This article examines three cartoons produced in the Victorian comic magazine Punch by its chief cartoonist, John Tenniel. All three images represent despotisms on the fringe of Europe oppressing and murdering minorities under their rule: the Bulgarian atrocities of 1876, the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia in 1881-82, and the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1895-96. This article examines these images as part of a series, and in the other contexts that they mobilised, especially the texts that appeared alongside them and the approaches taken by Punch’s rival magazines Fun and Judy. Turks and Russians, as well as Bulgarians, Jews and Armenians, became both figures through whom Punch reflected on itself and its nation, and also, contingently and incidentally, a problem for representation. In particular, it was Jewish figures that Punch found it most difficult to fit into the order of nations, even though they were in some ways the closest to home.
|Published - 19 Jul 2017