Cordial Relations Over Absinthe

The depiction of the absinthe imbiber as a figure of satire and ridicule is increasingly apparent in period newspapers and publication of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, riding shotgun to more formal prohibitionist sentimentality.

A curious piece reproduced in the New Zealand Taranaki Herald (Volume XLVIII, Issue 11755, 23 February 1900) effectively borrows a Boer War propaganda poem & song by Rudyard Kipling of 1899 ‘The Absent Minded Beggar’, making social commentary on the then state of Anglo-French relations by changing it to ‘The Absinthe Minded Beggar’.

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Making allusions to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris, it alludes that British assistance is often taken for granted. It is actually as curiously timed piece of social commentary as the period 1900-1920 saw the rise of what was known as the Entente Cordiale, which saw Francophiles in UK and Anglophiles in France usher in a period of increased mutual cultural exchange and social cooperation. And no doubt absinthe consumption.

Ironically, the term L’Entente Cordiale also came to represent an illustration in a famous Swiss postcard that depicts and alliance between prohibitionists and producers of rival liquors in attempting to kill off absinthe.

Jonathan Apr 12th 2010 10:29 pm Culture,History,Literature No Comments yet Trackback URI

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