Robida

Albert Robida was a French illustrator, etcher, lithographer, caricaturist, and novelist. He edited and published La Caricature magazine for 12 years.

Through the 1880s he wrote an acclaimed trilogy of futuristic novels. During his lifetime Robida was known primarily for the artwork he provided for luxury editions of literary works by François Rabelais, Charles Perrault, Honoré de Balzac, and others, as well as for many illustrated books on French urban architecture and history. Later generations came to see Robida primarily as a gifted science fiction novelist and artist. Beginning in 1879 Robida serialized Voyages très extraordinaires de Saturnin Farandoul, a fantasy-adventure spoof of Jules Verne’s Voyages extraordinaires (“Extraordinary Journeys”) series. The illustration on the right shows what Robida imagined a trip to the opera would be like in 100 years time. The aeroplane had not yet been invented and even the automobile was a futuristic concept to Parisians of the time. You can see that the occupant travellers had no safety restraints and what form of energy or engine seems an unimportant element of this fantasy.

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