William Hogarth and Richard Steele were in many ways part of the same intellectual and religiopolitical milieu, one that also links them both to the radical Whig cleric Benjamin Hoadly. Modern scholars have almost always connected Steele to Joseph Addison, emphasizing Steele's morals-and-manners journalism—but this is not a fair representation of his output. Identifying the connections between Steele and Hogarth allows us to appreciate each man's more radical proclivities. Hogarth transforms Steele's populism into something still more radical, emphasizing religion, and to do so he exploits the greater flexibility, ambiguity, and complexity of the graphic mode. An examination of Steele and Hoadly, among other things, permits us to situate more precisely the “sacred parody” of Hogarth's major works on a grid of such terms as Radical Dissenter, Hoadlian Low Churchman, Deist, Enlightenment gentleman, and witty blasphemer.

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