Thursday, December 24, 2009

Satiric Pamphlets: George Cruikshank and William Hone

On display are bound pamphlets that reflect George Cruikshank’s early work and collaboration with William Hone. The Stamp Act of 1810 increased the prices of books and newspapers, and pamphlets were a low-cost alternative. The affordability of these pamphlets helped to broaden literacy and was ideal for exposing and ridiculing the foolishness and corruption in government and society. In the 1840s the importance of the pamphlet diminished with the emergence of the mass-market newspaper press, which effectively lowered the price of newspapers and books and made them more affordable.

George Cruikshank (1792–1878) is considered one of the most prolific English illustrators and satirists. He began his career as a child during the Golden Age of English Satire (1770–1820) producing political and social caricatures. These satires were sold as individually etched sheets or in pamphlets.

William Hone (1780–1842) was a popular bookseller and publisher. He is considered one of the most influential radical journalists in the early part of the nineteenth century and was well known for publishing anti-government and satirical pamphlets.

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