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

gr Caricature 
excels, for he often draws incorreftly; but it is by his extraordinary and 
minute delineation of character, and by his wonderful tkill in telling a 
Rory thoroughly. In each of his plates we fee a whole a6t of a play, in 
which nothing is loft, nothing glolfed over, and, I may add, nothing 
exaggerated. The rnoft trifling objetit introduced into the picture is 
made to have fuch an intimate relationfhip with the whole, that it feems 
as if it would be imperfect without it. The art of producing this effect 
was that in which Hogarth excelled. The firft of Hogarth's greatfuiles 
of prints was " The Harlot's Progrefs," which was the work of the years 
I733 and 1734. It tells a {tory which was then common in London, and 
was acted more openly in the broad face of fociety than at the prefent 
day; and therefore the effeit and confequent fuccefs were almofi inIian- 
taneous. It had novelty, as well as excellence, to recommend it. This 
feries of plates was followed, in I735, by another, under the title of " The 
Rake's Progrefs." In the former, Hogarth depicted the fhame and 
ruin which attended a life of proliitution; in this, he reprefented the 
fimilar confequences which a life of profligacy entailed on the other fex. 
In many refpe6ts it is fuperior to the " Harlot's Progrefs," and its details 
come more home to the feelings of people in general, becaufe thofe of 
the pro[titute's hiitory are more veiled from the public gaze. The 
progrefs of the fpendthrift in diflipation and riot, from the moment he 
becomes poffeifed of the fruits of paternal avarice, until his career ends in 
prifon and madneis, forms a marvellous drama, in which every incident 
prefents itfelf, and every agent performs his part, fo naturally, that it 
feems almolt beyond the power of acting. Perhaps no one ever pietured 
defpair with greater perfection than it is {hown in the face and bearing of 
the unhappy hero of this hifiory, in the lafi plate but one of the feries, 
where, thrown into prifon for debt, he receives from the manager of a 
theatre the announcement that the play which he had written in the 
hope of retrieving fomewhat of his pofition-his lait refource-has been 
refufed. The returned manufcript and the manager's letter lie on the 
wretched table (cut No. 203) ; while on the one tide his wife reproaches 
him heartleiily with the deprivations and fuiferings which he has brought 
upon her, and on the other the jailer is reminding him of the fact that 


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