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'
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had been replaced by a variety of saints of the bowels, to whom their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.
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.
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.
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
Faecal references in eighteenth-century French théâtre de
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 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.
Historians of the British Civil Wars are increasingly taking notice of these bloody conflicts as a critical event in the welfare history of Europe. This volume will examine the human costs of the conflict and the ways in which they left lasting physical and mental scars after the cessation of armed hostilities. Its essays examine the effectiveness of medical care and the capacity of the British peoples to endure these traumatic events. During these wars, the Long Parliament’s concern for the ‘commonweal’ led to centralised care for those who had suffered ‘in the State’s service’, including improved medical treatment, permanent military hospitals, and a national pension scheme, that for the first time included widows and orphans. This signified a novel acceptance of the State’s duty of care to its servicemen and their families. These essays explore these developments from a variety of new angles, drawing upon the insights shared at the inaugural conference of the National Civil War Centre in August 2015. This book reaches out to new audiences for military history, broadening its remit and extending its methodological reach.
Twentieth-century practices of battlefield preservation construct war graves as sites of memory and continuing commemoration. Such ideas, though they have led archaeologists in a largely fruitless hunt for mass graves, should not be read back into the seventeenth century. Hitherto, little attention has been paid to the practices of battlefield burial, despite the suggestion that the civil wars were proportionately the bloodiest conflict in English history. This chapter analyses the evidence for the treatment of the dead of the civil wars, engaging with debates about the nature and preservation of civil-war battlefields, and the social memory of the civil wars in the mid and later seventeenth century. It concludes that ordinary civil-war soldiers were typically excluded from parish registers as a sign that they were branded as social outcasts in death.
The conclusion summarises the achievements of the volume’s chapters, and how they provide a powerful reminder that the consequences and human costs of war do not end with treaties and peace settlements, but linger for generations afterwards. It stresses the scale of the numbers injured and the increased importance of medical personnel as a result of the wars. It points the way to forthcoming research that will be done on pension records, and reflects that the seventeenth century still has much to teach us today about the provision of medical care and military welfare.