With the publication of Marcus Wood's Radical Satire and Print Culture 1790-1822 there is at last a study that does justice to the work produced collaboratively between 1816 and 1822 by the poet and radical journalist William Hone and the brilliant young graphic artist George Cruikshank.
The book provides new ways into the study of radical and Romantic satire. It uncovers hitherto forgotten or unimagined contexts for the work of Hone, Cruikshank, and their contemporaries. Radical satire fused the literary and political inheritance of seventeenth and eighteenth-century satire with the most up-to-date developments in advertising, popular publishing, and the print trade. Wood scrutinizes the complex parodic experiments which resulted, and reveals the satires which proliferated around the Peterloo Massacre and the Queen Caroline affair to evade distinctions between literature and trash, art and advertising, politics and propaganda.
The book is also a major contribution to the current debate on relations between satire and parody. Popular satire in the Romantic age emerges as essentially parodic, extending beyond literary travesty to work upon dress codes, social customs, architecture, and the languages of church and law. Radical Satire and Print Culture teaches us that in order to understand the operations of parody we must be as ready to spot a reference to Packwood's celebrated razor strops, or to a Lutheran pornographic woodcut, as to pounce upon an echo from The Rape of the Lock.
`Marcus Wood's book is an important addition to recent work on popular radicalism in the romantic period...uncovering of a "satirical inheritance" is central to his iportant argument about the historical self-conciousness of radical culture...There is no doubting his claim to have stressed the daring and even joyous nature of much radical propaganda and to have examined that work in its own terms and not as a poor cousin to the canon. That job has been
carried out with an admirable combination of enthusiasm and precision.'
Review of English Studies
``a marvellously rich study, concentrating on the work of William Hone and George Cruikshank ... Marcus Wood's excellent book suggests further questions abou the consumption of revolutionary taste.'
Times Literary Supplement'
Library 17:4 1995
`richly illustrated study'
International Review of Social History
`The background materials alone that Radical Satire and Print Culture provides is worth the price of admission to the carnival world of radical satire that this book persuasively reconstructs...The rich anecdotal scene Wood constructs gains momentum into a thoroughly persuasive argument, or series of arguments,that detail the way in which the radical press waged a linguistic war against the government.'
Scholars of the more flexibly defined eighteenth century tend to work accross disciplines, looking at continuities and seeking to reconstruct cultural history...Wood's Radical Satire is a significant contribution to that reconstruction...radical Satire is so deeply grounded in archival research and so well informed by critical intelligence that it is one of the most important studies of verbal and visual satires during the period 1700-1822. It is also a very
significant historical study of the genre of parody during the long eighteenth century.
`valuable and study ... Wood's achievement in presenting the work of Spence and Hone within the framework of the traditions they inherited is undeniable, and his work will be essential for any future understanding of the cultural world in which Romanticism existed.'
P.M.S. Dawson, University of Manchester, Romanticism
`an important addition to recent work on popular radicalism in the Romantic period ... There is ... no doubting his claim to have 'stressed the daring and even joyous nature of much radical propaganda' and to have 'examined that work in its own terms and not as a poor cousin to the canon'. That job has been carried out with an admirable combination of enthusiasm and precision.'
John Whale, University of Leeds, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLVII, No. 188, Nov '96