William Hogarth, Tailpiece, or The Bathos

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Tailpiece, or The Bathos

, published on 17 April 1764, six months before his death on 26 October, was Hogarth's last print and self-proclaimed finale. In an advertisement in the

St James's Chronicle

for 14 April 1764 he announced: “it may serve as a tailpiece to all the author's engraved works when bound up together.” It is a bleak, pessimistic

memento mori

for the artistic, political and cultural worlds, as Hogarth found them in mid eighteenth-century England, comparable in tone and urgency to Pope's apocalyptic ending to

The Dunciad

, Book IV, published twenty years earlier in 1743 (see separate entry). Like Pope, Hogarth had come to feel, at this late stage in his life, that Chaos's “dread empire” had been restored and that “Universal Darkness” would soon bury all.

The full

1187 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Tailpiece, or The Bathos". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 December 2003 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1747, accessed 21 May 2024.]

1747 Tailpiece, or The Bathos 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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