Friday, March 28, 2014

Max und Moritz: It Doesn't Pay to be Naughty

One hundred fifty years ago, the forerunner of the modern comic book was born: Max and Moritz, A Story of Seven Pranks (Max und Moritz - Eine Bubengeschichte in sieben Streichen). This classic tale by Wilhelm Busch recounts the "adventures" of two boys who wreak havoc in a small German village, causing a tailor to almost drown, a dog to be beaten, and a teacher to be burned. Of course, in the German tradition, no wrong goes unpunished, and the duo meet an untimely death when they are ground into bits at a mill and devoured by ducks. The stories are an important part of German literature; and even today, parents read these graphic tales to their young children. The moral: it doesn't pay to be naughty.

An exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of Max and Moritz is currently on display at the Deutsche Museum f├╝r Karikatur und Zeichenkunst in Hannover, and includes over 350 original drawings and rare manuscripts. It's definitely worth a trip, if only to understand German sensibilities.

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