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 A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900

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Sylvain
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PostSubject: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyFri 14 Feb 2020, 11:08

Project Castafiore is an experiment where you co-create a graphic novel with hundreds of Internet users. 

The artwork will be created by professional comic artist Silvio Speca, who will be driven by the community of participants. A story outline will be proposed, discussed and developed. Discussions will take place on the free and open access website castafiore.org.

The proposed story takes place around 1900, in Europe, America and the Middle East. It combines adventure, action and scientific progress (including a bit of scientific anachronism). History will be used as a background but needs to be true: settings, everyday life, events (competition between colonial powers, entrepreneurial capitalism, political and social struggles, role of the press, occult revival).

Please give us your feedback, as we can still modify a lot of things at this early stage. Does it sound interesting to you? What should we do to make this a success?

Thanks,
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 11:37

Collaborative authorship of stories is notoriously difficult - even if the collaboration survives in a well edited productive process the resulting narrative is inevitably inferior, with almost all the crucial ingredients of a good narrative prone to being fatally disjointed.

If you are an artist wishing to illustrate a genuinely unique and original narrative and you don't feel up to the job of making up the story yourself I suggest that you use your obviously well honed social media instincts to perhaps find one author who shares your enthusiasm and vision. Then invest a decent amount of time in the pre-planning stage, as much to gauge how well you can work with this potential collaborator over a lengthy period as to thrash out the bones of the story. Secondly, be prepared to go through this whole process a few times before a good working relationship with a collaborator emerges. Finally, and this is as true for one potential collaborator as for a "stable" of participatory collaborators (the "crowd sourced" imagination from "participants" you apparently are hoping to tap in to), never succumb to the temptation to "borrow" inspiration from your co-creator(s) and then claim the bulk of the credit for yourself. Besides being somewhat illegal it is, in the long term, deleterious to your own potential as a creator going forward.

Otherwise, best of luck with your venture. The story theme is indeed an interesting one in as far as you have described it.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 12:34

Syl, I don't know if you've already considered this but have you thought about contacting people in the gaming industry?  They are used to dealing with interactive formats.  Here we mainly comment on topics that have caught our interest (or at least the interest of one of us) and even then some of the threads die on the vine.  I do admire your courage for going ahead with your project though and wish you much luck.
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 13:17

Thanks Nordmann.
The goal of the experiment is to test our ability to create a collective piece of work, the underlying issue being our growing inability for constructive democratic debate (more on this here: castafiore.org/t/49). I'm not sure whether this will produce an inferior or superior narrative, but that's not the point (same for visual art, as the community will also be involved in page layout).
Also, Silvio has published ten comic books so far, with and without co-authors. So I'm not sure about your central paragraph.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 13:33

Hi Syl.

I had assumed from your name that you had been referring to yourself as the artist. Sorry about that.

The goal seems laudable enough, though it also reminds me somewhat of the old "camel is a horse designed by a committee" quip. In my own limited experience of such collaboration in any creative process democracy is not the primary challenge, and in fact compromise (which allows more people to collaborate for longer periods with best chance of an end product) is nearly always utilised at the expense of the potential quality of the product. Consensus, in other words, can dilute rather than enhance the quality of the end product.

But as I said, the venture itself sounds worth doing. Though I would suggest a more practical method of achieving it on Silvio's part is to retain the entire creative element for himself and use the "crowd sourcing" element only to help in determining historical authenticity of the narrative's elements. Even this approach will inevitably yield an interesting historiographical challenge in agreeing what is "authentic" and what isn't on the part of those providing this input, and it will be in that part of the process that true tests of democratic constructivity and compromise leading to consensus will occur. Mind you, given my experience of other situations in which historicity is discussed without even a requirement to produce an end product at all, if I were Silvio I would just let them get on with the argument and go ahead and produce a good story of my own anyway!
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 13:34

LadyinRetirement, thanks for your advice and encouragement. Promoting this project is tough and I begin to realize I might not be so good at web marketing :-) 
I'm not sure about the game industry. My priority is to find potential participants. As I see it, they need to have taste for both collective activism and literary/artistic/historical matters. Where do I find those people? That's where I fall short right now.
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 13:48

I had assumed [...] you had been referring to yourself as the artist.

Good catch, I will change my username.

> I would suggest a more practical method of achieving it on Silvio's part is to retain the entire creative element for himself and use the "crowd sourcing" element only to help in determining historical authenticity of the narrative's elements. 

Maybe that is what we'll do if we don't find enough participants willing to be involved in the creative effort itself. But, in my opinion, that would be a shame.

Even this approach will inevitably yield an interesting historiographical challenge in agreeing what is "authentic" and what isn't on the part of those providing this input, and it will be in that part of the process that true tests of democratic constructivity and compromise leading to consensus will occur. 

That process is what really fascinates me :-)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 13:49

Syl wrote:
My priority is to find potential participants. As I see it, they need to have taste for both collective activism and literary/artistic/historical matters. Where do I find those people? That's where I fall short right now.

It's the term "collective activism" that is probably your biggest problem. It's a vague concept that ranges from helping to draft a story to planting flowers in urban wasteland right up to storming the Winter Palace.

Why not simply ask for people with an interest in literary/artistic/historical matters to function as voluntary consultants in the process? And then give a little more structure to the intended process - such as "the author will at times consult you all on whether X, Y, or Z can or should be part of the story based on its authenticity?". This at least gives the intended collaborators the bones of a role in which they can engage in the project and then, given what I know about historical discussions etc, this will naturally evolve into cross-referencing, discussion, debate, and maybe even consensus, once all the consultants can meet on the same forum. Whether this evolves into more direct or proactive collaboration is totally up to the author himself, but at least you will have encouraged as many as possible to engage in some limited form to begin with and the project will either grow, stagnate or flounder from there.

PS: You posted while I composed this message, but I think it answers your most recent points too. Cheers
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 14:09

Nordmann, I love your sentence about "collective activism".

I agree the way you present it is clearer and makes more sense, but I think it has two drawbacks:
1. It twists what we really want to achieve.
2. It is subject to flaming: "You want us to work for free for you, how dare you?!"

(by the way, the collective work process is explained here: castafiore.org/t/50)

Maybe what we should do is:
1. Start the project
2. Reach people with short consultant-type questions, like "Based on its historical authenticity, do you think A or B should be part of the story?"
3. Progressively convert people to a more active role.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 14:56

I checked the three principles on the site you mentioned.

They're fine, and very democratic. However what isn't referenced in the points they cover is the crucial one of relative expertise. Not who is cleverer than the next person, but which area of expertise most applies to one person compared to another person within the same collective. In a process in which you state at least three distinct areas of expertise (history, literature and art) and in which several others will arise as time goes on, then the debate and potential for active collaboration, however democratic, is almost doomed to confusion and ineffectiveness. The very same problem dogged the Leningrad Institute of Proletarian Fine Art set up by the Soviets in the 1920s. This academy's very laudable aim was to give every member a say in the artistic direction and execution of its output, the guiding principle being that every member's input was as valid as the next member's, whether classically trained or had wandered in from the nearest farm, no one's subjective opinion or ability was better or worse than another's.

You only have to look at the output there to see the rather obvious flaw in this approach to producing anything of artistic value at all. It's worth noting also the number of people who, despite these hugely restrictive conditions, managed to defeat the odds and produce art of substance and popularity, only then to be "culled" (in some cases quite permanently) for having had the audacity to stand out from the mediocrity the approach engendered. And this all happened within arguably just one broad discipline - "art" - in which quibbles centered mostly on which "-ism" the artist should adopt in style. Imagine if the Institute had tried to broaden its membership to authors, literary critics, historians, biographers, and all the other "talents" your project advertises as welcome.

My point is that you will not need to "convert" people to a more active role if you start as I suggested and limit the terms of engagement to consultancy to begin with (most people are happy to be consulted and would not begrudge a contribution on that basis). If the author (though I see your principles denote two such authors at any one time - another source of problems in my view) identifies potential contributors on the basis of their consultancy as being of even more value to the aim of the project - which is hopefully to produce a good graphic novel at the end of it all - then this apparent elevation from the ranks of consultants to direct inputters into the construction of the story itself requires no "conversion". Nor should it lead to any acrimony among collaborators as long as the project was presented up front as involving these two distinct phases, and that it would be up to the community itself to decide if they wished to prolong their consultancy role once the crucial second phase was underway, with or without more active collaborators having been identified.

Which is why the author(s) must be very clear from the outset what role is expected of the community involved, as well as the phases which will be conducted in order to hone a marketable story from the process. And at all times therefore the author retains complete editorial control, as well as the power to decide when or if this engagement from the community no longer serves a valid purpose. As long as this is clear throughout then the risk of "alienating" community members (as stated within the principles you referred to) is kept to a minimum and the potential willingness of the community to engage voluntarily is maximised. At least until the process itself has to be ditched in favour of more traditional story-boarding and compilation of the end product for hopeful sale to a public.
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 15 Feb 2020, 22:24

Thanks for the thorough insight.

Yes, hierarchical, expert-driven decision making works well in many cases. It's how companies work. One might argue it's how art production often worked during the Italian renaissance.

But what drives me are democratic processes and their flaws.

There is something in-between centralized decision taking and direct democracy: deliberative democracy. Deliberative democracy doesn't define how final decisions are taken. It might very well be centralized and expert-driven. Deliberative democracy just specifies that their should be a thorough and constructive preliminary debate with the people affected by the decision. 

Of course, you see immediately how this concept can be turned into no democracy at all. The challenge is to think the link between the debate and the decision taking.

Coming back to project Castafiore, I am still convinced a democratic experiment is more appealing to people than a hierarchical projet. But I will reconsider if I get more feedback like yours. It can even be changed during the course of the project.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyMon 17 Feb 2020, 07:41

@Sylvain wrote:
Thanks for the thought insight. 

All my insights are mental  Smile

@Sylvain wrote:
Deliberative democracy just specifies that their should be a thorough and constructive preliminary debate with the people affected by the decision. 

This is the core principle behind most constitutional democracies, at least those that have a constitution in which ultimate power - including the power to amend the constitution - is invested in the people. So no, I cannot see how this translates into "no democracy at all" where it is in place. For all its flaws it far surpasses unconstitutional democracy, badly constituted democracies, or worse - as we have all witnessed in the UK in recent years - a state which believes it has a constitution when it in fact has never had one beyond what an elite asserts.

In the case of "Project Castafiore" the aim is admittedly rather more modest than delivering an entire sovereign and functioning state operating in the interests of the welfare of all its citizens. However the project's aim is still to produce an end product, part of whose "raison d'etre" is hopefully to be read and enjoyed by a customer - even if the product will be distributed gratis for consumption, as the project's aims state, or even if the method of its composition forms a significant part of its raison d'etre too. At some point, regardless of how it was composed or whatever might have been learnt from this process by its contributors, editorial decisions will have to be made regarding content to be included, production values, potential marketability, and (not least) quality and appearance of the final product. Whether a financial profit is to be made from the exercise or not (in this case "not") is in fact immaterial. The product still has to be consumed to have any worth of any description. Without that aim then the composition process, no matter how much deliberation and democracy might have been employed in conducting it, robs the participants of a tangible incentive to contribute at all. This is something the project itself assumes by its very nature - it stresses from the outset that successful completion of the process will result in a graphic novel. The absence of such a novel at the end of it all might therefore legitimately call into question the success of the venture, including the method used to prosecute that venture. For the venture to be deemed "unsuccessful" simply because the resulting material lacked basic editing would seem a rather silly outcome, given the laudable aims regarding promotion of consensus through "deliberative democracy" that produced the material in question.

So, you might indeed call editing a "centralised hierarchical expert-driven" exercise. However it is unavoidable when producing literature of any merit, at least if the thing is to fulfil its objective in any way.
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyTue 18 Feb 2020, 16:28

@nordmann wrote:
Without that aim then the composition process, [...] robs the participants of a tangible incentive to contribute at all.

That what I thought initially. However, given the feedback I got, I came to the conclusion that:

- People interested solely in the result (pure comics fans) will always doubt a non-traditional process of being able to achieve a quality result.

- People interested in the process don't care much about the result. As an activist told me: "I hate comics; how can I give you money for your project?"

Hence, for me, a communication issue: I can reassure the comics fan with a more centralized approach (without any guarantee it will ever be enough), but then I loose the activist. And vice-versa.

You might say I need to pick side. But at this stage it's unclear to me where I will get the more participants.


@nordmann wrote:
For the venture to be deemed "unsuccessful" simply because the resulting material lacked basic editing would seem a rather silly outcome

You are right. The solution is obvious to me: adapt the process along the way to achieve a balance between collective decisions and quality. But this is hard to explain to both the comics fan and the activist. This comes down to "trust me", which is a poor headline :-)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyWed 19 Feb 2020, 14:19

I see the problem - those into the method can't see the point of a graphic novel to "prove" it, and those into making a graphic novel can't see the point of polluting the creative process with bickering endless deliberations ...

But then it's you who have decided to make the graphic novel a point of the exercise in the first place. Which begs the question; how much deliberative democracy did you engage in with yourself to reach that conclusion?  Smile

For what it's worth the basic theme and time-set of the novel is indeed an intriguing historical phase.  It was a period in which the zeitgeist fundamentally changed the world over, and in many ways the true seeds of global mechanised warfare into which humanity would shortly be plunged were sown irrevocably at this point. Literature and art around the world, almost as a "sixth sense", suddenly turned very morose and morbid in tone, and a general sense of foreboding enters public discourse globally, independent of culture, fashion or social organisation. Very few predicted the real cataclysm around the corner with any accuracy, but it must certainly be true that this general air of doom entered power politics as much as anything else at the time, and probably even became a self-fulfilling prophecy on that basis.

We live in similar times now, I reckon. So any attempt at promoting true democratic discourse, however small or seemingly insignificant, is welcome. I really hope your own particular venture at least makes a good stab at contributing to some much needed deliberative determinism towards any future that doesn't automatically include another half-anticipated cataclysm. Baby steps, always a good idea ...

Cheers
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyWed 19 Feb 2020, 19:56

@nordmann wrote:
it's you who have decided to make the graphic novel a point of the exercise in the first place

Well, I needed something people would enjoy working on, something not too literary. Comics sounded like a good choice at the time...


@nordmann wrote:
general air of doom

Any pointer on this? I lack material about feelings and sensitivity.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyWed 19 Feb 2020, 21:46

@Sylvain wrote:


Any pointer on this? I lack material about feelings and sensitivity.


@nordmann wrote:


Very few predicted the real cataclysm around the corner with any accuracy...

Is this of any use? It is from Jung's autobiography and the great master here recounts three dreams he had during the months just before WW1 broke out - October 1913 - June 1914. Jung, of course, was Freud's star pupil. Freud was working in Vienna around 1900. These dreams are typical of the traditional shaman, one of whose functions is to warn his tribe of a coming disaster. Not to be dismissed as woo-woo (one of nordmann's favourite expressions). A bit of the old woo-woo often works in novels...

In October [1913], while I was alone on a journey, I was suddenly seized by an overpowering vision: I saw a monstrous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. When it came up to Switzerland I saw that the mountains grew higher and higher to protect our country. I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood. This vision last about one hour. I was perplexed and nauseated, and ashamed of my weakness.

Two weeks passed; then the vision recurred, under the same conditions, even more vividly than before, and the blood was more emphasized. An inner voice spoke. "Look at it well; it is wholly real and it will be so. You cannot doubt it." That winter someone asked me what I thought were the political prospects of the world in the near future. I replied that I had no thoughts on the matter, but that I saw rivers of blood.

I asked myself whether these visions pointed to a revolution, but could not really imagine anything of the sort. And so I drew the conclusion that they had to do with me myself, and decided that I was menaced by a psychosis. The idea of war did not occur to me at all.

Soon afterward, in the spring and early summer of 1914, I had a thrice-repeated dream that in the middle of summer an Arctic cold wave descended and froze the land to ice. I saw, for example, the whole of Lorraine and its canals frozen and the entire region totally deserted by human beings. All living green things were killed by frost. This dream came in April and May, and for the last time in June, 1914.

In the third dream frightful cold had again descended from out of the cosmos. This dream, however, had an unexpected end. There stood a leaf-bearing tree, but without fruit (my tree of life, I thought), whose leaves had been transformed by the effects of the frost into sweet grapes full of healing juices. I plucked the grapes and gave them to a large, waiting crowd...

On August 1 the world war broke out.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 20 Feb 2020, 08:57

@Sylvain wrote:

@nordmann wrote:
general air of doom

Any pointer on this? I lack material about feelings and sensitivity.

You don't lack material - you just haven't looked at it yet.

There are so many examples from literature and art in the decades leading up to the First World War that I am hesitant to highlight any single one - the point is not so much that individuals made accurate predictions or otherwise (though Temperance's example shows this also certainly occurred), but that what was discerned as worthwhile artistic expression in what we call the "western" world gradually veered away from what, in the mid 1800s for example, had driven much of such expression in favour of what can only be described as an appeal to popular pessimism. Staple motifs and aesthetic styles, rooted often in romantic and philosophical ideals, and with a high regard for naivete and innocence, gradually gave way to a more "realistic" approach to popular expression that placed a higher value on being honest than spiritually or intellectually elevating. In some cultures this trend continued rapidly into what became known as "brutalism", though along the way there were many popular offshoots with which we are still familiar - in the UK for example HG Wells was probably the best known exponent of this new direction in literature (though you can add Collins, Conan Doyle, and a myriad other popular authors into the mix, all of whom embraced a forensic and rather amoral interpretation of reality that was not shy of making predictions on that basis, rarely if ever optimistic).

One example however which has always appealed to me is William Morris (of wallpaper fame) and his publication "News from Nowhere". It was originally a serialised article in which Morris got a chance to espouse his own utopian principles of socialism, but which developed into one of the earliest science fiction novels along the way and a runaway best-seller in its day once these articles were compiled into one book. In the story the earth is visited by aliens intent on learning how humans behave, what motivates them, and what the future might hold for them. As the story goes on, and bear in mind that Morris wrote this over quite a long time, both the aliens and the author gradually grow more pessimistic about everything, and in this way Morris was probably unknowingly documenting the shifting zeitgeist around him. What the story ultimately concludes is basically that the human imagination, though powerful enough to rationally deduce the desirability of a fair society, is still so imperfect as to fail to realise such ambition without inflicting terrible pain on itself along the way. The human "experiment" is one in constant self-imposed jeopardy, and the story ends with the aliens finally leaving, having been advised by their human interlocutor that they should keep faith in such obviously flawed creatures as humans despite, rather than because of, the evidence of their own observations. All agree that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they could ever even begin to get better. The human, more in desperation than hope, even tries to persuade the aliens that this pessimism is in fact the root of all that is good about humans, and indeed the aliens could do with a dose of it too. The aliens' final comment is along the lines of "well, let's just agree to differ about that" and they depart, promising never to return as it would be heart-breaking to see that the grand experiment had inevitably failed and humans had destroyed themselves. All very cheery stuff ...

There are some good quotes from the book which, in the UK in the early part of the 21st century, resonate a little too uncomfortably closely with present realities. One very pithy piece of information the human relays to the aliens "I must now shock you by telling you that we have no longer anything which you, a native of another planet, would call a government." is certainly bang-on as we speak.

The more often cited quote is extremely sad - given that it's spoken to a human by a member of a more successful species, rather patronisingly trying to "cheer up" this representative of a less developed species which, the aliens are sure, is about to destroy itself. But it sums up the fatalism of the period pretty well - "Go back again, now you have seen us, and your outward eyes have learned that in spite of all the infallible maxims of your day there is yet a time of rest in store for the world, when mastery has changed into fellowship — but not before. Go back again, then, and while you live you will see all round you people engaged in making others live lives which are not their own, while they themselves care nothing for their own real lives — men who hate life though they fear death. Go back and be the happier for having seen us, for having added a little hope to your struggle. Go on living while you may, striving, with whatsoever pain and labour needs must be, to build up little by little the new day of fellowship, and rest, and happiness."

The book ends with a question to the reader - what happened next? The author then adds that he hopes, for humanity's sake, that the reader drew a different conclusion than he did.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 20 Feb 2020, 10:36

There's also the whole genre of the fin de siècle. The original French expression, meaning simply 'end of century' has since become a catch-all phrase to describe everything occurring in the two decades running up to 1900. More specifically the term has tended to be associated with the idea of decadent, flamboyant luxury - or at least casual, rather excessive consumption - and an overall ésprit of joie de vivre. Accordingly the term also now encompasses the expression of these mores in art, music, architecture, entertainment, fashion, social behaviour etc. In France this period is often referred to (with post WW1 hind-sight) as la belle époch, but at the time, pre-1900,  it was widely thought to be a time of general degeneration - with western 'civillisation' careering towards some sort of crash - albeit with the underlying hope that this would eventually lead to a new beginning.

Rapid advances in technology and global communications had suddenly made the world smaller, and contemporary commentators recognised that this would change the economic and political systems of the whole world. So while the period saw increasing rationalism, social freedom and liberal democracy, it was also when the seeds of materialism, nationalism and fascism were sown, and one where the mindset was increasingly that the troubles facing society required some sort of major 'final solution' to put them right. There was also the widespread assumption that, simply on a calender basis, the passing of the nineteenth century would somehow represent a fundamental discontinuity with the past.


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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 20 Feb 2020, 11:42

Then, as ever, there is religion - or what passes for religion.

In 1897, three years before your chosen date, William Bell Riley (has anyone ever heard of him - I certainly hadn't until recently) took over as pastor at the First Baptist Church, Minneapolis. It was an appointment that, God help us, was to lead to disquieting things. Riley has been described by Matthew Sutton, Professor of History at Washington State University, as "the Grand Old Man of Fundamentalism":


When Riley announced in 1919 that the fundamentalist movement was going to be bigger than the Protestant Reformation, he was wrong. Yet there can be no doubt that the work of fundamentalists and their evangelical successors produced one of the most significant and powerful religious-political movements in American history. They have driven religion into the center of American politics and culture, where it is likely to stay for many decades to come. (From an article in the New York Times.)

Let's hope Sutton is right when he says Riley was wrong, but when absolute power - or absolute corruption - combines with the sort of self-righteousness and ignorance as was born in that little Minneapolis church a century ago,  we end up with the nightmare of end-time theology combining with politics and nuclear weapons.

I read this somewhere and noted it down - I think it is from Martin Amis. I just hope what Riley started in the early years of the 20th century does not "change the course of history":

There exists a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics (notably the lower clergy) for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are times when this underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates,captures and dominates multitudes of usually sane and responsible people who thereupon take leave of sanity and responsibility. And it occasionally happens that this underworld becomes a political power and changes the course of history.

As I said, God help us: that fervent pastor clutching his Bible in 1897 could prove to be of huge significance. Meanwhile, over in Europe, Freud's brilliant pupil, Jung, himself the son of a Protestant pastor, may already have been wondering about humanity's collective Shadow - that "subterranean world of horrors"...


Last edited by Temperance on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 13:46; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Put "wrong" (about Sutton) when I meant "right"!!!)
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 20 Feb 2020, 13:03

Nothing much to add, but the link gives the context for Temperance's quote from Martin Amis (at #22 on the list) https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/list/101172219-christie-mcnitt
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 20 Feb 2020, 13:56

Thank you, LiR. Amis's "Rub of Time" - I remember now - I had it and lent it to someone and never got it back. I jotted a few quotes from it in my Brill Quotes Notebook!
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 20 Feb 2020, 21:33

Thank you all.

Yes, romantic writers were depressed and psychoanalysts claimed they had predicted the war in their dreams. Yet, a Polish girl could flee her country, study physics and win two Nobel prizes. The time was both the outcome of tremendous progress and the beginning of a terrible era. Up to the point - thanks Meles - where French produced two opposing concepts - Fin de siècle and Belle époque - for the exact same period of time.

And now, as a fiction writer, I need to give tangible form to this mess using characters and dialogs :-)

Thanks Temperance for this William Bell Riley. I now plan to address fundamentalism in the story.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyFri 21 Feb 2020, 07:57

I found the quotation from M Amis to be apt for the times we are living in now - thinking of YouTube (and the internet generally) conspiraloons.  I won't go into the details of (to me) crazy ideas that are sometimes mentioned (though I try to stay on the sensible side of YouTube (and the internet generally) these days).  Mind you, one can find bizarre situations without recourse to the internet.

Sylvain's project could be fun as long as it isn't a case of "too many cooks spoil the broth".  Sorry Sylvain, I don't want to put a dampener on things.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyFri 21 Feb 2020, 08:51

LiR wrote:
 Mind you, one can find bizarre situations without recourse to the internet.

The internet and the many "conspiraloons" found there are the least of our worries! It's the madness in great ones that must not unwatched go. And the madness that lurks in high places, once released, can be as contagious - and as deadly - as any rogue virus.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptyThu 05 Mar 2020, 13:09

The collective creation work starts today! Please join us at www.castafiore.org.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 07 Mar 2020, 10:56

An amazing movie of Paris in 1900 (AI-based restoration and coloring):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo_eZuOTBNc
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySat 07 Mar 2020, 22:38

Interesting to note the inevitable amount of horse manure on the streets in that film, particularly in the view of the Champs-Élysées at about 1:50 to 2:40. With a reliance on horse-power for urban transport and with the average horse producing over 10kg of manure every day, the world's cities were then facing a horse shit apocalypse. In 1894, 'The Times' famously predicted that "... in 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure", an exaggeration perhaps but it was nevertheless a valid concern. With over 50,000 horses on the streets of London at the time, the city was trying, and failing, to dispose of more than 500 tonnes of dung daily, and there’s only so much excrement you can put onto your roses and rhubarb. Other cities from Paris to New York, and Berlin to St Petersburg, were all similarly struggling. Within a few years however Henry Ford figured out how to make cars cheaply, and shortly afterwards horses were being traded in for Model Ts and the Great Horse Manure Crisis was averted. However it's interesting to see in this film that in the 1890s, alongside all the elegance and civillised refinement of the La Belle Epoch, the whole facade of gentility was still reliant on the sordid, almost medieval reality, of dung everywhere.

Incidentally the moving walkway featured towards the end was installed for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900.

Edit : I had mentioned two HG Wells futuristic stories that featured rapid, mass transit moving walkways, but as they both pre-dated the Paris Exposition by a few years his ideas cannot have been inspired by the Exposition.


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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 10:11

Paris, May 1900. One fine afternoon, a colorful crowd throngs the Trocadéro square, in the middle of the incessant broom of the cabs and omnibuses that serve the 1900 Paris Exposition.

Indignant complaints arise suddenly from the horse-drawn omnibus coming from Clichy. In issue: Jessie, a 22-year-old woman encumbered by a huge suitcase, who roughly jostles passengers to get out of the vehicle.

The scene has drawn the attention of three elegant young women, who’ve stopped to enjoy the show. They joke openly about Jessie and her enormous baggage (maybe they rushed, hilarious, to help her get off the platform?). Despite her modest allure, Jessie responds from ticking to tick, initiating a dialogue where spirit, irony and saucy allusions mingle.

Is the scene historically correct? What do our heroine and these three Parisians of the Belle Epoque say to each other? This is the first challenge of project Castafiore. Join us at https://www.castafiore.org
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 12:21

Why is there a crowd "thronging" the Place du Trocadero? Why aren't they across the river at the Exhibition grounds or attending the opening of the Olympics? Why is everyone assembled anyway at a big traffic intersection devoid of cafes, bars and restaurants in a city where almost literally every major urban artery converging there is chock full of these?

Are any of the women chaperoned? Is the American woman (and you will understand why this person has to be American based on your synopsis) fluent in French to the point where she can immediately engage in a conversation riddled with double-entendres with three Parisians?

So, if I have to guess how the conversation might begin it would be along the lines of "How have you managed to make it to a major Parisian traffic intersection without being sexually assaulted or arrested, especially with it being "thronged" full of people with obvious directional sense deficiencies and probably not of sound mind?". "In fact, why are we three standing here anyway too?". "How were you allowed take such large luggage on to a horse-drawn omnibus?". "But enough of that - let's engage in saucy allusions."

Credibly incredible, though on a par with traditional Hollywood interpretations of the past. So "historically correct" in the sense of evoking old Gene Kelly movies, maybe?
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 12:40

@Meles meles wrote:
a horse shit apocalypse

A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 Horseshit%20blog
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 12:55

Having briefly looked at your website, why, having just travelled from Clichy to the Place du Trocadéoro, does she hail a cab and ask "To Neuilly please"? If coming from Clichy her bus would likely have passed through Neuilly (Neuilly-sur-Seine), or at least just to the East of it, to get to the Trocadéro (which is directly across the Seine from the Tour Eiffel) :

A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 Paris

I'll admit I'm unfamiliar with the details of Parisian bus routes in 1900 but it does seem an odd route to me as Neuilly is about as far (6km or so) from Trocadéro as it is from Clichy, so she could have take a cab straight there, saved the bus fare and not had to struggle with her luggage on public transport ... but perhaps a reason will reveal itself.

PS
@Nordmann wrote:
Are any of the women chaperoned? Is the American woman (and you will understand why this person has to be American based on your synopsis) fluent in French to the point where she can immediately engage in a conversation riddled with double-entendres with three Parisians?

1. I don't understand why she has to be American ... please explain.
2. I know Frenchmen have a certain reputation but even so I'm not sure she would need to be chaperoned or otherwise protected from assault: Paris in 1900 was far from being a lawless Sin City. My grandmother when in her mid 20s in about 1910 had a job in a neighbouring town (NE of England), admittedly it wasn't a big city but it was still a sizeable industrial town and seaport, and she took the tram, or walked, there and back everyday, alone, in perfect safety.


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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 13:36

It wasn't the thing to use horse-drawn public transport for carrying large luggage items - in any city. However by 1900 Paris had quite a few electric tram routes, and in May 1900 several new such routes opened servicing the Place du Concorde with a terminus outside the Porte Monumentelle, the Exhibition's main entrance. This would have been a more logical point for the "broom" (is that a word?) of many public service vehicles coming and going, and indeed for the likelihood of three unchaperoned females to be loitering in the vicinity without attracting undue attention.

I'm flummoxed too as to why she'd then "hail a cab" to Neuilly, whether she'd landed on the Right or Left bank on her first mode of transport (it wasn't mentioned in the synopsis above). I'm also wondering just what language is being spoken by all these young ladies - the reference to linguistic allusions suggests one in which they're all pretty fluent, so it couldn't be English.

If the events were moved by a mere fortnight or so then one could have the whole encounter taking place at the Porte Maillot square which, prior to the opening of the Metro station a few years later, would have certainly been full of trams, omnibuses and other public transport vehicles. Especially in the month of June when a famous festival, the "Fete de Neuilly 1900", was held in the district to coincide with the Exhibition and Olympics, and in which something spectacular was promised for every day - ranging from hot air balloon races to firework displays, grand Venetian balls and "dodgem races" in which entire streets were fitted out to accommodate the small electric cars that could be hired for a few centimes by the public. This was where the "younger set" especially were hanging out that summer in Paris, and I reckon these young polyglottal females might well have ended up there rather than unchaperoned down at the expensive part of town without a male wallet in sight to get them past the main gate.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 13:51

@Meles meles wrote:


1. I don't understand why she has to be American ... please explain.
2. I know Frenchmen have a certain reputation but even so I'm not sure she would need to be chaperoned or otherwise protected from assault in 1900: my grandmother when in her mid 20s in about 1910 had a job in a neighbouring town (admittedly not a big city but it was a still sizeable idustrial town, and a seaport as well!) and she took the tram there and back everyday, alone, in perfect safety.


1. Her name. As short for "Jessica" it began to become popular in the USA in the latter few decades of the 19th century. It took quite a while yet before the trend was picked up elsewhere in English speaking countries, where it had existed using several spellings but only either as a diminutive of "Jane" or indeed "Jezebel", one being regarded only to be used for very small children and the other ... well.

2. Many women of course had to navigate journeys unchaperoned. However even then there were several unwritten but rather strict codes of behaviour and dress that applied. If one stuck to commercial and retail areas in any great city then the assumption was made that one had legitimate business there. Other public areas had different rules - in parks etc, for example, a woman perambulating alone without child or companion raised eyebrows. And when it came to areas of evening entertainment then to travel there alone, especially dressed for the occasion, drew all sorts of inquisitive, presumptive and often dangerously negative attention. A young lady travelling with awkward luggage through a salubrious district of a strange town would certainly attract attention, and at least some chivalrous male's offer to assist (even in Paris) as everyone knew the social code being broken and the risk the lady was taking, at least to her reputation.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 13:56

@nordmann

> Why is there a crowd "thronging" the Place du Trocadero?

Because the Trocadero Palace is one of the main entry to the Exhibition. Maybe "thronging" is a bit too much, I will remove it. Let's say it's Saturday, to increase the crowd.

>Is the American woman (and you will understand why this person has to be American based on your synopsis) fluent in French to the point where she can immediately engage in a conversation riddled with double-entendres with three Parisians?

She's lived in France from the age of 12 and attended school there (more at https://www.castafiore.org/tags/dpg-78-jessie?r=false).

>Are any of the women chaperoned? 
> So, if I have to guess how the conversation might begin it would be along the lines of "How have you managed to make it to a major Parisian traffic intersection without being sexually assaulted or arrested

That needs more explanation. The condition of women you describe is definitely not what I have in mind. In pictures of this era, you see many women without men. The presence and behavior of the police you imply is not what I have in mind either.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:02

> A young lady travelling with awkward luggage through a salubrious district of a strange town would certainly attract attention

What disguise should she wear to attract less attention?
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:06

Ah ... having read now your character's synopsis ...
"Her real name is Jeanne Bennett. She is the daughter of Howard Bennett (see below). She was born in 1878 in the United States, in a very wealthy American family of the east coast. At 12, she have to leave her parents and was is brought up in Paris by her maternal grandparents, exiled Russian aristocrats. At the age of 16, on the death of her mother, she ran away and is taken in by an Indian tribe in northern Mexico. There she participated in the last Indian wars. In 1900, when Jessie lands in France, she is 22. She is an adventurer who excels in combat and survival techniques. But she also kept from her education the ability to pass herself off as a woman from a good family, even from high society. Independent, determined, hotheaded, she has extraordinary abilities. But she is, at the same time, broken internally and emotionally fragility."

.... I think, given such an incredible biography, we have probably been over-analysing the historical background. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:08

About her itinerary:

- Jessie need to go from Clichy to Neuilly with a connection in a rather crowded place (to limit the risk of being traced afterward)

- I based my reasoning on this 1913 transportation map: http://www.paris1900.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/plan-paris-guilmin-transports.jpg. Line EG is Clichy-Trocadéro.

- I cannot find any documentation about tram (electric or not) before 1913. So I found safer to use an horse-bus.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:17

The Palace was officially part of the Exhibition but the grounds used were entered from the Port d'Iena. The Palace itself simply continued as a (rather hated locally) concert hall, so there was no need for "throngs" outside it at any point, even on a Saturday. You have the ladies meeting up at a giant traffic intersection outside an unpopular building in the middle of a period when that district was literally surrounded by much more salubrious meeting places that would indeed have been thronged a lot of the time.

If she's lived in France since the age of 12 then we can allow her the name "Jessie", but only if you also have her in the story obviously sick to her back teeth of explaining it to French people repeatedly over the intervening years. I imagine it would have been easier for her to adopt a French nickname instead (at that point "Jessie" would not have been the name on her birth certificate anyway).

I did not describe any woman's "condition". However it is important to remember that society in 1900 cities contained many more rules regarding decorum than apply today, and the introduction of young ladies freely congregating at certain venues at which eyebrows would indeed have been raised at the time implies that you mean to suggest they are a) aware of this and rebellious enough not to give a fig (which would certainly be noticed by passers by), or b) ladies with a rather less innocent agenda (which would certainly be noticed by police of the period). If neither is relevant to your narrative then I would suggest you eliminate this unnecessary and confusing supposition by allowing them a far more logical context in which to enter the story, and indeed a more logical place in Paris too (even on a Saturday).

PS: Just read the "biography" Meles meles posted. I'm with MM - if that's her "background" then I can't see why she shouldn't wander anachronistically around Paris alone with her luggage and an equally anachronistic first name engaging in double-entendres with complete strangers at traffic intersections. It seems to be easily the least remarkable thing about her anyway.


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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:17

@Meles meles
> I think, given such implausibility, we have probably been over-analysing the historical background

We are talking here about a work of popular fiction. Yes, Jessie is not an average Parisian woman. She doesn't need to be representative of any historical paradigm.

However, she needs to evolve in a historically correct environment, so that the plot remains plausible given the implausibility of the character. In other words: Jessie being a ninja is ok. Jessie walking alone in the street in an era when single women are always arrested by the police is not ok.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:37

> The Palace was officially part of the Exhibition but the grounds used were entered from the Port d'Iena.

So we can either remove the crowd or change the place. To all: any idea?

> I imagine it would have been easier for her to adopt a French nickname instead (at that point "Jessie" would not have been the name on her birth certificate anyway).

Her real name is Jeanne Bennett.

> they are a) aware of this and rebellious enough not to give a fig (which would certainly be noticed by passers by)

That is very interesting. How to show the way passers by notice? What do they actually say? (to her, or to each other)

> If neither is relevant to your narrative

Unfortunately, it is. The issue will pop back at almost every scene, as the story is basically about a female cowboy hurtling in old Europe like a bull. What I would like is that old Europe reaction be plausible.

> I can't see why she shouldn't wander anachronistically around Paris alone

Please see my answer to MM.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:55

Because I realize describing Jessie as a "female cowboy hurtling in old Europe like a bull" might scare people here, here are some actual women of this era who were a source of inspiration:
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_David-N%C3%A9el
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Blunt,_15th_Baroness_Wentworth
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_Bly
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabelle_Eberhardt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Bell
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Smith_Peck
Again, the fact that we tell the story of extraordinary persons doesn't mean we should be anachronistic.
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 14:59

@Sylvain wrote:

1. So we can either remove the crowd or change the place. To all: any idea?

2. Her real name is Jeanne Bennett.

3. That is very interesting. How to show the way passers by notice? What do they actually say? (to her, or to each other)

4. Unfortunately, it is. The issue will pop back at almost every scene, as the story is basically about a female cowboy hurtling in old Europe like a bull. What I would like is that old Europe reaction be plausible.

5. Please see my answer to MM.

1. Move it to Porte Maillot in Neuilly a fortnight or so later. That way you kill two birds with one stone - she gets to a very busy Neuilly public square and transport hub thereby preserving her anonymity in the crowd while reaching her destination in the shortest possible time, and in fact has a better chance of accidentally meeting younger Parisians such as the ones you mentioned who are far more likely not to be inhibited by prevalent mores. There was a great Carnival kicking off, after all, so the crowds attending would have had a higher than usual proportion of younger people than the Exhibition or Olympics were attracting. Note that your transport map of 1913 will be terribly misleading for 1900 when planning little itineraries around the city - the Metro changed everything in that respect. Stick to those from 1890 to 1900 and bear in mind that there were plenty of temporary services opened that summer.

2. "Jessie" as a derivative for a female version of "John" was actually a peculiarly Irish tradition at that time, and was generally ditched once a person reached maturity. Given that she was brought up at least partly by Russian aristocrats then Ivana, Ivanka, or Iva, would have been their most likely equivalent. If you stick with "Jeanne/Jessie" then it really needs a back story as to why she uses it, especially when globe-trotting.

3 and 4. Talk to females who have spent time wandering around Istanbul without a scarf on their head, even in this day and age. In some areas it's the norm, in some places it draws strange looks, and in some places it can quickly escalate into argument, altercation and similar. If you know the rules, and you know where you can get away with it, then you can live all your life in Istanbul without once having a bad experience. Stray outside the boundaries of decorum and then you can imagine for yourself how this will be related to you by expression, vocally, or even officially. This is the risk your ninja cowboy runs in almost every European context at the time, so I hope your artist is good at drawing scowls!

5. I did. I like the ninja bit. Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 15:09

If you read those biographies you listed you'll notice that each person devised a unique manner in which they could operate with some level of independence and freedom not usual for women of their age and time. By far the most successful one was male patronage, be it by a wealthy father/guardian or even a newspaper editor. This was important, not least for the obligatory "letters of credential" used in the days before passports, and without which the average female simply could not travel, especially alone. Others adopted even more extreme measures, such as impersonating men or "acquiring" temporary "escorts" to smooth the passage between places and cultures. Jessie doesn't seem to have adopted or have had access to any of these measures so must have devised some really clever ones of her own. These would need to be alluded to (though you have much more leeway than strictly historical data allows I cannot myself imagine what these might be - ambassador for a New Mexican Ninja Cult maybe?).
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 15:51

> Move it to Porte Maillot in Neuilly

Ok, I will look into this.

> a fortnight or so later / a great Carnival

I don't get it. Do you mean there was a carnival in Neuilly?

> "Jessie" as a derivative for a female version of "John" was actually a peculiarly Irish tradition at that time, and was generally ditched once a person reached maturity

Jessie Brown is the name she chose to use after she left home in 1894 to live her errant life in the US and Mexico. I picked it because of https://www.castafiore.org/t/about-given-name-jessie/81. Do you still think it's a bad choice?

> Talk to females who have spent time wandering around Istanbul without a scarf on their head

Excellent trick, thanks.

> Others adopted even more extreme measures, such as impersonating men 

Yes, I plan to use this a lot.

>  "acquiring" temporary "escorts" 

Excellent again! That's a whole plot in itself :-)

About chaperonage, is a young man enough in all circumstances? (19 years old)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 16:52

@Sylvain wrote:

1. I don't get it. Do you mean there was a carnival in Neuilly?

2. Jessie Brown is the name she chose to use after she left home in 1894 to live her errant life in the US and Mexico. I picked it because of https://www.castafiore.org/t/about-given-name-jessie/81. Do you still think it's a bad choice?

3. About chaperonage, is a young man enough in all circumstances? (19 years old)

1. Yes. It ran from the second weekend in June until 7th July with a different main attraction every day. Extremely popular and famous, mainly because it hijacked the "throngs" (I love that word) already in town for the Expo and Olympics, but by all accounts was much more avant garde and much more fun (and cheaper). If I was creating a Jessie I'd definitely be having her head in that direction rather than the stuffier business going on down town.

2. That baby-names site linked to by "Syl" looks completely wrong, even for the USA. I think what they've done is added up all the registered births involving "Janes", "Janets", "Jeannes", "Jeanettes" etc (all of which later could be shortened to "Jessie" as a pet name) and decided therefore that up to 6,000 per million girls answered to Jessie in the late 1800s. Really bad historical research on their part! It would be many decades before the name Jessie lost its negative connotations for girls and became a choice in its own right. By all means stick with it - but be aware that the poor girl would have had to constantly explain why she stuck with it every time she met someone new. If you have people just "accepting it" without comment then you lose historical accuracy. However (though I am not recommending it) had she been called "Willie" at the time it wouldn't have raised any curiosity whatsoever - as short for Wilhemina it was very popular amongst white Americans in the 19th century.

3. A male old enough to look the part but not so old as to want to go scouting after talent himself is the perfect chaperone. He can be trained to keep his mouth shut and speak only when he's spoken to. He can carry stuff for you, including the cash (women's dress didn't accommodate lugging necessities around and handbags/purses were really only suitable as accessories with particular outfits). And in most places you really only need him to get through the door - you can then park him at convenient locations to be picked up again later. Younger male relatives were perfect for the chore - but you could always rent one if needs be (nothing sordid mind you, think mobile baby-sitter agency and you get the drift).
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 17:05

Deleted, because I was waffling and it was irrelevant, sorry. silent
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 18:34

No you weren't - it was an interesting and relevant post! Names are important - I like the idea of a François(e).

Sylvain, you might like to check out Jean Rhys's novel, Quartet, which was published in 1928 - bit late for you, but Rhys's description of an apparently street-wise, but actually "emotionally fragile", young woman's experiences in 1920s Paris is brilliant. It's based on Rhys's own time in the city - life in the Parisian demimonde during that interesting decade. You might pick up a few tips - and the details (including bus routes) are all authentic. Lots of thronging going on, too.

Also, you might consider googling (or even reading!) Henry James's great work, The Portrait of a Lady. James's heroine, the fortunate, yet unfortunate, Isabel Archer, is an "independent-minded" young American woman who, like so many enthusiastic and "independent-minded" young (American) women, then as now, comes a real cropper during her time in the Old World. Isabel's friend, the redoubtable Miss Stackpole, is a most interesting character too; and she reminds me rather of your Jeannie: Miss Stackpole is a journalist - sent to Europe by her paper the Interviewer. She, being redoubtable, does not come a cropper.

There's a short bit of dialogue in Portrait which might be of use to you - I'll look it up (if I can find it - long time since I read the book!).


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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 19:07

Found it. Here Henrietta Stackpole, who has just arrived in England from New York, meets Isabel's wealthy, young (and dying) cousin, the funny and wise Ralph Touchett, described by James simply as "a philosopher" (Ralph is an American, but now lives in England):



"To please you I'll be an Englishman; I'll be a Turk!"


"Well, if you can change about that way you're very welcome," Miss Stackpole returned.


"I'm sure you understand everything and that differences of nationality are no barrier to you," Ralph went on.


Miss Stackpole gazed at him still. "Do you mean the foreign languages?"



"The languages are nothing. I mean the spirit - the genius."


"I'm not sure I understand you," said the correspondent of the Interviewer; "but I expect I shall before I leave."


"He's what's called a cosmopolite," Isabel suggested.


"That means he's a little of everything and not much of any. I must say patriotism is like charity - it begins at home."


"Ah, but where does home begin, Miss Stackpole?" Ralph inquired.


"I don't know where it begins, but I know where it ends. It ended a long time before I got here."





(The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 10.)





Probably not the least use to you, but James's mention of the barriers of "the spirit, the genius" struck me...


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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 19:10

PS 


Henrietta Stackpole -  Isabel's fiercely independent friend, a feminist journalist who does not believe that women need men in order to be happy... Henrietta is a symbol of America's democratic values throughout the book. After Isabel leaves for Europe, Henrietta fights a losing battle to keep her true to her American outlook... At the end of the book, Henrietta disappoints Isabel by giving up her independence in order to marry Mr. Bantling.




(Copied from good old Sparks' Notes! Embarassed )
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Sylvain
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PostSubject: Re: A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900   A participatory graphic novel taking place around 1900 EmptySun 08 Mar 2020, 21:21

> Move it to Porte Maillot in Neuilly a fortnight or so later.
> 1. Yes. It ran from the second weekend in June until 7th July with a different main attraction every day. Extremely popular and famous

Ok, let's do this. What bothers me is that I find no source for this on the web. Any pointers?

> It would be many decades before the name Jessie lost its negative connotations for girls 

We can change the name. "Willie" might be ok, but it doesn't sound so well to my contemporary ears. What about yours? As an alternative, what do you think about "Jo"?

> "throngs" (I love that word)

I'm ashamed to say that this word is Google Translate's idea... (original text here)
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