J.J. Grandville and Anthropomorphism

French artist J.J. Grandville was a caricaturist and illustrator. Among his many talents, was anthropomorphic illustration. By combining human and animal characteristics into remarkable, fantastic creatures, Grandville satirized his political and social mileu. These surreal wood engravings from 1842, were a huge influence on Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, on Franz Kafka’s writing, and on Walt Disney.

I was able to view a nice edition of Vie Privee et Publique Des Animaux, thanks to the French Library at U.C. Berkeley. A witty and telling commentary on politics and personalities (I’m told), this book is crammed with stunning illustrations.
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4 thoughts on “J.J. Grandville and Anthropomorphism”

  1. I think I’ll check this book out sometime this week; those drawings always creeped me out a little bit, but the fact that Kafka capitalized on that disorientation makes me want to learn more about it! The scene of the Goliath Beetles reminds me of the Robert Crumb biography of Kafka and his revolting rendering of the cockroach… Cool prints, thanks for sharing!

  2. Disorientation is right, Ben! Grandville’s engravings conjure worlds that have resonated deeply in modern culture. Gregor Samsa is one of the creepier and most unforgettable offspring, but I think that Rocky Raccoon sprang from the same well of anthropomorphism.

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