Farewell Uderzo, illustrator of Asterix

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Albert Uderzo in 2012 (via Wikipedia)

Albert Uderzo, illustrator of the popular Asterix adventures saga, passed away on March 24th at the age of 92, a few months after the comic strip, co-created with René Goscinny, turned 60 years old. This anniversary was much celebrated last year in France. Furthermore, 2020 is the bande dessineé (BD) year at the BnF (this will be covered later in another post).

The Asterix adventures have entertained, amused and captivated generations of young and less young readers. The two protagonists of the series, Asterix and Obelix, and their village of indomitable Gauls who always repel the Roman troops, have become universally known, and their series is one of the most popular created in the history of comics. Its remarkable success has not faded with time, it is the best selling European bande dessinée saga (370 million copies) and the most translated comic (111 languages). Continue reading

A tale for healthy living in 1920s Czechoslovakia : the November 2015 Slavonic item of the month

The November 2015 Slavonic item of the month is a small Czech addition to the Waddleton collection of colour-printed books.  Pohádka o zdravých dětech (A tale of healthy children; Waddleton.e.7.33) was printed in Prague in 1923.  Its verse and drawings tell its young readers of the importance of a healthy way of life.

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Front cover (and title page) of the book.

The story is framed by a doctor telling children about a country where small children never get ill, “where every child has laughter in their eyes and rosy cheeks”.  He then goes on to describe the healthy lifestyle of these children, with cleanliness, exercise, rest, and good diet much promoted.

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The Soviet Union through the pages of a children’s journal : the July 2015 Slavonic item of the month

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Cover of the Oct. 1947 Murzilka, celebrating the Revolution’s 30th anniversary.  From S950:01.a.122.1

The Russian-language monthly children’s journal Murzilka was launched in 1924 and enjoyed huge popularity throughout the Soviet Union.   In 2014, the publisher TriMag started to produce Arkhiv Murzilki (Archive of Murzilka), and the University Library has recently received the first four books in the set.  Arkhiv Murzilki provides a selected anthology of material from the journal.  While texts are largely reproduced in modern typography, the high level of illustrative matter included is reprinted without changes.  It is a very interesting addition to our Slavonic collections, providing a fascinating and beautiful snapshot of Soviet life as it was portrayed to young children.  Although the readership was juvenile, the journal covered all kinds of areas of Soviet experience, including World War 2 (Murzilka was, amazing, printed throughout the war) and achievements in industry and architecture.  The image below shows the wherewithal for building a paper model of the Palace of the Soviets (never completed in real life), complete with a banner-bearing march at its front.

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The build-your-own version of Boris Iofan’s Palace of the Soviets. From S950:01.a.122.1

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