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Assigned: Marriage a la Mode (2656-63).
Small color reproductions can be viewed at the Hogarth section of the National Gallery.
Marriage a la Mode
1. Hogarth's pictures tell a story and call for interpretation, much the same as literary texts. Choose one plate and add whatever you can to the already good Norton Anthology description and interpretation below it.
2. Since the plates, taken in sequence, tell a story, focus on any two plates and explain what the artist has chosen not to represent -- in other words, what has he passed by or left to surmise from one point in the picture-story to the next?
3. What modern visual equivalent/s to Hogarth's work can you think of -- that is, what sort of visual material in popular culture seems to demand interpretation rather than just "instant eye-consumption"? (Examples might include advertising, magazine images, certain kinds of art, and so forth.) Explain what you consider the cultural value of this material.
4. Compare Hogarth's Marriage a la Mode to John Gay's The Beggar's Opera in terms of the moral lesson it sets forth -- how do both texts comment on class relations, for example, or relations between the sexes?
Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. C. New York: Norton, 2006. ISBN Package 1 (Vols. ABC) 0-393-92833-0.