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Doré, Gustave

(1832-1883) French painter and illustrator, far more successful in the latter capacity, as he was clearly inspired to do his best work by pre-existing texts, many of them fantastic; as a satirist he was also highly successful, though his targets were local (ie mid-nineteenth century France) and are relatively difficult to appreciate by a contemporary audience. At the same time, the constantly fantasticated exorbitance of his caricatures and other popular drawings underpins his more sustained work, and helps explain the hypnotic facility of his rendering of dream worlds. He was extremely prolific, and in his later years visibly overworked. Some of the texts he illustrated are of direct sf interest, including Léon Gozlan's Les Émotions de Polydore Marasquin; ou, Trois mois parmi les singes (1857; trans anon as The Man Among the Monkeys 1873) [French and English texts both illustrated by Doré]. More relevant to the study of Fantastika as a whole is perhaps the nonfiction London: A Pilgrimage (graph 1872), text by Blanchard Jerrold (1826-1884), which contains 180 illustrations, many of them full-page plates, focusing with an effect of visionary grotesqueness on relatively hidden aspects of life in London; of particular interest is the cover, which depicts a surreal cityscape, and the frontispiece, which focuses on a solitary New Zealander contemplating, from a point in the relatively distant future, the ruins of the great city (see Ruins and Futurity) across the Thames from his coign of vantage.

Walter Moers's Wilde Reise durch die Nacht: Nach einundzwanzig Bildern von Gustave Doré (2001; trans John Brownjohn as A Wild Ride Through the Night 2003) [German and English texts both illustrated by Doré] carries its protagonist, whose name is Gustave Doré, into a pellmell Night Journey through a series of Monster-choked landscapes directly inspired by the artist's illustrations to various fantasy texts, the tale most heavily drawn-upon being Lodovico Ariosto's Fantastic Voyage epic, Orlando Furioso (1516; exp 1532; illustrated ed 1877) [for Ariosto and Night Journey see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. [JC]

see also: Jean Giraud; Italy.

Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré

born Strasbourg, France: 6 January 1832

died Paris: 23 January 1883

works as illustrator (highly selected)


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 02:48 am on 18 January 2022.