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Harvey Miller
T. Odumosu
Africans in English Caricature 1769–1819
Black Jokes White Humour

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223 p., 49 b/w ill. + 88 colour ill., 220 x 280 mm, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-909400-50-4
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 100,00 excl. tax
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Between 1769 and 1819 London experienced an unprecedented growth in the proliferation of texts and images in the popular sphere, engaging learned citizens in discussion and commentary on the most pressing social and political issues of the day. From the repeal of the Stamp Act to the French revolution, the local Westminster election or the abolition of the slave trade, these prints, political pamphlets, plays, novels and periodicals collaborated (sometimes intentionally) in critique, praise and assessment of the country’s changing socio-economic climate. African people were a critical aspect of this world of images, and their presence conveyed much about the implications of travel, colonialism and slavery on the collective psyche. Whether encountered on the streets of the city, in opulent stately homes, or in tracts describing the horrors of the slave trade, the British paid attention to Africans (consciously or not), and developed a means of expressing the impact of these encounters through images. Scholarship has begun to interrogate the presence of Africans in British art of this period, but very little has been written about their place in visual and literary humour created in a metropolitan context. This book fills this scholarly lacuna, exploring how and why satirical artists both mocked and utilized these characters as subversive comic weaponry.


Dr. Temi Odumosu is an art historian, educator, and cultural strategist focussed on diversifying and transforming communications practices. Her international research and curatorial interventions have been concerned with identity politics, Black aesthetics, and the psychosocial consequences of distorted representations. Working in the spaces between archives, memory and the creative imagination, she also uses technology as a tool for activating and bringing to life history and culture in the present.

“All of this, and much else besides relating to the fate and published image of Africans in cartoons, is the subject of this excellent, scholarly and beautifully illustrated book (…) The book is what it intends to be, a vast store of visual source material for historians of the ending of slavery, coinciding with the revolutions in France and Saint-Domingue, future Haiti; as such it supplies an extremely valuable contribution to scholarship on which the author must be congratulated.” (Edward Freeman, in The Humorous Times: Newsletter of the International Society for Humor Studies, 2018, p. 4-5)

Interest Classification:
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Art History (general)
Modern History (1501 to the present)

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
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