I, Hogarth

I Hogarth 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 pri

  • Title: I, Hogarth
  • Author: Michael Dean
  • ISBN: 9781468303421
  • Page: 248
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 HogaHe 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.

    One thought on “I, Hogarth”

    1. What a wonderful, bawdy, exciting "autobiography" of a painter whose work has indeed stood the test of time. The sad part is that he thought his work would be forgotten because of a late-life character assassination. Indeed, I felt very sad at the end to think of how he thought history would remember him. Good thing he was wrong because his work showed such insight into 18th century society.Before the sad part, though, there's lots of fun and some good insights into the development of an artist. [...]

    2. While not the equal of Barry Unsworth's Sacred Hunger and Quality of Mercy, nor Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish, this is a worthy addition to modern novels attempting to re-create the 18th century, and easily on par with Arabella Edge's The Company. On second thought, it's not so far removed from Quality of Mercy.Going in, I was familiar with the name, William Hogarth, but I didn't know much about him, nor his art. However, while reading this "autobiographical" novel, I found myself inve [...]

    3. A good piece of historical fiction about artist William Hogarth, who became popular in London during the decades before the American Revolution. It is a story of brothels, bathes, bribery, bastards and debtors' prisons written by an English author who thinks that Hogarth should be recognized as a "national artist". Hogarth would popularize modern moral tales -- and fight to have copyright laws expanded to cover artists as well as writers during the reign of King George II.It is a Dickensian tale [...]

    4. I have been interested in Hogarth since I saw prints from his Rake's Progress at a rare books library where I once worked. This fictional first person account of his life does a great job of recreating 18th century London and the pleasures of life available to one who goes from rags to riches on his own merits. Hogarth was an inventive artist with an interest in making money, but on his own terms. He broke with the classicist orientation of "good art" and excelled in portraying all of London's c [...]

    5. An overly verbose beginning with too-detailed phrases coupled with disconnected extensions and an ending full of new starts which thus had to culminate in a too-abrupt, incomplete, rather cliche conclusion. I've more the notion of a 2.5, but I give it a 3 because I appreciate the time and effort it takes to develop any composition to novel length of quasi-decent quality. Pretty dissatisfied with the time invested in this overall, however.

    6. I wanted to read Thorn by Michael Dean but since my library system doesn’t have it, I read I, Hogarth instead. This well-written, colorful autobiographical novel about the 18th century English painter and satirist provides a window on the striving and competition among artists and aristocrats in that time. Hogarth came from a poverty stricken but well-educated family. According to Dean, from an early age, young Hogarth had to negotiate on behalf of his scholarly but hapless father. After his f [...]

    7. As an art historian I am always drawn (pun fully intended) to books about artists. Hogarth is something of an unusual subject as he is not someone who is super popular (unlike the art rock stars like Monet and VanGogh). He was a British artist who worked in the 18th century. The world he inhabits is a rollicking good one. He starts with his childhood and his relationship with his father who was a scholar and transcriber of books, who was always in debt. Hogarth's father is put into debtors priso [...]

    8. 'I, Hogarth' is a very readable book which tells the story of William Hogarth, the famous Georgian painter and engraver. It vividly describes 18th century London and gives a background to many of the scenes that Hogarth represented in his work. Described as a ‘raucous novel of a raucous age’, in places I found it a little too coarse for my taste. It was easier to read than a traditional biography and gave me a real taste of what Hogarth was like. But at the end I had to ask, was it the right [...]

    9. A caveat to this review: Before reading this book, I knew next to nothing about William Hogarth. I’m reviewing this strictly as a novel and not in regards to historical accuracy.Written as an autobiography of William Hogarth, I, Hogarth is unrelenting. Hogarth is a larger-than-life character (despite his short stature) and the book centers on that personality and its ability to tell the story. It also begs the question of how truthful Hogarth is as a narrator.My biggest quibble is that the for [...]

    10. I have always been intrigued by Hogarth; his style, his subject matter, his seeming obscurity despite his status as a world-class artist.This book was definitely a bawdy, raucous narrative which never pretended to be anything less than true to its era (1697-1764.) Yes, there were some lurid descriptions that I tended to skim over, but they were relatively few & far between. Also, such scenes were, at least, very pertinent to the plot and subject of Hogarth's actual life events. They were mer [...]

    11. This is the second historical/biographical novel I've read by Michael Dean. The first, which concerned the odd friendship between Spinoza and Rembrandt, was quite lively and animated and kept my interest throughout. But I felt that the author (sort of like Steven Spielberg, forgive me) did not know quite how to conclude a work. Much the same this wonderful romp through Hogarth's London. I did love the descriptions, the characters and petty rivalries, the artful rise and fall of our central chara [...]

    12. This is a rumbustious rollicking tale, supposedly the memoirs of one of the greatest of our artists. The details are lurid, the language soars, the pages turn themselves. You will be enthralled by a story in which our first Prime Minister, the composer of the "Water Music" and Sir Francis Dashwood and the Hellfire Club all have walk-on roles of one kind or another. This is "The Rake's Progress" brought to life in the alleys of "Gin Lane". Michael Dean has obviously steeped himself in the period, [...]

    13. I'm generally disappointed in fictional treatments of my favorite artists' lives but I never give up and I'm glad I didn't. If you're familiar with Hogarth's engravings (if you're not you should look 'em up) you'll know what I mean when I say this book reads just like that: earthy. Since the story arc is his life dies so it's not a feel-good ending, but it's written in the first person, showing you what goes on in his head from his miserable childhood through his rise and, not fall exactly, but [...]

    14. I really enjoyed this book, but I admit I am a historical fiction junkie and I am currently archiving a collection of Hogarth's artwork for my university, so I may have enjoyed this more than the average reader would. It is basically a fictional biography of Hogarth's life and career based on real events. Overall, it was a light entertaining read that has piqued my interest in Georgian England. From an academic perspective, I wish there had been more emphasis on his artworks and the social condi [...]

    15. When I read the NY Times book review, I somehow managed to miss that this was a work of fiction, not a biography. I enjoyed it in any case but the novel, unlike non-fiction, presumes the reader knows quite a bit about the 18th century world of artists and politicians in which Hogarth painted. Because of my lack of knowledge, I was never quite sure who were real historical characters and who were not. A list of characters appears in the front of the book but without identification as to real pers [...]

    16. This book is lots of fun, and I certainly recommend it for fans of art history, but I wished Mr. Dean had provided more substance to what is just a pleasant, readable story. William Hogarth owes his legacy to his social commentary and satire. His works were filled with intriguing details. Mr. Dean owed Mr. Hogarth the same painstaking, loving attention. Readers seeking a penetrating study of art and culture in eighteenth-century England will be somewhat disappointed, but those in search of an hi [...]

    17. A very enjoyable read whether you know much about Hogarth or not. Some reviewers refer to it as a 'bawdy romp'. It certainly is that in the early sections of the novel but it's also a lot more. A skilful imagining of 18th century London - a book you can smell. But the author also portrays Hogarth's decline into old age and sickness and the problems in his relationship with his wife with real feeling. He also carries off something very difficult - describing the processes of painting and creativi [...]

    18. I'm really drawn to the Restoration and early 18th century England. Very interesting fictionalized, first-person account of England's greatest painter. He rose from an impoverished family - father was a Latin scholar who wound up in debtor's prison - to great wealth and fame. Hogarth's self-importance, coupled with his complete insecurity and need for approval come out glaringly.

    19. I really enjoyed this quick read about Hogarth the painter. It gives a good picture of the time period. Hogarth rose from a very poor English boy with a lot of drive. Like many of his fellow artists and others at that time, fell to bawdiness and brothels. As a results, syphilis was rampant. Some important changes came about due to his influence at that time. An interesting read.

    20. I am a fan of William Hogarth's art. I also like historical fiction. This book, however, is choppy. Sometimes I had a hard time following the events. I also found myself not having very much empathy for the main character William Hogarth. His debauchery and that of his compatriots was just too much for me.

    21. A blend of fiction and non-fiction, told in the first-person as an "autobiography". "I, Hogarth" gives us the life of a great talent from his humble beginnings through lauded eminence to final, self inflicted, humiliation. It is a vivid portrait of Georgian London's artistic mores and full of the local color of mid-18th century London.

    22. I saw this book on display in my local library and it looked interesting. If I had read the reviews here first, I don't think I would have read it. Many of the reviews describe it as "bawdy." While it is that at times, it is much more. It is fast-paced and funny, and also very poignant. It has left me with a desire to learn more of Hogarth's work.

    23. As a student of history (particularly of the 18th century), I found it very difficult to approach this novel solely as a work of fiction. I managed to get to page 137 before I was put off by some very jarring dialogue.

    24. A bawdy retelling of life in the barrooms, whore houses and amidst the poor in early 1700's London. Young William, with a great talent for drawing works his way up the social ladder both with talent and schmoozing to be a leading painter of his times. A fun romp!

    25. A romp through early 18th century England with the artist William Hogarth. Much fun and a quick, highly enjoyable read

    26. If you'd like to know what I thought of this book, please contact me directly and I'd be happy to discuss it with you.All the best,- TB

    27. Well written. good representation of life for an artist in 18th century London. Did not find Hogarth an appealing character.

    28. I discovered an artist I did not know about. It is the November Book Club Choice for the Columbus Museum of Art.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *