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Von Rodolphe Töpffer bis Gustave Doré

Parodierungen romantischer Ideale im graphischen Roman des 19. Jahrhunderts

Guido Rings

Pages 25 - 48

Until recently, most research on the graphic novel of the early 19th century has focused on the textual features of Rodolphe Töpffer’s literature and, in particular, on his contributions to the development of the “Bande Dessinée”, which led to him being singled out as “originator” or “father” of the comic strip. Only very few studies have analysed the aesthetic features of his work in any sufficient depth, and even less thought has been given to his successors Cham and Doré. This article would like to reduce this gap in research by exploring key examples of the graphic novel with regard to its critical interrogation of Romantic ideals that became characteristics of the literary canon in French speaking countries when Töpffer developed his stories of gentlemen in crisis. The analysis will sketch out the ambiguity of the hybrid genre as frequently both a parody of established literary “obsessions” with Romanticism and an affirmation of tolerance for the fantastic imagination and enthusiasm of the new outsider-protagonists. In this sense, the blurring of traditional boundaries is not limited to textual features, but finds its equivalent in liberally inspired pragmatic-realist aesthetics.


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