Barbaric Intercourse: Caricature and the Culture of Conduct, 1841-1936 By Martha Banta
8vo. pp. xiv, 433. black & white illustrations. bibliography. index. wrs. Chicago & London: University of Chicago, 2003.
ISBN-10: 0226036928 / ISBN-13: 9780226036922
Barbaric Intercourse tells the story of a century of social upheaval and the satiric attacks it inspired in leading periodicals in both England and America. Martha Banta explores the politics of caricature and cartoon from 1841 to 1936, devoting special attention to the original Life magazine. For Banta, Life embodied all the strengths and weaknesses of the Progressive Era, whose policies of reform sought to cope with the frenetic urbanization of New York, the racist laws of the Jim Crow South, and the rise of jingoism in the United States. Barbaric Intercourse shows how Life's take on these trends and events resulted in satires both cruel and enlightened.
Banta also deals extensively with London's Punch, a sharp critic of American nationalism, and draws from images and writings in magazines as diverse as Puck,The Crisis,Harper's Weekly, and The International Socialist Review. Orchestrating a wealth of material, including reproductions of rarely seen political cartoons, she offers a richly layered account of the cultural struggles of the age, from contests over immigration and the role of the New Negro in American society, to debates over Wall Street greed, women's suffrage, and the moral consequences of Western expansionism.