Bewildered

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Illustrations by BEN for a satirical adaptation of Don Quixote, published in Le Rire (France, 1939):

01 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

The quote which prompted this post and its title:

I found the object of my search engaged in cooking his dinner. He was lying in his bunk, near the fire, and had a long strip of venison wound around his ramrod, and was busy turning it before a brisk blaze, and using salt and pepper to season his meat. I at once told him the object of my visit. I found that he hardly knew what I meant. I explained the matter to him, and he agreed to sit. He was ninety years old, and rather infirm; his memory of passing events was much impaired, yet he would amuse me every day by his anecdotes of his earlier life. I asked him one day, just after his description of one of his long hunts, if he never got lost, having no compass. “No,” said he, “I can’t say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.”

–Chester Harding (1792 – 1866) describes painting Daniel Boone in My Egotistigraphy. (Found in Twelve Works of Naive Genius, ed. Walter Teller, 1972.)

02 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

03 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

04 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

05 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

06 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

07 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

08 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

09 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

10 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

11 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

12 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

13 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

14 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

15 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

16 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

17 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

18 Ben, illustration for Don Quixote, published in Le Rire, n. 1015, January 6, 1939

These scans again come from the Cervantes Collection of the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives. You will likely recognize a historical figure or two, and you can read an article in French explaining the hooded figures and Marx Dormoy.

Does anyone know anything about “Ben,” or recognize the style? I’m not even going to try Google. (This “Ben” has nothing to do with previously-covered “Benn.”)

I plan to look for more material from Le Rire. A wikipedia article with many wiki links:

The Dreyfus Affair occurred in 1894 and Le Rire was one of many publications to tap anti-Republican sentiment in wake of that scandal. It was a time in which French governance was frequently characterized by corruption and mismanagement. Government ministers and military officials became frequent targets.

The satirical journal was filled with excellent drawings by prominent artists. It featured full-page chromotypographs on both covers and in the centerfold. Many of these pieces are now highly desirable collectibles. The most prominent contributor was Théophile Steinlen. His illustrations were biting caricatures of the political “jackasses” of the day. Illustrations were contributed by well-known artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, René Georges Hermann-Paul, Juan Gris, Lucien Metivet, Georges Meunier, Jean-Louis Forain, Adolphe Willette, Joaquín Xaudaró, Leonetto Cappiello, Albert Guillaume, Manuel Luque, Jules Grandjouan and Jules-Alexandre Grun.

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Will Schofield is the editor of 50 Watts (original name: A Journey Round My Skull) and Writers No One Reads. More from this author →