Victor Hugo’s Devil-Fish

An article on the impact of Victor Hugo’s representation of the octopus in “Les Travailleurs de la Mer” (Toilers of the Sea). This article was published a few years after Travaillieurs was published in French in 1866 and later that year in English (in New York). “THE OCTOPUS—DEVIL-FISH—OR MAN-SUCKER." Kapunda Herald and Northern Intelligencer (SA : 1864 – 1878) 19 […]

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“The Standard Oil Octopus”, Daily Graphic, Tues 4th Feb 1879, New York. Vol LXVIII, No.1. Octopus constructed of pipes and barrels, and capitalist harpies in a wasteland. Very early (1879) octopus political cartoon. “$10,000,000 Profits in 4 Months.” “Railroad monopolist & stock market manipulator William Vanderbilt is the top right vulture flying overhead. The other two vultures, are brothers William (left) […]

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The cephalopod – terrestrial devil fish – a monster of centralization (?) (1873) This is the earliest cartoon (1873) in my collection of the octopus as a metaphor for an industry. The presence of the cave, and the timing1 would suggest an Victor Hugo influence. It also precedes the ‘burst’ of octopus cartoons in the1880s […]

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