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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1200, p. 451.

April 25, 1863


...Some of our readers who have correspondents in America may have received an exceedingly humorous and caustic weekly publication called Vanity Fair, and which aspired to be the New York Punch. Vanity Fair, after an existence of three or four years, has just expired. That wonderful rowdy "Manhattan" ascribes its downfall to the dearth of comic writers in America, and states that an express was sent to England to implore Mr. John Brougham and another Transatlantic humorist to come out to New York and revive the moribund journal. We don't think that the reason given is the correct one. There is no lack of writers, facetious or satirical, in the States. Indeed, our cousins have a natural turn for grim humour and saturnine persiflage. The difficulties against which every comic journal in America has to struggle, and which must ultimately overwhelm it, lie in the paucity, if not the actual non-existence, of clever caricaturists who are accomplished draughtsmen as well as satirists. In England even we can count the really first-rate caricaturists on our fingers. When Cruikshank, Phiz, Leech, Doyle, Kenny Meadows, and Tenniel have been enumerated, how many remain? In France, after Cham, Daumier, Bertall, and Henry Monnier (we don't hold Gavarni or Gustave Dori [sic] to be caricaturists at all), the catalogue sinks into mediocrity. But in America there are as yet no comic draughtsmen with a tithe of the talent which even our second-rate pictorial satirists possess.

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