Abstract

This article discusses an 1850 vaudeville titled Daguerreotype, or I Know All These Faces by two Russian writers, Vladimir Sollogub and Peter Karatygin in the context of the nineteenth-century Western satirical publications aimed at photography. The author analyzes the play in light of various theories of humor, concentrating mostly on the theories of incongruity and superiority. In this light, the article displays how the comedy performed in 1850s in Russian big cities was aimed at a specific public, which, in order to understand the jokes, must have possessed elementary knowledge and experience associated with photographic process as seen from the point of view of the client. In conclusion, the author demonstrates that unlike Western satire, the Russian play does not ridicule the photographer, but rather aims sarcasm at their clients, and in this way caricatures both the conservatism and backwardness of nineteenth-century provincial Russian society.

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