Dr. Andrew Rudd, Senior Lecturer, English Department, University of Exeter
28 October 2022, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Eighteenth-century England witnessed a remarkable flowering of philanthropic activity as society wrestled with problems such as poverty, disease, mental illness, vice and suffering caused by war. Walpole boasted in 1760 of what he called ‘our noble national charity’. While many aspects of philanthropy remain similar today, this lecture will explore how the print culture of Walpole’s era was central in driving charitable behaviour, particularly in terms of creating philanthropic networks and framing relationships between donors and beneficiaries. The talk will showcase the sheer range of printed text and images (fundraising prospectuses, sermons, topographical views of hospitals, tickets to benefit concerts and dinners, and celebratory odes) mobilised in service of good causes during this period, as well as highlight examples of Walpole’s own support for, and portrayals of, philanthropic causes during his lifetime.
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