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Abusing Power: Satirical Journals from the Special Collections Library

PunchJohn Tenniel, “John Bull’s Neutrality,” Punch October 3, 1863
Though perhaps best known for his illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice” books, John Tenniel was a political caricaturist for the leading British comic weekly Punch for over thirty years, producing some of the century’s most iconic cartoons. The magazine’s confidently nationalist outlook is perfectly expressed in Tenniel’s portrayals of the statuesque figure of Britannia or the solid bourgeois John Bull, who in this print scolds the contending factions in the American Civil War. Axiomatically treating foreigners as infantile, primitive, or shiftless, Tenniel expresses Victorian England’s innate sense of superiority and native common sense. 

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Last modified February 22, 2010 11:40:31 PM EST