Allen Douglas

in War, Memory, and the Politics of Humor

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520228764
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926943 | DOI:

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This introductory chapter discusses the Canard Enchaîné, a French periodical that skillfully used multiple levels of irony and combined it with slang. The Canard has tirelessly cut through the conformities of French society and politics for over eighty years, and was established in 1915 to serve as a challenge to the patriotic gore characteristic of First World War journalism. The discussion notes that the Canard lived entirely from newsstand and subscription sales, and that it did not take any advertisements, appeal to its followers to support it via donation campaigns, nor accept any subsidies. This satirical weekly has shown that a newspaper can live—and thrive—because of, and not despite, its independence. As such, the Canard is viewed as one of the enduring objects of twentieth-century French culture. The chapter also views the Canard's essence, its intimate connections to the war experience, its principal weapon against censorship, and the reasons for its unique personality. A discussion of the biography and history of the weekly and how it was able to survive the war and gain the devotion of many readers is included.

Keywords: Canard Enchaîné; levels of irony; First World War; journalism; independence; French culture; war experience; censorship

Chapter.  8380 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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