The following post aims to show links between Victor Hugo’s The Toilers of the Sea and some of the earlier octopus political cartoons from the books publication in 1866 to 1910 when obvious references to Hugo’s pieuvre disappeared. Page numbers and quotes come from the following edition (English translation): Hugo, Victor. The Toilers of the Sea. […]

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Octopus as Chimera

Just a few rough ideas based on hybridity in political cartoons of octopus and other in order to develop a nomenclature for the different types of “octopuses” that appear in political cartoons. With the exception of the human/octopus combination, hybridity only makes up a small proportion of monstrous octopuses in political cartoons. To dehumanise (i.e. […]

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Subterfuge

The octopus is often drawn as intelligent, mendacious and deceitful. The octopus tries to present itself as something other than an octopus. These include: appearing as the bearer of gifts in the Forty Thieves, as a Trojan Horse, misdirection in the “Hunting the Octopus” or as treasure on an island. This was a relatively common […]

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Arms Around the World

It is a staple of the octopus metaphor in propaganda and cartoons to plop an octopus on a globe to represent the threat to civilisation that group X presents. A selection: Circa 1938 a German cartoon (Seppla) showed Churchill as a Jewish octopus with his arms around the globe. 1945: A French cartoon in showed Hitler […]

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Of Maps and Octopuses

The following is a selection of octopuses with maps (or maps with octopuses). States are most typically represented as octopuses when it comes to maps, however, Landlords, Jews and Free Masons have also been shown as octopuses juxtaposed with cartography. I have excluded octopuses on globes for this selection, as the symbolism differs from a […]

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Octopus as an anti-semitic symbol? In April 20071 there was a furore over the depiction of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg as an octopus on cover of America’s 1st Freedom: a National Rifle Association (NRA) magazine. The octopus was seen an antisemitic symbol, and as an attack on the mayors Jewish heritage. The NRA cartoon […]

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