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William Hogarth: A Life and a World

William Hogarth: A Life and a World [Kindle Edition]

Jenny Uglow
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Born and raised in Smithfield, between the hospital and the debtor's prison, William Hogarth witnessed greed and cruelty, crime and disease, the "scummy, solid and stinking" Holborn River, the lively spectacle of "waxworks, rope-dancing and music booths" and "obscene, lascivious and scandalous plays, comedies and farces" otherwise known as Bartholomew Fair. He walked past brewers' barrels, fish stalls, ungrateful beggars, and all orders of fops, harlots and chimney sweeps--and, luckily for us, captured his vibrant 18th-century surroundings with a satirical, exacting and often tender eye.

Uglow's detailed attentions to the historical facts of the day enliven and educate this fascinating portrait of the artist. We learn, for instance, that in Hogarth's revision of "The Distressed Poet", a caricature of Alexander Pope was replaced with a relatively innocuous engraving of a poem, thereby lessening his chances of making enemies with an influential figure. With splendidly detailed explanations and asides such as these, Uglow is never plodding, never dry. Particularly amusing is her explanation of the six-plate series titled "Marriage a la Mode", and her insightful unravelling of that by-gone custom known as arranged marriage. For those who prefer to learn their history with a smile, Uglow provides a splendidly entertaining and well-researched volume. --Martha Silano

Product Description

Hogarth's prints hang in our pubs and leap out from our history-books. He painted the great and good but also the common people. His art is comically exuberant, 'carried away by a passion for the ridiculous', as Hazlitt said. In this rich, immensely pleasurable biography Jenny Uglow, acclaimed author of Elizabeth Gaskell, uncovers the man, but also the worlds he sprang from and created. After striving years as an engraver and painter, Hogarth leapt into lasting fame with his progresses of the Harlot and the Rake, the fashionable Marriage à la Mode, and the violent scenes of Gin Lane and the Stages of Cruelty. An artist of flamboyant, overflowing imagination, he was a satirist with an unerring eye; a painter of vibrant colour and tenderness; an ambitious professional who broke all the art-world taboos. Never content, he wanted to excel at everything - from engraving to history painting - and a note of risk runs through his life. In Hogarth: A Life and a World, art history comes to life in the voices of Hogarth's own age. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a great artist and a proud, stubborn, comic, vulnerable man.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11321 KB
  • Print Length: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction; New Ed edition (3 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004N3CBFC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #144,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book with good pictures too! 22 Mar 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is wonderfully readable. I can't add to the recommendations as skillfully as the other reviewers but they don't mention the reproductions of the prints and paintings that Jenny Uglow refers to. They are a bit small but always timely and with a magnifying glass (for me anyway)very detailed. Best thing I've read for ages. Helped me to form a thoroughly enjoyable appreciation of William Hogarth and of Jenny Uglow.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life and a world 18 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Jenny Uglow chose wisely when she decided to write her Hogarth biography as and old-fashioned life-and-times.
Hogarth recorded his life in his art rather than in literary documents, but fortunately for his biographers, his art everywhere displayed his attitudes to, and his interaction with, his times. It's not surprising, therefore, that Uglow's sub-title is "A Life and a World".
And she renders that world of eighteenth-century London superbly. Want to know about deism, the Bangorian Controversy, the culture of procuresses and brothels, the attitudes to women? Go for it - it's all there. Or perhaps you've forgotten what little you knew about the political system of the time, the aesthetic theories, the influence of The Spectator, or the impact of the opera on cultural life? Good - that's also there.
Not only is it there but it is also insinuated so smoothly into the biographical narrative that you're scarcely aware you're being instructed. Moreover, if the reviews I've read are representative, you may also be unaware that some of this instruction is couched in ravishingly beautiful prose. Re-read the sections on Gay's "The Beggar's Opera", Walpole's reputation and the culture of refinement and politeness, for example. Are you not in the hands of a writer who has the rhythms of classic English prose throbbing through her veins? Not convinced? Read it aloud.
At his best, Hogarth was a portraitist of genius. At her best, so is Jenny Uglow. Gaze upon her brilliant joint portrait of Hogarth and Fielding in Chapter 9, but be sure to gaze in awe.
And the mention of Fielding is a reminder that Uglow has already written a study of him, as well as biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot. Presumably she is steeped in the culture of English literature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enriching experience 29 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
An astonishing work of scholarship but also a most interesting and stimulating entertainment. Good not only on the man but on the social and political context of his life. Had I read it before attending the Hogarth exhibition at Tate Britain, I should have wanted to spend not several hours there but several weeks. My enjoyment was enhanced by the excellent illustrations but I found it useful to have a magnifying glass to hand in order to appreciate some of the fine detail. Now that I have finished the book, I want to read it all over again.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The subject of this book has always been of great interest to me. It is the best book about Hogarth that I have ever read. This book does not sell itself short by lack of detail but, at the same time, is never boring. If you are not particularly interested in the subject, it will still provide great detail about the Eighteenth Century. I would strongly and wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it as hard copy! 19 Jan 2013
By rayc
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is well up to the usual high Uglow standard: beautifully written and academically sound. Although very long it vividly captures the strengths and weaknesses of Hogarth's character.
So why only three stars? I read it as an ebook and was so distracted by the poor resolution of the illustrations that I nearly gave up reading it. Uglow refers constantly to his work by providing a close critical reading of his paintings and prints. The reader needs to refer to the illustrations and this just isn't possible with an ebook (not on mine anyway).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hogarth 5 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A definite book on the life and work of Hogarth which provides an insight into the life of a man who was involved with many famous contemporary figures and had entrées into many strata within society including such 'organisations' as t'The Hellfire Club" - a fascinating and surprisingly easy read that informs and stimulates a desire to widen reading of the society in which Hogarth lived. John Lovell.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Past Into Present
There is no biographer to touch Jenny Uglow. This, like her portraits of the great Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell and the Tyneside engraver-artist Thomas Bewick, is superb. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Gillian Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars a excellent read
I have a reason for reading Jenny Uglows book in that I am researching the relationship between Hogarth and John Rich, the mechanist and owner of the first royal opera house. Read more
Published 7 months ago by W. H. Benson
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect great pictures
I bought this as a gift for my father, so I haven't read the text. Although the book is filled with examples (in black and white) of Hogarth's work, the reproduction is poor. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Taybodger
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware before buying this book...
....that there are only 14 colour plates on 8 pages in this book, so for a tome this size and calibre, this is just a little bit disappointing to say the least.
Published 14 months ago by Luna Corona
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent gift
I bought this for my wife as a Christmas gift and it was the ideal gift for an artistic Hogarth nut. A bit of a tome but excellent detail
Published 21 months ago by David Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem of a book on Hogarth
this book was an inspiration. Not only was the subject a thoroughly British icon (I remember his pictures from school history books), but this book about him was wonderfully... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Deb
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