La Création du Monde
July 2, 2012 8:27 AM   Subscribe

François Lejeune, better known as Jean Effel (2/12/1908 - 10/16/1982) (photo) was one of the most renowned French cartoonists of his time. His magnum opus may be considered La Création du Monde (Creation of the World), a whimsical and thoroughly modern (and a bit risque) take on Genesis, with God and Co. as designers, cooks, surgeons, engineers, scientists, artists, artisans and parents. You can see some examples of cover art here and selections from a gallery showing of Effel's work (including his anti-fascist work) a third down the page here The only known English translation of his work is an partial and exceedingly rare item. In 1957, an animated French-Czech co-production debuted (CZ: Stvorení sveta). You can watch it in five parts. Roughly divided by chapter: I, II, III, IV, V, VI.

The six parts roughly correpsond to the five books, which are, in order:
Le Ciel et la Terre (Sky and earth)
Les Plantes et Animaux (Plants and animals)
L'Homme (Man)
La Femme (Woman)
Le Roman d'Adam et Eve (Story of Adam and Eve)

The film ends on a considerably happier note than the books, which actually follow through the whole apple affair -- in a multi-page layout entitled "The First Marketing Campaign" featuring apple-themed nightclubs and casinos -- to the trial of Adam and Eve in a modern courtroom complete with jury, and finally to their exile from Eden. That part of Effel's ouvre doesn't seem to exist on the internet at the moment.
posted by griphus (4 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for posting this. The Création was one of my favourite books when I was a kid and I read the actual Bible many years larter. I didn't know that he was largely unknown in the English-speaking world, but it's not hard to understand why: Effel had close ties with communists and Adam and Eve walk around in the buff for most of the book. The end of the book is indeed dark, but the final page is optimistic and ends with the following poem: After the bleak evenings / Came triumphant mornings / Bread, chocolate and roses / And many, many children. (the expression Triumphant mornings is a quote from Victor Hugo).
posted by elgilito at 9:08 AM on July 2, 2012

Looks so intriguing! I can't watch the whole thing until post-work - but just wanted to say thanks, griphus, I appreciate how much work this post took.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

My copy from the Soviet Union (where Effel was well-known and even awarded a number of Soviet honors) is still in my apartment, and it's one of my most treasured books. I think I read it constantly between the ages of, say, 5 and 12.

Oh, that's right, I remember that last panel of Adam, Eve and Cain all in sheepskin and hanging out with their dogs and cats.
posted by griphus at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2012

Why will no one English translate this whole thing for my grubby mitts?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:41 AM on July 2, 2012

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