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The Origins of ComicsFrom William Hogarth to Winsor McCay$
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Thierry Smolderen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031496

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031496.001.0001

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William Hogarth

William Hogarth

Readable Images

(p.2) (p.3) 1 William Hogarth
The Origins of Comics

Thierry Smolderen

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores the work of the eighteenth-century English painter and engraver William Hogarth, who originated the conception of drawing as a form of writing. Hogarth's readable images situated themselves between the news and the novel—that is, between journalism and the new literary form that had begun in England and revolutionized novelistic writing in Europe. By returning to Hogarth's work, one can observe the defining moment when the prehistory of comics intersected with that of literature and the modern press. Hogarth's works include A Harlot's Progress (1732), which, despite its brevity, must be regarded as a genuine novel in pictures; and Marriage-a-la-Mode (1745), a drama in six engravings.

Keywords:   painter, engraver, printed image, comics, modern press, literature, readable images

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