In this volume there is, I believe, a greater variety of pictures of a comic and satirical cast than was ever before presented at one view. Many nations, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, are represented in it, as well as most of the names identified with art of this nature. The extraordinary liberality of the publishers, and the skill of their corps of engravers, have seconded my own industrious researches, and the result is a volume unique, at least, in the character of its illustrations. A large portion of its contents appeared in Harper's Monthly Magazine during the year 1875; but many of the most curious and interesting of the pictures are given here for the first time; notably, those exhibiting the present or recent caricature of Germany, Spain, Italy, China, and Japan, several of which did not arrive in time for use in the periodical. Generally speaking, articles contributed to a Magazine may as well be left in their natural tomb of "back numbers," or "bound volumes;" for the better they serve a temporary purpose, the less adapted they are for permanent utility. Among the exceptions are such series as the present, which had no reference whatever to the passing months, and in the preparation of which a great expenditure was directed to a single class of objects of special interest. I am, indeed, amazed at the cost of producing such articles as these. So very great is the expense, that many subjects could not be adequately treated, with all desirable illustration, unless the publishers could offer the work to the public in portions.
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