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Friday, 9 March 2012

Casterman -Olympe de Gouges. A Truly Incredible Book.

Olympe de Gouges
Authors: José-Louis Bocquet , Catel  
Collection: Scriptures
Soft cover
Dimensions: cm 420.1×0.2×740
Pages: 400 (actually 488)
Price: € 24.00
Release Date: 14/03/2012
ISBN: 2203031778
EAN: 9782203031777

Playwright Gouze wrote that Marie Olympe de Gouges went through the second half of the eighteenth century as  few women did.  Marie was born in 1748 in the provinces to a bourgeois family, possibly as the result of an adulteress affair. But Marie was not to be just another woman whose story was lost to history.
Marie created a new idea in Europe.  One that would earn her much animosity: the struggle for women’s civil and political rights. But her spirit of independence meant that she had even more radical views such as pledging to fight for the abolition of slavery. A woman such as this made enemies and Marie was opposed to Robespierre and the so called ultras of the Revolution.  This eventually led to Paris and the guillotine in 1793, during “The Terror.”

There is no romanticizing of Marie here but the creators strive for constant historical accuracy, not just in the story but the costumes and details of life in the 18th century. And the life of Marie was that of an exceptional woman, whose ideals were far ahead of her time and helped forged some of the key values ​​of our societies today.  This is a somewhat warm tribute to one of the essential figures of feminism.

And yet I sit here asking “Why the hell have I never heard of Marie Olympe de Gouges?”

Now let me address that page numbering issue.  The official Casterman site says “400” whereas the press release with the book states “488” which is the correct number.

This is just so incredible a book –and bulky for a good reason.  The art by Catel is wonderful line-work with plenty of cross-hatching, stippling and detail.  It is the work of a true dedicated artist and I dread to think how long the 406 pages of art took him. Then there are the single character illustrations that follow at the top of pages.

You’ll have noticed that I wrote 406 pages of art and that is because there is a very lengthy chronology of the various characters and something I never thought I would see, even in a graphic novel –a bibliography: and quite an extensive one!  Bocquet has really put an incredible effort into this.

I’m just dumb-struck.  I would recommend this but have no fear about € 24.00 as there are special offers on the internet.

VERY highly recommended.

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