whatever other names might be given to them, had become exceedingly 
popular at the beginning of the Iixteenth century, and a very confiderable 
number of them were printed, and many of them are Hill preferved, but 
they are books of great rarity, and often unique? Of thefe the farces form 
the mott numerous clafs. They confitl {imply of the tales of the older 
jougleurs or Itory-tellers reprefented in a dramatic form, but they often 
difplay great {kill in conducting the plot, and a conliderable amount of 
wit. The fiory of the {heep-Healer in the Towneley play of "The Shep- 
herds," is a veritable farce. As in the fabliaux, the molt common fubjects 
of thefe farces are love intrigues, carried on in a manner which [peaks 
little for the morality of the age in which they were written. Family 
quarrels frequently form the fubjeot of a farce, and the weakneffes and 
vices of women. The priefis, as ufual, are not ipared, but are introduced 
as the feducers of wives and daughters. In one the wives have found a 
means of re-modelling their hutbands and making them young again, 
which they put in practice with various ludicrous circumftances. Tricks 
of fervants are alfo common fubjects for thefe farces. One is the ftory of 
a boy who does not know his own father, and fome of the fnbjects are of 
a {till more trivial character, as that of the boy who Heals a tart from the 
paPtrycook's (hop. Two hungry boys, prowling about the Itreets, come to 
the {hop door jutt as the path-ycook is giving directions for fending an eel- 
pie after him. By an ingenious deception the boys gain poffeffion of the 
pie and eat it, and they are both caught and feverely chaftifed. This is 
the wl1ole plot of the farce. A dull fchoolboy examined by his matter in 
the prefence of his parents, and the mirth produced by his blunders and 
" The most remarkable collection of these early farces, sotties, and moralities 
yet known, was found accidentally in 184.5, and is now in the British Museum. 
These were all edited in Paris as the first three volumes or a work in ten, entitled 
" Ancien Theatre Francois, ou Collection des Ouvrages dramatiques les plus 
remarquahle depuis les Mysteres jusqrfa Corneille, publie.    par M. Viollet le 
Due," r2m0., Paris, 1854., It is right to state that these three volumes were edited, 
not by M. Viollet le Duc, but by a scholar better known for his learning in the 
older French literature, M. Anatole de Montaiglon.


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