Infectious Enthusiasm

By Delingpole, James | The Spectator, June 9, 2001 | Go to article overview

Infectious Enthusiasm


Delingpole, James, The Spectator


My thesis this week is on how television suddenly got good again. I doubt it stands up. It probably has more to do with the fact that I haven't seen any telly in quite a while so coming back to it has heightened my appreciation of the dross that's on. Still, I'll have a go.

First, Cruikshank: 1,000 Ways of Getting Drunk in England (BBC 2, Saturday). I guessed that this was going to be good because programmes presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon usually are. I like his deadpan wackiness, his visual tricksiness - both very Meadesian. And I like the way he always manages to teach you dozens of amazing things you never knew about art.

George Cruikshank, for example. I'm sure we all know enough to nod sagely at the mention of his name: late-Georgian caricaturist: illustrator of Sketches By Boz.

But did we know that most of the plot and characters in Oliver Twist were his invention? Or that George IV was so horrified by a cartoon of himself looking particularly fat and revolting that he bribed Cruikshank with L100 - easily a year's wages not to do any more? Or that Cruikshank ended his days as one of the nation's leading temperance campaigners? Despite the fact that after his death, he left behind a secret mistress, ten children and a cellar full of booze?

The excuse for all this was the recent rediscovery in the bowels of the Tate of a massive anti-booze painting called The Worship Of Bacchus done by Cruikshank towards the end of his life. The Victorians managed to bury it, Graham-Dixon argued, because it told them a truth they would rather disguise with chocolate-box pictures of cute little dogs, saintly children and suchlike.

I'm not sure that I buy that line. After all, we're just starting to realise that the Victorians were rather more complex than the hypocritical, piano-leg-dressing prudes mischievously recalled by Lytton Strachey. The real reason it was ignored, I suspect, is that though it's jolly nicely done and terribly interesting and took three whole years to do it's more a piece of propaganda than a work of art. But I suppose Graham-- Dixon had to pretend it was a masterpiece to make a better story.

In fact, with his tendency towards lurid exaggeration and comical simplification he's a bit of an early Cruikshank himself. But when he can bring such lively insight to everything he describes, who cares?

From that programme he did about Monet's sunset at Le Havre, I gleaned more about Impressionism in one hour than I had in a lifetime. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Infectious Enthusiasm
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.