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Lichtenberg’s excretory vision of Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg identifies the paper as an 'advertisement' for anodyne necklaces, a medical panacea of the time. This chapter provides a brief introduction to Lichtenberg, his commentaries of William Hogarth and A Harlot's Progress. Lichtenberg suggests that he has interpreted the images with what he calls, in a laconic notebook entry, 'the hermeneutics of hypochondria'. The chamber pots and enemas that he finds in the images come to be amusing and self-reflective metaphors for the dangers of interpretive excess. The significance of the excretory accoutrements that Lichtenberg projects into Hogarth's prints is that they, like the Umschrift on the advertisement for anodyne necklaces, become allegories for his hermeneutic method. In fact, they become allegorical for the very techniques that conceal and reveal them: chamber pots represent Lichtenberg's structural readings of the prints; and enemas stand for his Cynic principle of transposition.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
Treatises on farting

Pierre-Thomas-Nicholas Hurtaut offers a sort of stylistic analysis of the overweening pomposity which epitomizes the scientific discourse of the eighteenth century. Like Hurtaut, Claude-Francois-Xavier Mercier de Compiègne satirises the pompous style, but the caricature is sometimes pushed to the extreme and reveals a criticism of the Enlightenment which is never clearly articulated. In Mercier and Hurtaut it is more than a simple game of parody, acting instead as a pretext for mocking the pretensions of the thinkers of their time: the moralists, philosophers and men of science. Mercier's and Hurtaut's parodic texts formed part of the trend of stigmatising the excesses of the Enlightenment. If the text is a caricature of the scholarly treatises of the time, and a caricature of the Enlightenment more generally, the repeated blasphemies remain ambiguous.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
Variations on the abdomen in Marivaux’s L’Homère travesti and Le Télémaque travesti

Pierre de Marivaux's parodies follow the burlesque tradition, which is particularly characterised by the traditional procedure of inversion. In Le Télémaque travestiand L'Homère travesti, the use of 'potbelly' and 'paunch', instead of 'belly', provides an example of this inversion. In Le Télémaque travestiand L'Homère travesti, Marivaux makes no effort to hide the embarrassment that the belly may visit upon its owner, and he relates these digestive disturbances to material realities. The belly becomes the material location of desire. By mentioning the digestive problems of certain characters, Marivaux says things that the hypotexts never say, that they have censured. He also restores the material bodies of the epic heroes. Far removed from the image of the athletic bodies of the epic heroes and the muscular abdomens of the ancient warriors, these nouns enable the creation of paunchy, podgy heroes, that is to say, anti-heroes.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
Hogarth’s bodies

William Hogarth's approach to art and visual culture was both spontaneous and complex, irreverent and respectful, democratic and critical. One of the most striking characteristics of Hogarth's oeuvre is its constant preoccupation with the representation of the forms of life. Rotund bellies and double chins, emaciated grins and dishevelled hair, rouged cheeks and spotty foreheads combine in his paintings and engravings as a kind of grammar, and constitute one of his most expressive narrative devices. Hogarth, as one of the most prominent skilled practitioners of the genre, was very much aware of the staging involved. An example of the importance of bodies in the search for the beauty of balance is provided by Hogarth's famous pictures, O the Roast Beef of Old England, that rather ferocious depiction of French Ancien Régime mediocrities. Hogarth's main originality was his questioning of art's ambition to 'correct', 'improve' or 'beautify' nature.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century

In Catholic countries, the healing and fertilising caves, springs and stones had been replaced by a variety of saints of the bowels, to whom their devotees similarly prayed for restoration of their intestinal health. Eighteenth-century parishioners suffering from various bellyaches still fervently prayed for the intercession of the saints. The common denominator is the mechanism of disembowelment used to tear out the entrails of the earth and those of the saint. The etymology of the various forms of St Agapit's name explains why he was endowed with the power to heal. The devotion to the healing saints of the entrails therefore points to a dual level of symbolic references: the belly of the martyr and the belly of the earth. The life of St Mammès illustrates of this dual background.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
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The social imaginary of the London bog-house c.1660–c.1800

In eighteenth-century, London excremental horror was overlaid with a more pragmatic sense of why women might dispose of a dead child in a bog-house. As Sawney in the Bog House reveals, the visitor had not grasped the cultural logic of a multi-seater privy. Although the spatial symbolism and social situation of the privy in earlier centuries were very different, its cultural resonance was no less far-reaching. In The Political Bog-House Fox sits uncertainly, clad half in tartan and half in English clothes, half in and half on the double privy. The privy, convenience, necessary-house, bog-house, house of office belonged to the city's 'backstage'; it was a place to which one withdrew; it was emptied by a lowly, often stigmatized group, the nightmen. Modern historiography instinctively sees the privy as liable to mephitic malfunction. But the London privy did more than veil metropolitan arses.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
The experience of the sick in the eighteenth century

Throughout eighteenth-century Europe, epistolary consultations constitute an important archive in which to explore the experience of any illness in the Enlightenment. This chapter provides an analysis of the patients' discourse, in order to show the diversity of the expressions they marshal as they draw attention to the link between their entrails and their soul. The patients peer into the deepest recesses of their bodies to catch sight of their impressions and sensations, and describe them in their own words with determined accuracy. The aerial element, in conjunction with the circulation of the humours and the pathways of the nerves, contributes to the formation of sensations. The aerial, or more precisely the hydropneumatic element, is not limited to the abdomen. The experience of the sick, then, is set against a medico-scientific landscape, which emphasises the connection between the abdomen and the operations of the mind.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
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Art, pedagogy and politics in Revolutionary France

In late eighteenth-century France, at the seeming height of neoclassicism in the arts with its goal of idealised form al'antica in the depiction of the human figure, an intensified fascination with the visual experience of viscera emerged. This chapter examines a few salient examples that reveal the new importance of depictions of the interior of the body and especially its presence in and significance for Revolutionary France. It addresses the extent to which idealised form and corruptible flesh are conjoined and become prominent in the visual culture of the period and the possible impact of political ideas and ideals on the production of this imagery. The écorché, valued since the Renaissance as a basic pedagogical tool for artists and known in two-dimensional as well as three-dimensional formats, was revitalised in France in the eighteenth century by the sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
Faecal references in eighteenth-century French théâtre de société

This chapter shows that the faecal motif was part of an aesthetic, or even sometimes political, contestation. The first thing to bear in mind is that above all else, eighteenth-century théâtre de société audiences were theatre lovers. Faecal references in théâtre de société seem to have been associated with two distinct forms of enjoyment: the pleasure of recognition and the pleasure of impropriety. Théâtre de société audiences were highly cultured: they would recognise a source text and a specific tragic style. The excremental references were part of a rebellious discourse, and the scatological theatre the sign of the rejection of a state of affairs. The silent aesthetic revolution had ideological implications as N. Rizzoni remarks, and the question of the belly was also associated with the infighting that scatological plays dramatized.

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century

In October 1642 Parliament made a commitment to financially support soldiers who had been wounded in their service as well as the widows of those who had been killed. The administration of military welfare was the responsibility of the Justices of the Peace at each county’s Quarter Sessions and this chapter will examine the process in Kent. This county did not experience large scale military action until 1648 and yet it was profoundly affected by the events of the mid-seventeenth century and witnessed loss and division within its own borders throughout the 1640s. This chapter will present evidence taken from Quarter Sessions records in order to discuss who received pensions in Kent and what impact local and national politics had on the administration of that relief.

in Battle-scarred