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Article References

HOLDRIDGE, Christopher. Laughing with Sam Sly: the cultural politics of satire and colonial british identity in the Cape Colony, c. 1840-1850. Kronos (Bellville) [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.1, pp. 29-53. ISSN 0259-0190.

    1 See A. Delmas and N. Penn, eds, Written Culture in a Colonial Context, Africa and the Americas, 1500-1900 (Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, 2010). [ Links ]


    2 S. Dubow, A Commonwealth of Knowledge: Science, Sensibility and White South Africa, 1820-2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). [ Links ]


    3 Little has been made of the literary aspect of the newspaper and periodical press in colonial South Africa. The last full length study in this regard, itself lacking analytical treatment in favour of descriptive detail, is A.M. Lewin Robinson, None Daring to Make Us Afraid: A Study of the English Periodical Literature of the Cape, 1824 to 1835 (Cape Town: Maskew Miller, 1962). [ Links ]


    4 An exception is a recent article by Sandra Swart who has noted the importance of laughter for Afrikaner identity from the Anglo-Boer War until the 1930s. Humour, she argues, facilitated group cohesion and shaped folk identity and national character. The social relations spoken through the physical act of laughter itself, calls for the history of emotions to be taken more seriously by South African historians. S. Swart, '"The Terrible Laughter of the Afrikaner": Towards a Social History of Humor', Journal of Social History, Summer 2009, 889-917. [ Links ]

    For theories of humour see, amongst others, P. Lewis, Comic Effects: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Humour in Literature (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989); [ Links ]

    M. Billig. Laughter and Ridicule: Towards a Social Critique of Humour (London, 2005). [ Links ]


    6 For a biography of Sammons, see A. Hattersley, 'Friend of George Cruikshank: William Layton Sammons ("Sam Sly")' in Hattersley, Oliver the Spy and the Others: A Little Gallery of South African Portraits (Cape Town, 1959); [ Links ]

    A. Hattersley, 'Sammons, William Layton', Dictionary of South African Biography, vol. 1 (Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg, 1968), 684-5. [ Links ]


    7 Sam Sly's African Journal (hereafter SSAJ), Prospectus, 1 June 1843. [ Links ]


    8 K. McKenzie, "'Franklins of the Cape": The South African Commercial Advertiser and the Creation of a Colonial Public Sphere, 1824-1854', Kronos: Journal of Cape History, 25, 1998/9, 94. [ Links ]


    9 C. Holdridge, 'Circulating the African Journal: The Colonial Press and Trans-Imperial Britishness in the Mid Nineteenth-Century Cape', South African Historical Journal, 62(3), 2010, 487-513. [ Links ]


    10 The classic text on the relation between print culture and nationalism is B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983). [ Links ]


    11 Dubow, '"Of Special Colonial Interest": The Cape Monthly Magazine and the Circulation of Ideas' in Dubow, A Commonwealth of Knowledge, 71-120. [ Links ]


    12 V. Bickford-Smith, 'Writing about Englishness' in G. MacPhee and P. Poddar, eds, Empire and After: Englishness in Postcolonial Perspective (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007). [ Links ]


    13 M. Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, trans. H. Iswolsky (London: Bloomington, 1984). [ Links ]


    14 F. Palmeri, 'Cruikshank, Thackeray and the Victorian Eclipse of Satire', Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 44(4), 2004, 753-777. [ Links ]

    For a lively and stimulating take on the gradual shift from the ribaldry and explicitness of eighteenth-century visual satires in England to its more restrained forms, see V. Gatrell, City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London (London: Atlantic, 2006); [ Links ]

    The Bakhtinian approach to laughter, too, can be re-evaluated in a colonial context. This is the theme of a recent revisionist article by Alecia Simmonds, who examines a case of convict women's laughter in Australia to demonstrate how laughter is not only a method of subversive resistance, but was also deployed as a form of coercive control by the laughing elite. A. Simmonds, 'Rebellious Bodies and Subversive Sniggers? Embodying Women's Humour and Laughter in Colonial Australia', History Australia, 6(2), 2009, 39.1-39.16. [ Links ]


    15 V. Bickford-Smith, 'Leisure and Social Identity in Cape Town, British Cape Colony, 1838-1910', Kronos: Journal of Cape History, 25, 1998/9, 103-128; [ Links ]


    16 R. Ross, Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750-1870: A Tragedy of Manners (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). [ Links ]


    17 M. Hodgart and B. Connery, Satire: Origins and Principles (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2009). [ Links ]


    18 J. A. Wagner-Lawlor, 'Introduction: New Perspectives on the Victorian Comic Spirit' in Wagner-Lawlor, ed, The Victorian Comic Spirit: New Perspectives (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2000), xvi. [ Links ]


    19 P. Lewis, Comic Effects: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Humor in Literature (Albany: State University of New York Press, >1989), 36. [ Links ]


    20 See K. McKenzie, Scandal in the Colonies (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2004), [ Links ]


    21 For disparaging views of the Dutch, see Michael Streak, The Afrikaner as Viewed by the English, 1795-1854 (Cape Town: Struik, 1974). [ Links ]


    23 McKenzie, "'Franklins of the Cape"', 88-102; J.B. Peires, 'The British and the Cape, 1814-1834' in R. Elphick and H. Giliomee, eds, The Shaping of South African Society, 1652-1840 (Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman, 1989); [ Links ]

    K. McKenzie, '"To Enlighten South Africa": The Creation of a Free Press at the Cape in the Early Nineteenth Century' in C. Kaul, ed, Media and the British Empire (Basingstoke, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). [ Links ]


    24 See K. McKenzie, 'The Daemon behind the Curtain: William Edwards and the Theatre of Liberty', South African Historical Journal, 61(3), 2009, 482-504; [ Links ]

    C. Holdridge, 'The Escape of William Edwards: Respectability, Intrigue and Invented Identity at the Early British Cape and Australia', (BA Hons thesis, University of Cape Town, 2008), 34-48. [ Links ]


    25 A. Bank, 'Liberals and their Enemies: Racial Ideology at the Cape of Good Hope, 1820 to 1850' (PhD thesis, Cambridge University 1995), 298. [ Links ]


    27 Gatrell, City of Laughter; B. Wilson, Decency and Disorder: The Age of Cant, 1789-1837 (London: Faber and Faber, 2007). [ Links ]


    30 R. Williams, 'Radical and/or Respectable' in R. Boston, ed, The Press We Deserve (London: Routledge, 1970), 14-15. [ Links ]


    33 D. Cryle, ed, Disreputable Profession: Journalists and Journalism in Colonial Australia (Rockhampton: Central Queensland University Press, 1997). [ Links ]


    38 R. D. Altick, The Shows of London (Cambridge, Mass. & London: Harvard University Press, 1978), 1-3. [ Links ]


    39 P. Stallybrass and A. White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (London: Methuen, 1986). [ Links ]


    42 H. Fraser, S. Green, and J. Johnston, Gender and the Victorian Periodical (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). [ Links ]


    43 L. Davidoff and C. Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (London and New York: Routledge, Revised Edition 2002), 149-192. [ Links ]


    48 R. D. Altick, Punch: The Lively Youth of a British Institution (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1997). [ Links ]


    52 K. McKenzie, 'Gender and Honour in Middle Class Cape Town: The Making of Colonial Identities, 1828-1850' (DPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 1997), 79-86. [ Links ]


    53 SSAJ, 2 March, 1848. [ Links ]


    54 SSAJ, 11 April, 1844. [ Links ]


    55 Hattersley, Oliver the Spy and Others, 86-95. [ Links ]


    58 SSAJ, 1 June 1843. [ Links ]


    59 SSAJ, 1 September 1848 . [ Links ]


    61 House of Commons Debates, vol. 110, 16 April 1850, 373-374 (accessed 28 Aug 2009) http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1850/apr/16/paper-duty#S3V0110P0_18500416_HOC_1. [ Links ]


    62 H.C. Botha, John Fairbairn in South Africa (Cape Town: Historical Publication Society, 1984), 131-135. [ Links ]


    64 Graham's Town Journal, 21 December 1843. [ Links ]


    65 SSAJ, 3 July 1845. [ Links ]


    66 SSAJ, 30 May 1844. [ Links ]


    67 Bickford-Smith, 'Writing about Englishness', 64-67. [ Links ]


    68 SSAJ, 11 June 1843. [ Links ]


    69 Bickford-Smith, 'Leisure and Social Identity in Cape Town', 103-128. [ Links ]

    A general overview of existing research in the history of leisure in Africa is E. Akyeampong and C. Ambler, 'Leisure in African History: An Introduction', The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Special Issue: Leisure in African History, 35(1), 2002, 1-16. [ Links ]

    For an Australian perspective, see R. Waterhouse, Private Pleasures, Public Leisure: A History of Australian Popular Culture since 1788 (Melbourne: Longman, 1995). [ Links ]


    70 SSAJ, 30 May 1844. [ Links ]


    71 Dubow, Commonwealth of Knowledge, 47-52. [ Links ]


    72 D. Johnson, Shakespeare and South Africa (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), 13-39; [ Links ]

    D. Johnson, 'Literary and Cultural Criticism in South Africa' in D. Attridge and D. Attwell, eds, Cambridge History of South African Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), [ Links ]


    75 This is discussed in Ross, Status and Respectability, chapter 3; for Dutch theatre, see J. Fletcher, The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930 (Cape Town: Vlaeberg, 1994). [ Links ]


    76 K. McKenzie, 'The South African Commercial Advertiser and the Making of Middle Class Identity in Early Nineteenth-Century Cape Town' (MA thesis, University of Cape Town, 1993); [ Links ]

    K. McKenzie, 'Dogs and the Public Sphere: The Ordering of Social Space in Early Nineteenth-Century Cape Town', South African Historical Journal, 48 (2003). [ Links ]


    77 L.J. Picton, 'Nicprint 50, being some account of the history of the printing, packaging and newspaper industry of South Africa...' (MA thesis, University of Cape Town, 1969), 17-18; [ Links ]

    Lewin Robinson, None Daring to Make Us Afraid, 215-222. [ Links ]


    78 The original, interestingly, utilised the woodcut to make a joke of the economic prospects for emigrants. A farmer approaches the magistrate to enquire whether he may keep minerals found on his newly-granted farm. When the magistrate asks whether any 'precious stones' have been found, the farmer denies this but states to 'have found a precious lot of stones'. Lewin Robinson, None Daring to Make Us Afraid, 215-216. [ Links ]


    80 For a bibliographical list of these and other Cape satirical publications, see B. Cheadle, 'Southern Africa' in J. Vann and R. van Arsdel, eds, Periodicals of Queen Victoria's Empire: An Exploration (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 243-298. [ Links ]


    81 Proceedings of the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Subscribers to the Public Library, Cape Town, Saturday 6th May, 1854 (Cape Town, 1854), 20. Quoted in Dubow, Commonwealth of Knowledge, 45. [ Links ]


    82 SSAJ, 2 November 1844. [ Links ]


    83 SSAJ, 2 November 1844. [ Links ]


    84 Gatrell, City of Laughter, 243-4. [ Links ]


    88 Klipspringer [Andrew Geddes Bain], 'Kaatje Kekkelbek, or Life Among the Hottentots', SSAJ, 20 August 1846. The most extensive treatment of its poetics and literary historical context is P.R. Anderson, '"The Host of Vagabonds": Origins and Destinations of the Vagrant in Cape History and Ideas' (PhD thesis, University of Cape Town, 2007), chapter 3. [ Links ]


    89 Ross, Status and Respectability, 125-7. [ Links ]


    90 V. Bickford Smith, Ethnic Pride and Racial Prejudice in Victorian Cape Town (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). [ Links ]


    92 For an insight into settler women's experience of the eastern frontier, see N. Erlank, '"Thinking It Wrong to Remain Unemployed in the Pressing Times": The Experiences of Two English Settler Wives', South African Historical Journal, 33, 1995,, 62-82. [ Links ]


    94 SSAJ, 21 August 1845. [ Links ]


    95 For the Cruikshank illustration, see H. Giliomee and B. Mbenga, eds, New History of South Africa (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2007), 87. [ Links ]


    97 Dubow, Commonwealth of Knowledge, 44. [ Links ]


    98 See, for example, Sammons's editorials and comments on public lectures in phrenology in the colony, in SSAJ, 25 September, 2 October and 9 October 1845. For phrenology in the Cape, see A. Bank, 'Of "Native Skulls" and "Noble Caucasians": Phrenology in Colonial South Africa', Journal of Southern African Studies, 22(3), 1996, 387-403. [ Links ]


    99 'A Friend of Laughter and Gas' to the editor, SSAJ, 16 April 1846. [ Links ]


    100 E. H. Grayson, 'Social Order and Disorder: Laughing Gas Demonstrations, 1800-1850' in R. G. Thomson, ed, Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 109. [ Links ]


    101 SSAJ, 11 Dec. 1845. [ Links ]


    102 'Peter Tomkins' to editor, SSAJ, 16 October 1845. [ Links ]


    103 SSAJ, 8 June 1843. [ Links ]


    105 'A Well Wisher to the Youth of this Colony', 'Open Letter', Cape of Good Hope Literary Gazette, 2, 11 (November 1832), 391. [ Links ]

    Cited in Johnson, Shakespeare and South Africa, 18. [ Links ]


    106 D.H. Varley, South African Reading in Early Days (Johannesburg: SABC, 1958), 23-24; [ Links ]

    Samuel Warren, Ten Thousand a Year!: reprinted from 'Blackwood's Magazine' (Cape Town: Saul Solomon, 1842). [ Links ]


    107 D. Gray, 'The Uses of Victorian Laughter', Victorian Studies, 10(2), (1966), 147-8. [ Links ]


    108 SSAJ, 22 June 1848. [ Links ]


    110 S. Lodge, Thomas Hood and Nineteenth-Century Poetry: Work, Play and Politics (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007). [ Links ]


    111 SSAJ, 22 October 1846. [ Links ]


    112 SSAJ, 22 October 1846. [ Links ]


    113 SSAJ, 15 Aug. 1844. [ Links ]


    114 SSAJ, 15 Aug. 1844. [ Links ]


    116 McKenzie, Scandal in the Colonies, 172. [ Links ]


    117 Ross, Status and Respectability, 161-2. [ Links ]


    118 For the anti-convict movement, see A. Hattersley, The Convict Crisis and the Growth of Unity: Resistance to Transportation in South Africa and Australia, 1848-1853 (Pietermaritzburg: Natal University Press, 1965); [ Links ]

    McKenzie, Scandal in the Colonies, 171-179; T. Keegan, Colonial South Africa and the Origins of the Racial Order (Cape Town: David Philip, 1996), 225-231. [ Links ]


    120 SSAJ, 1 November 1849. [ Links ]


    121 Several satirical responses can be found in Sammons's Journal, including a long poem published separately as a pamphlet. (J.S. Nichol, Lines Written on the Occasion of the Cape Town Anti-Convict Association, Attaining Its Climacteric, by Closing the Shops, Injuring the Community, and Attempting to Starve the Opponents of the Pledge (Cape Town: William Sammons, 1849)). [ Links ]


    122 [William Sammons], 'Neptune's Song', in SSAJ, 24 January 1850. [ Links ]


    123 SSAJ, 12 July 1849. [ Links ]


    124 African Journal, 28 April 1850. [ Links ]


    125 John Montagu, as Secretary to Government, spearheaded administrative reforms and road-building through local convict labour in the 1840s, vastly improving infrastructure for the Cape economy, yet his opposition to an immediate Representative Assembly for the Cape severely diminished his popularity. See N. Penn, '"Close and Merciful Watchfulness": John Montagu's Convict System in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cape Colony', Cultural and Social History, 5(4), 2008, 465480. [ Links ]


    126 African Journal, 21 Feb 1850. [ Links ]


    128 Hattersley, Convict Crisis, 60-61. [ Links ]


    129 Hattersley, 'Friend of George Cruikshank', 99-100. [ Links ]


    130 The racial inclusivity of colonial enfranchisement is too complex an issue for extensive discussion here, but has most convincingly been seen as a response that still preserved the desired 'white consensus' of British and Dutch colonists who saw the mutual benefit of maintaining white hegemony over black labour. The low property requirement of £25 allowed poorer whites to vote, whilst the number of enfranchised black colonists was negligible. Bank, 'Premature Decline of Humanitarian Liberalism', 375-377. [ Links ]


    131 Lantern, 9 September 1882. [ Links ]


    132 For Schröder's career and examples of his political cartoons, see L. Weinthal, ed, The Schröder Art Memento. A Volume of Pictorial Satire Depicting Our Politics and Men for the Last 30 Years (Pretoria: The Press Printing and Publishing Works, 1894). [ Links ]


    133 SSAJ, Publishing Notice, I June 1843. [ Links ]


    134 C. Lorentz quoted in J. Lowe, 'Theories of Ethnic Humor: How to Enter, Laughing', American Quarterly, 38(3), 1986, 440. [ Links ]