Contributed by Felix M. Larkin
Our newest monthly feature is the ‘Top 5’. We have asked researchers to submit their favourite top 5 books within their own field of interest. This month Felix M. Larkin, author of Terror and Discord: the Shemus Cartoons in the Freeman’s Journal, 1920-1924 published by A & A Farmar, has submitted his top 5 books about political cartoons:
Forty Years of Dublin Opinion (Dublin: Dublin Opinion Ltd, 1967)
Dublin Opinion was a satirical magazine published continuously from 1922 to 1968 and celebrated for its gentle, but perceptive, cartoons. Its motto, ‘Humour is the Safety Valve of a Nation’, is as true today as it was then!
L.P. Curtis Jr, Apes and Angels: the Irishman in Victorian caricature (London: David & Charles Ltd, 1971).
Perry Curtis is a pioneer of Irish cartoon studies, and his theme here is the racial stereotyping – in particular, the “simianization” – of the Irish in Victorian political cartoons. This is a book about the serious side of comic art.
Roy Douglas, Liam Harte & Jim O’Hara, Drawing Conclusions: a cartoon history of Anglo-Irish relations, 1798-1998 (Belfast: The Blackstaff Press, 1998)
The great value of this book is that it demonstrates the changing styles of caricature over two hundred years. The authors present a wide range of cartoons, from a variety of sources, highlighting the often absurd nature of Ireland’s relationship with Britain.
This is a short, but beautifully illustrated, study of the depiction of the iconic female figure of “Erin” or “Hibernia” in late nineteenth century political cartoons.
John Killen, The Unkindest Cut: a cartoon history of Ulster, 1900-2000 (Belfast: The Blackstaff Press, 2000)
John Killen is the librarian of Belfast’s Linen Hall Library, and his selection of cartoons provides much greater insight into aspects of Northern Ireland’s troubled past than words alone could ever do.