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The “Physiologies” were portraits of “social types” that emerged as a true literary style in France from 1840, when a law prohibited direct representation of King Louis-Philippe. Political caricaturists then decided to represent the ordinary man. These caricatures of the ordinary man were constructed in opposition to caricatures of “powerful men.” The “physiologists” acted as “ordinary witnesses,” seeking to develop a French form of “seeing” based on the “direct observation” of “real life.” This “seeing” was constructed in everyday life, at ground level. The “ordinary eye” situated at this level saw and recognized what had become ordinary to him. However, this eye was not innocent, and did not simply look: it was also responsible for producing these ordinary caricatural “types.”

Keywords :

  • caricature
  • physiology
  • ordinary man
  • power
  • representation
Salomé-Jill Peigney
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