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Title: Behind the thin black line : Leslie Illingworth and the political cartoonist in wartime
Author: Bryant, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3506 6155
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2002
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W.H. Russell, the famous war correspondent of The Times, created the phrase 'The Thin Red Line' to describe the brave stand of British troops against the Russians during the Crimean War. It is the intention of this thesis to explore the work of the political cartoonist in wartime using the example of one particular artist, Leslie Illingworth of the Daily Mail during the Second World War. This is a relatively new area of research and the main aim of the thesis is to discover what it is that a staff political cartoonist working for a national daily newspaper actually does in wartime. In addition, it investigates what sort of person such an artist is, what his relationship is to his newspaper, his public and the government of the day, and how far his material follows in the historical traditions of political cartoon art. The thesis draws on extensive archive material - including a large uncatalogued collection of wartime cartoons by Illingworth deposited in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth - and considerable original research into the hitherto unrecorded life of the artist himself. After tracing the history of war cartoons in general, the history of the Daily Mail and the background of Illingworth's own life and career, a detailed study is made of Illingworth's wartime political cartoons - their content, frequency of publication and other factors - before examining his work in the context of his wartime contemporaries and evaluating the impact of his cartoons on the readers of the Daily Mail and the world at large. The thesis concludes that, during the Second World War in particular, political cartoonists had a far from simple job and were important figures who were greatly valued by the newspapers for which they worked, by the public at large and by the government of the day. Their creations were seen by Britain and her allies - as well as her enemies - as a significant weapon in the arsenal of democracy. Also, as the Second World War was the last major international conflict before the widespread use of television, it is argued that this period marked the high point in the development of political war cartoons in daily newspapers throughout history. In addition, by demonstrating that Leslie Illingworth of the Daily Mail can be seen not only as a typical political cartoonist working as a staff artist on a typical national daily newspaper during this period, but also one of its most accomplished practitioners, a case is made for viewing him as one of the finest political war cartoonists of all time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: DA Great Britain