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The portentous, eighteen-year period (1830-1848) in the history of French revolutions known as the July Monarchy was circumscribed by the rule of Louis Philippe d'Orlans and was characterized by the political and social ascendancy of the bourgeoisie. Accompanying this brief and transitional stage was a phenomenal increase in printed media, especially in all forms of culture with a visual component. These nine essays, gathered from social historians and art historians, address the formation and consequences of the emergence of a popular culture. They significantly reframe the mental picture of the July Monarchy, calling into account traditional ideas of social order during this formative period of demographic change.
While the expanded availability of images and words, together with an elevated literacy rate, enhanced political awareness among lower classes, the rule of Louis Philippe inaugurated hegemonic social agendas. This was the period that saw the rise of class consciousness, the concept of dangerous classes, police surveillance, and the identification of criminal types. The pandemic medium of caricature was at once a vehicle for critiquing government and social mores and an effective tool for determining and controlling class distinctions. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Albert Boime, James Cuno, Michael Paul Driskel, Michael Marrinan, Elizabeth K. Menon, Kim Munholland, and David Van Zanten.