Hervé, Sarah Camille (2020). Gallery of the Contemporary Insanities. A Historical Analysis of Political Caricatures in the French Satirical Journal La Charge (1832–1834).
How did political caricatures function and intervene in the French public sphere during the July Monarchy? My research into the satirical, pro-governmental newspaper La Charge (1832–1834) contributes to the field of research on the visual satire of this period, by shedding new light on how caricatures functioned as speech acts in political and polemical debates. Charles Philipon’s major influence on satire and on the functionality of caricatures has been the focal point of the research field up until now. What I demonstrate in this thesis is that there was an attempt at counteracting the oppositional use of caricatures targeting the July Monarchy and King Louis-Philippe. La Charge was created as a way to counter the caricatures in Philipon’s newspapers, La Caricature (1830–1835/1843) and later Le Charivari (1832–1837), as a self-proclaimed “opposition to the opposition”. In this thesis I show how La Charge functioned not only as a reaction to Philipon’s caricatures, but as an intervention in this polemical debate whereby visual satire made its mark in the public sphere. La Charge, which was created to combat the oppositional press, wished to impose its own convictions in the public debate. Through satirical intervention in the public sphere, the journal often deployed politically contested symbols as part of its battle against the opposition and especially the republican movement. I also demonstrate how La Charge sought to intervene not only in a debate with La Caricature, but also in communication with Paris’s public spaces, by copying some of the same rhetorical strategies as the oppositional press.