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Hot off the satirical presses: Read all about it!!

Afficionados of nineteenth-century European caricature will be glad to hear of a virtual explosion of interest in this subject recently in France and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Italy, with important new websites developed in both countries and a flood of books related to the topic published in France—and at least two important books appearing in Italy. In France, the website Caricatures et Caricature carries extensive information about recent and forthcoming publications and exhibitions about caricature, along with numerous articles posted on-line (some recently published and others not), along with collections of caricatures on various themes. A related website, is sponsored by the Equipe Interdisciplinaire de Recherches sur l'image Satirique (EIRIS) at the Université Bretagne Occidentale, an organization dedicated to caricature research which publishes an annual journal, Ridiculosa, on the subject. The EIRIS site contains an extraordinary caricature bibliography with literally thousands of books and articles (it is especially strong in French materials, but also contains many English and German listings). The bibliography is theoretically accessible only to EIRIS members, but the website contains contact information and the EIRIS leadership does not seem to enforce this rule very strictly.
Among the amazingly large number of books about caricature recently published in France, the most important two are Laurent Baridon and Martial Guédron, L'art et l'histoire de la Caricature (Citadel's & Mazenod, 2006) and Jean-Michel Renault, Censure et caricatures: Les images interdite et de combat de l'histoire de la Presse en France et dans le monde (Pat à Pan, 2006), both lavishly produced and illustrated; although extremely expensive (65€), the former book sold out almost immediately and may be very difficult to find. Both books cover many lands and times, but especially concentrate on nineteenth-century France. Two separate books on the church/state controversy in France at the turn-of-the-century also appeared virtually simultaneously, and likewise are lavishly produced: Michel Dixmier, et al, La République et L'Église: Images d'une quarelle (Éditions de la Martinière, 2005) and Guillaume Doizy and Jean-Bernard Lalaux, A bas la calotte! La caricature anticlericale et la séparation des Églises et de l'État (Éditions Alternatives, 2005); the latter quickly sold out. Doizy (who runs the first website listed above) has also recently published two related books, one on caricatures with biblical themes, Et Dieu Crea le Rire: Satires et caricatures de la Bible (Éditions Alternatives, 2006) and another focusing on a leading anti-clerical satirical journal, Les Corbeaux contra la calotte: La lutte anticlerical par l'image (Libertaires, 2007). He also edited some previously unpublished writings by the French caricaturist Alfred Le Petit, Je suis malade: Curieux carnets d'un séjour à l'Hôtel-Dieu en 1903-1905 (Alternatives, 2007). A more comprehensive collection of the writings of the great 19th-century caricaturist, André Gill, has also appeared, edited by Bertrand Tillier: André Gill: Correspondance et Mémoires d'un Caricaturiste (Champ Vallon, 2006). In 2005, Tillier, a leading figure in French caricature research, published the well illustrated A la Charge! La caricature en France de 1789 à 2000 (Éditions de l'Amateur), which, like the Baridon and Guédron volume listed above, includes an extensive bibliography. Raymond Bachollet, the publisher of the journal, Le Collectionneur française, and a long-time champion of caricature studies, has edited a collection of caricatures on the Dreyfus Affair: Les Cent plus belles Images de l'Affaire Dreyfus (Dabecom, 2006), while a collective has issued a beautiful selection of illustrations of the most important early twentieth-century French caricature journal under the title L'Assiette au beurre (1901-1912): L'Age d'or de la caricature (France-Quercy, 2007).
In Italy, an extremely important website makes available the front pages of scores of important nineteenth-century caricature journals from Italy (especially), France, England and Germany. The site is sponsored by the Archivi della Parola, dell'Immagine de della Communicazione Editoriale (APICE) at the University of Milan, which recently obtained a large collection of such journals. APICE researchers Antonello Negri and Marta Sironi recently organized a conference and a book based on the collection: Un diluvio de giornali: Modelli di satira politica in Europa tra '48 e Novecento (Skira, 2007); they also recently published a book on a leading twentieth-century Italian caricaturist, who is highly controversial, as he published many caricatures in the leading fascist newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia. The book is entitled Mario Sironi: L'arte della satira (Charta, 2004).
Robert Justin Goldstein
Research Associate, Center for Russian & E. European Studies
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Prof. Emeritus of Political Science
Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan