Hegenbarth, Carly Louise (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis assesses how negative attitudes towards the Methodist movement and one of its’ leaders, John Wesley (1703-1791), impacted on image making in the late eighteenth century. The thesis focuses upon one title page illustration and six frontispieces from a series of anti-Methodist publications produced in London in 1778-9: The Fanatic Saints; or, Bedlamites Inspired. A Satire, Perfection. A Poetical Epistle, The Temple of Imposture; a poem, Sketches for Tabernacle-frames, a poem, The Love-Feast, a poem and Fanatical Conversion; or, Methodism displayed. A satire, which exists in two versions. It provides the first in-depth analysis of these images. It is argued that the foci images had a discursive function, coding vast bodies of knowledge into a compact form through the use of visual symbols and embedded textual labels, captions and intertextual references. Various, readily legible, discourses around sovereignty and governance, unreason, the passions and religious enthusiasm, poor relief, gin and idleness and religious imposture and priestcraft, were coded and decoded in relation to specific emergent anxieties around John Wesley’s temporal and spiritual influence, his alleged duplicitous intent and London Methodism. The thesis argues that the foci images mediated, reconstituted, synthesised and transformed logocentric areas of discourse around Wesley and Methodism.
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