Satire on Stone: The Political Cartoons of Joseph Keppler

Richard Samuel West, Author University of Illinois Press $39.95 (465p) ISBN 978-0-252-01497-0
Less appreciated than Thomas Nast, but often as deadly, political cartoonist Joseph Keppler (1838-1894) hurled witty, irreverent barbs at censorship, military jingoism, Bismarck, Thomas Edison's financial greed and a succession of presidents from Grant to Cleveland. A cynic, this Viennese immigrant was equally skeptical of Democrats and Republicans. In the pages of Puck , an American weekly humor magazine, his caricatures and beautifully tinted chromolithographs galvanized public opinion. He depicted a crucified Boss Tweed and, defending separation of church and state, portrayed the pope as a petty tyrant. With 172 reproductions of his cartoons, this handsomely produced biography demonstrates Keppler's relevance to our age. Though he belittled women's right to vote and sometimes promoted crude ethnic stereotypes, his best work is a bracing antidote to hypocrisy. West is director of publications for the peace group Sane/Freeze. (August)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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