(HOBAR) Open University History of Books and Reading Seminar

(HOBAR) Open University History of Books and Reading Seminar
19 March 2018, 5.30pm - 7.00pm
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Vincent Trott (The Open University/Oxford Brookes University)

‘Humour, Propaganda and Print Culture: American Satirical Magazines during the First World War’

During the First World War, humorous magazines played an important role in galvanising popular support for the war effort across the combatant countries. They also played a significant role in shaping public opinion regarding the war in the United States, which remained neutral until 1917. Many magazine editors and publishers adopted a staunchly pro-Allied stance upon the outbreak of war in 1914 and, as the conflict progressed, some began to argue the case for US intervention. Jokes, cartoons and satirical articles were important weapons in an editor’s arsenal, but the significance of humour and laughter during the First World War, and especially in the United States during this period, has often been overlooked by historians. This talk will discuss how a range American humour periodicals – including Life, Judge and Puck – sought to influence public opinion during the First World War. It will also situate these periodicals within the wider context of American publishing during the conflict, demonstrating how the industry helped to pave the way for American intervention. 
Vincent Trott is Lecturer in History at the Open University, and a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, where he teaches publishing and book history. His first book, Publishers, Readers and the Great War (Bloomsbury, 2017), explores the role of the publishing industry in shaping the memory of the First World War in Britain. He is currently researching humour during the First World War, with a particular focus on satirical periodicals.


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