Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vriend over Vijand - De Grote Oorlog in spotprenten by Paul Vandamme / Friend on Foe -The Great War in cartoons

Last Thursday I attended the presentation of Paul Vandamme's newest book 'Vriend over Vijand'  - De Grote Oorlog in Spotprenten (Lannoo, Belgium,  ISBN 978-94-014-0695-6, 40 eur)  . Title translation: Friend on Foe - The Great War in cartoons).  He couldn't choose a better place: the In Flanders Fields museum in Ypres. On the occasion of the publication of the  book by Uitgeverij Lannoo, a number of cartoons from the collection of the author and the IFFM are exhibited.
In the large cabinet the museum displays a number of original two- and three-dimensional caricatures, in the corridor hang eight large reproductions of famous caricatures.

Paul Vandamme is a belgian historian, history teacher and passionate collector of historic cartoons. In only a few years time he collected an impressive amount of WWI cartoon and caricature books, drawings, magazines and postcards from all over the world. In the book, a  reference work, about 400 historic cartoons tell and illustrate the history of WWI. The army of WWI cartoonists, armed with pencil and paper,  fought their battle to influence, to inform, to satirize, to boost morale... Magazines such as Simplicissimus (Germany), La Baïonnette (France), Punch (GB), Die Muskete (Austria), etc. published thousands of cartoons.

I've started reading the book, and I must say this an outstanding reference work. In about 10 chapters and 200 topics, the author tells the story of The Great War, starting in 1870 with the French-Prussian war and ending with the Pact of Locarno (1925). The drawings that  illustrate each topic have been selected with great care and fit perfect in the topic's context.  One notices that the author has spent lots of time in research. The author also explains the drawings in a comprehensive way. One of the most difficult things when I look at historic caricatures or cartoons, is trying to understand the drawings and their meaning. The author has done a good job and gives the reader a good insight in the different topics and cartoons.

Paul  was so kind to send us an English translation of some pages.  An English
translation of the book isn't available yet.
The book is available in Dutch and let's hope there will follow an English translation.

Maarten Vansteenberghe, publisher general non-fiction, Lannoo

Paul Vandamme signing the book I just bought...
many people attending the publication
one of the large reproductions hanging in the IFF corridor
Learn more:
Uitgeverij Lannoo
Standaard Boekhandel


Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for posting this, Jan! I have a lot of books about WW1, and "Vriend over Vijand" sure sounds like an amazing book. I do hope there will be an English version one day soon. I would surely buy it and treasure it.

Jan said...

Hi Mike,
I'll keep you informed and let you know when an English version is available.