Brian Maidment"The Comic Image in British Print Culture 1820-1850" - Brian Maidment

Professor of the History of Print, Liverpool John Moores University

Graphic Satire and The March of Intellect 1820-1840

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 3:30pm

Otto G. Richter Library
Third Floor Conference Room
For UM Humanities Faculty & Grad Students


As British comic artists moved away from a focus on political caricature to broader forms of social satire in the late Regency and early Victorian period, they became preoccupied with the emergence of the urban laboring and middling classes. One particular symptom of social change was "the march of intellect," a complex of processes through which a new knowledge economy was being developed to support an increasingly technocratic society. The cultural and educational ambitions of the laboring classes proved an easy target for graphic satire. While there was much mockery of the aspirations of the laboring classes to gentility and cultural awareness, a closer reading suggests a more complex and troubled response to dramatic socio-political change. Professor Maidment will discuss a range of prints drawn from all levels of the marketplace, using a wide range of reprographic modes to assess the significance of caricature as a response to the cultural upheavals the time.

Brian Maidment is Professor of the History of Print in the English Department at the Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England. He also holds Visiting Professorships at the University of Ghent and at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, where he has taught a week-long graduate seminar on the history of prints since 2002. He has published widely on nineteenth-century print culture, especially Ruskin, writing by laboring class writers, early Victorian periodicals, and mass circulation publishing. More recent work has centered on prints and visual culture, especially early nineteenth-century caricature and comic illustration. His publications include Reading Popular Prints 1780–1870 (1997) and Dusty Bob—A Cultural History of Dustmen 1790–1870 (2007), and Comedy, Caricature and the Social Order 1820–1850 (2012).