Coloured Political Lithographs as Irish Propaganda

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This comprehensive study of late nineteenth century Irish political cartoons published in nationalist newspapers and periodicals examines how popular art in the service of propaganda became a primary means of shaping public opinion during the first seven years of Charles Stewart Parnell’s struggle to lead the Irish peasantry into Home Rule (ca. 1879-1886). This period, which was marked by intense political upheaval characterized by coercion and conciliation, raised such issues as landownership, censorship of the press, and legislative relations between Ireland and England. The complimentary emblematic Irish “types” – Pat Murphy and Erin – whose features affirmed the patriotic desires of the masses, embodied the heroicized ideals of the tenant class and stood in remarkable contrast to the vulgar hyperbole of James Gillray’s earlier physiognomic models and to the siminaized Fenians appearing in contemporary English satirical journals such as Punch. Other visual also approaches appeared in the Irish nationalist political cartoons with great frequency, including: pantomime and farce; the convergence of “high” art and popular art; the fantastic; the cult of Shakespeare; Faustian allusions; Swiftian appropriations; nursery rhymes; and anthropomorphic narratives. Moreover, these Irish nationalist images are not what we at the turn of the twenty-first century think of as political cartoons today: small, black-and-white inserts set alongside editorials. Instead, they were large-format and color, suitable for framing, and placed gratis in the Saturday editions of large-run periodicals that reached an expanding, literate audience.


“ …[Dr. Joel Hollander] has weighed his interpretations against historical research and the known facts, providing rare insights that readers will find both compelling and fully involving. No one will ever again dismiss the period of his investigations as bereft of importance … Dr. Hollander’s work establishes many new artists as purveyors of an indignant point of view that demands sensitive study in order to see how the past still has relevance for the future.” – (From the Foreword) Professor Gabriel P. Weisberg, University of Minnesota

“Dr. Joel A. Hollander has written a lively narrative of an especially rich and complex period in the history of English-Irish politics ... his valuable and original contribution is that he formulates the high points of his account based on the political caricatures that appeared in the Irish newspapers at the time … one of the crucial aspects of Hollander’s book is his validation of the importance of caricature itself – not only for the historical record but for its playfulness, spontaneity, expressiveness, and formal invention.” – Professor Paula Harper, University of Miami

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gabriel P. Weisberg
1. The Land League
2. The Outrage[ou]s
3. The Land Act of 1881
4. Freedom of the Press
5. The Orange Emergency
6. The Vionent Entente
7. The National League
8. Waning Liberal Influence
9. Conservative Control
10. Conversion and Fate

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