I, Hogarth: A Novel

I, Hogarth: A Novel

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by Michael Dean
     
 

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William Hogarth's epoch-defining paintings and engravings, such as "Gin Lane" and "The Rake's Progress," are renowned.

He was London's artist par excellence, and his work supplies the most enduring vision of the eighteenth century's ebullience, enjoyments, and social iniquities.

From a childhood spent in a debtor's prison to his death in the arms of

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Overview

William Hogarth's epoch-defining paintings and engravings, such as "Gin Lane" and "The Rake's Progress," are renowned.

He was London's artist par excellence, and his work supplies the most enduring vision of the eighteenth century's ebullience, enjoyments, and social iniquities.

From a childhood spent in a debtor's prison to his death in the arms of his wife, I, Hogarth follows the artist's life as he makes a name for himself and as he fights for artists with his Copyright Act. Through Hogarth's lifelong marriage to Jane Thornhill, his inability to have children, his time as one of England's best portrait painters, his old age and unfortunate dip into politics, and his untimely death, I, Hogarth is the remarkable story told through the artist's eyes. Michael Dean blends Hogarth's life and work into a rich and satisfying narrative, recommended for fans of Hilary Mantel and Peter Ackroyd.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Andrea Wulf
The voice in which Dean's Hogarth tells his own story is rich and persuasive, seemingly authentic. Gritty, bawdy and funny, his narrative is like stepping into a Hogarth painting…Dean's prose feels true to the 18th century without being irritatingly "historical"…[he] paints with words as Hogarth did with his brush.
Publishers Weekly
William Hogarth, famous for inventing a “moral” storytelling series of paintings and engravings he called Progresses (including the Rake’s Progress and the Harlot’s Progress), turns out to have had a progress of his own—from poor child to society artist, from engraver’s apprentice to painter and lobbyist for copyright law, from frequenter of whorehouses to happily married man and back again, from ignored to lauded to mocked—that would require a Hogarth to depict. Lacking such an artist, we have Michael Dean’s biographical novel, which draws on Hogarth’s own writing and a range of other sources. That may make the novel sound boring, but it’s not, largely because Hogarth—a likable self-promoter and self-described “pug” of a man—makes for highly diverting company. It helps that he knew everyone and went everywhere, and that Dean is good at showing his foibles and his artistic process. Hogarth’s eye for human frailty and nose for news, coupled with his way with line, made him the perfect artist for the first half of the 18th century—a time when high and low mingled at the theater, the debtor’s prison, and the brothel. If the BBC hasn’t already optioned this, it should get a move on: Hogarth’s life, as Dean portrays it, is an educational but sexily pleasurable costume drama waiting to happen. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for the work of Michael Dean:

"A witty, intelligent black comedy . . . convincing background detail." —Carla Nayland, Historical Fiction

"A fascinating story, intelligently and perceptively written." —Karen Hayes, author of Letting Go

"Forget Dan Brown. This is real art history, real conspiracy, and really relevant." —World on Sunday

.

Praise for the work of Michael Dean:

"A witty, intelligent black comedy . . . convincing background detail." --Carla Nayland, Historical Fiction

"A fascinating story, intelligently and perceptively written." --Karen Hayes, author of Letting Go

"Forget Dan Brown. This is real art history, real conspiracy, and really relevant." --World on Sunday

Library Journal
The title captures the classic grandiosity of the life lived by the painter and engraver whose name has become synonymous with an era. William Hogarth narrates the story of his rise from poverty in London to Sarjeant Painter to the King in language that evokes his most famous images. Along the way, the artist wins—and almost loses—the love of the gentle but keenly intelligent Jane Thornhill, the daughter of one of his artist heroes. Crammed with lovingly described sights that intoxicate the imagination, Hogarth's London emerges as the great romance of his life. While the artist's fall from public favor ultimately kills him, Jane's love mollifies the sting of cruel disapprobation. VERDICT The skill with historical subjects Dean demonstrated in his first novel, Thorn, in which he imagines a friendship between Spinoza and Rembrandt, is just as dazzling in this novel. Hogarth's voice brings 18th-century London vividly to life, especially with his earthy metaphors. Readers who keep a reference of Hogarth's works at hand will delight in Dean's attention to detail.—John G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Kirkus Reviews
Dean (Thorn, 2011) imagines the life, spirit and art of the English artist William Hogarth. Born in 1697 to a naïve and inept Latin scholar and an intemperate, dissatisfied mother, Hogarth was apprenticed to an engraver, only to maneuver his way into tutelage from and assistantship to the court painter Sir James Thornhill. Hogarth's family fractures when father Richard lands in debtors' prison. Mother and children are assisted by Anthony da Costa, a Portuguese-Jewish moneylender. In da Costa's mansion, Hogarth glimpses Kate, a strumpet, the vision unleashing the artist's lifelong appreciation for fleshly sensuality, the dark side of which becomes the incurable "French pox." Apprenticing as an engraver, Hogarth frequents Lovejoy's bagnio, there meeting John Rakesby, later revealed to be John Thornhill, son of Sir James, a prominent artist. Dean's narrative of young Hogarth winnowing his way into Sir James' household shines with authenticity, right down to Hogarth's seduction of young Jane Thornhill. Dean's deciphering of Hogarth's art is as superb as his rendering of the streets of ribald and indecorous London, packed with drunks and thieves, privileged and poor. Dean offers the stories behind Hogarth's seminal works--the South Seas Scheme, A Harlot's Progress--and discusses Hogarth's lobbying for the Engraver's Copyright Act and support of Capt. Thomas Coram's quest for a foundling hospital. The fictional autobiographical narrative of the robust and complicated, sensual and sensitive Hogarth intrigues, but what gives the book its resonance is Dean's learned exploration of the depth and breadth--the sight, sound and stink--of Georgian London. A brilliant exercise in imagination and storytelling.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781468307177
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
01/10/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
718,842
File size:
860 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for the work of Michael Dean:

"A witty, intelligent black comedy . . . convincing background detail." —Carla Nayland, Historical Fiction

"A fascinating story, intelligently and perceptively written." —Karen Hayes, author of Letting Go

"Forget Dan Brown. This is real art history, real conspiracy, and really relevant." —World on Sunday

Meet the Author

Michael Dean lives in Seattle, WA. He has been an editor at The Comics Journal since 1999.

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I, Hogarth: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A total submersion into the life and times of an amazing artist, William Hogarth. He is witty and sassy character who knows his own value as an artist and lives life to the fullest. Historical references are well-researched and the book drops the reader into the rough, smelly, challenging life of London in the 1700's. One of the best historical fiction novels I've read, and I real alot of them!