A review of William Hogarth's Marriage à la Mode with particular reference to character and setting

Cowley, Robert L.S (1977). A review of William Hogarth's Marriage à la Mode with particular reference to character and setting. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The thesis has been prepared on the assumption that Hogarth's picture series are essentially narrative works. They are considered in the Introduction in the light of recent definitions of the narrative strip, a medium in which Hogarth was a considerable innovator.

The first six chapters consist of an analysis of each of the pictures in Marriage á la Mode. The analysis was undertaken as a means of exploring the nature of Hogarth's imagination and to discover how coherent a work the series is. There is an emphasis on characterization and setting because Hogarth himself chose to isolate character as a feature in the subscription ticket to Marriage á la Mode. The figures acquire their depth through their interaction with the setting. The interaction compensates for the lack of physical movement in Hogarth's picture narratives and is a source of much of his humour. A number of sections are concerned with relevant background information, such as the traditional rivalry between the cities of London and Westminster, and the medical details of the quack doctor's laboratory.

The seventh chapter is concerned with the literary allusion in Marriage á la Mode, particularly to the popular drama of the time. The eighth is concerned with the extensive and ironic use of analogies. The ninth chapter is concerned with the subject of structure, including the delineation of the rôle of the projected spectator as defined by the work which contains him. The tenth is about theme and includes the use made of the traditional elements and 'humours'.

It is concluded that Marriage á la Mode is a tragi-comic and melodramatic work, and that Hogarth in what are here termed periphrastic sequences came close to making images behave like words without their becoming dependent on any verbal form. His achievement lay in the ability intelligently to organize diversity into a unified structure, similar to that of situation comedy.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5590


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