Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art
Person:
Wright, Thomas Fairholt, Frederick William
Persistente ID:
urn:nbn:de:gbv:wim2-g-1429385
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/resolver?urn=urn:nbn:de:gbv:wim2-g-1430061
I2 
Grotgfgue 
and 
Qf Caricature 
from its origin a triple divifion, into tragedy, comedy, and the fatiric 
drama; and, being {till performed at the Dionyfiac fetiival in Athens, 
each dramatic author was expected to produce what was called a trilogy, 
that is, a tragedy, a fatirical play, and a comedy. So completely was all 
tl1is identified in the popular mind with the Worlhip of Bacchus, that, 
long afterwards, when even a tragedy did not pleafe the audience 
by its fubject, the common form of difapproval was, 1-I raiira vrpdg -row 
Atdvva-ov-"VVhat has this to do with Bacchus?" and, 063211 wpdg 1-or 
Auiuva-ov-" This has nothing to do with Bacchus." 
We have no perfect remains of the Greek fatiric drama, which was, 
perhaps, of a temporary character, and lefs frequently preferved; but the 
early Greek comedy is preferved in a certain number of the plays of 
Arittophanes, in which we can contemplate it in all its freedom of 
character. It reprefented the Waggon-jetting, of the age of Thefpis, 
in its full development. In its form it was burlefque to a wanton degree 
of extravagance, and its eilence was perfonal vililication, as well as general 
fatire. Individuals were not only attacked by the application to them of 
abufive epithets, but they were reprefented perfonally on the ltage as 
performing every kind of contemptible action, and as futfering all forts of 
ludicrous and difgraceful treatment. The drama thus bore marks of 
its origin in its extraordinary licentioufneis of language and cottume, and 
in the coniiant ufe of the matk. One of its moft favourite inltruments 
of fatire was parody, which was employed uniparingly on everything 
which fociety in its folemn moments refpected-againft everything that 
the fatiriit contidered worthy of being held up to public deriiion or fcorn. 
Religion itfelf, philofophy, focial manners and inftitutions-even p0etry- 
were all parodied in their turn. The comedies of Ariftophanes are full 
of parodies on the poetry of the tragic and other writers of his age. He 
is efpecially happy in parodying the poetry of the tragic dramatitt 
Euripides. The old comedy of Greece has thus been correctly defcribed 
as the comedy of caricature; and the ipirit, and even the fcenes, of this 
comedy, being transferred to pictorial reprefentations, became entirely 
identical with that branch of art to which we give the name of caricature 
in modern times. Under the cover of bacchanalian butfoonery, a ferious 
purpoie,
        

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