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Spot the difference (with a difference): two states of Crétée's satirical map of Europe, 1914-15

Spot the difference (with a difference): two states of Crétée's satirical map of Europe, 1914-15

Crétée’s scarce First World War caricature map has cropped up on this blog before, but I have now had the opportunity to compare the two versions side by side: Two-Cretees It has laid to rest any lingering doubts I may have had that the version published in Paris, firstly under the imprint ‘Editions G-D’ and then by Editions Delandre, takes primacy over the version published in Warsaw by Vladislav Levinsky in 1915. The dates are there, of course (1914 in the title of the French map and 1914-15 on the Polish one, which was passed by censor in 1915) but there is other internal dating evidence. Here’s how Italy is presented in the French version: Cretee-Italy-1 By 1915 Italy had joined the war on the Allied side, and our moustachioed musician has swapped his mandolin for a machine gun, menacing the Central Powers: Cretee-Italy-2 There are one or two stylistic differences too. Here is the Tsar in the French version: Cretee-Tsar-1 And here he is again, on the Polish map: Cretee-Tsar-2 The differences are really quite significant, not matched by changes to the features of the characters anywhere else on the map, and presumably they reflect local sensibilities. Possibly the revisions were even a requirement of the censor, prior to publication. The French Tsar is particularly haughty; in the Polish version he remains serene, but his features are softened, positively benign. The face is printed with more colour, and it is turned towards the reader. He is pinking the raging German bull with minimal effort, but he only deigns to observe it from the corner of his eye. There are one or two other changes: Cretee-Ottoman-troops Anatolia is left blank in the original version, but in the revised edition a file of be-Fezzed Ottoman troops disappears behind the legend after receiving their marching orders from the Sultan in Constantinople. Updated to add (01/15): Another variant of this map has recently come to light, this time with a Moscow imprint: Cretee-Moscow-imprint Dated 1915, it belongs to the first part of the year before Italy entered the war, predating the Warsaw version, which is dated 1914-15 and depicts the Italian armed. However, it doesn’t completely follow the first French edition either. The most obvious differences can be seen in the figure of the Tsar. Cretee-Tsar-3 Facially he is closer to the Paris edition than the Warsaw version, but note the double-headed eagles on his cloak (so far unique to this edition) and the imperial tricolour. Cretee-falling-Ottomans Anatolia is empty, though small Ottoman figures are falling from islands in the Aegean. According to my friend Winfrid de Munck the imprint reads: With your requests contact S. E. Mironov, Moscow, Kamergerskiy Lane, b. 6, ap. 26. Tel: 2-45-65. No print restrictions from the Imperial Court Ministry. April, 6, 1915. Deputy chief of the Court Ministry office, Fedenko. I. N. KUSHNEREV and partners printing house, Moscow. Winfrid also notes: “the text on the map is also very interesting from a linguistic point of view, as I found out last night while I was desperately seeking the characters ‘i’, as in ‘требованiями’, and ‘ѣ’, as in ‘апрѣля’, on my Russian keyboard. These could not be found. However, according to Wikipaedia, both these letters were eliminated in the post-revolution spelling reform of 1918. The ‘ѣ’ or ‘yat’ is especially interesting as, according to Wikipedia, it ’originally had a distinct sound, but by the middle of the eighteenth century had become identical in pronunciation to (e) in the standard language”. Eliminated in 1918, it remains a symbol of the old orthography, and of courseboth the ‘yat’ and the ‘i’ are still in usage on this map. The survival rates for these maps are absolutely minute. This latest example was sold separately (the price of one rouble is printed in the lower right hand corner) and it has been pinned to a wall somewhere, presumably, in Imperial Russia. The pin holes are still visible (and for this kind of map, I feel, those signs of use are entirely acceptable). It becomes of greater importance to explore and record these subtle distinctions between editions, the very number of editions is evidence for the popularity of maps like these when they were originally published. Rarity today does not necessarily indicate small print runs. No-one I know has successfully established the identity of the artist, as yet. Crétée could be a pseudonym, the French form of Creteus - son of Minos, killed as foretold by his own son. A fairly dark classical allusion, if such it is. With a circumflex it seems that it can also mean ‘crested’, so perhaps the allusion is to other characteristics. At any rate, ‘B. Crétée’ is not associated with any other cartoons or illustrations I’ve been able to track down. I did wonder if it was a transliteration from the cyrillic, but I am fairly sure that we are dealing with a French artist. At least, my hunch is that the map was created in Paris, even if there was always an eye to publication within the Russian Empire.
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