Monday, October 03, 2005

Babar and his critics

John Liu has written an extremely interesting article on the political aspect of Laurent de Brunhoff's Babar books for the Harvard Independent. Liu writes,

"And it is true: the Elephant Kingdom seems to have reached the end of history. Babar no longer builds cities, or governs much at all; instead, he does yoga, takes world tours, and visits art museums. In 1993's The Rescue of Babar (Random House), he even remarks, "Let someone else be king," with the sigh of midlife ennui that seems to be only partially enhanced by a drug slipped to him by the "striped elephants". Even the blood feud with the rhinos -thought to be representative of both Germans and Communists in their heydays - has abated to an uneasy truce. "

Liu discusses Babar's critics, who have accused the author and his books of promoting a nationalist, colonial worldview.

(As an aside--Liu's account of the French Library and Cultural Center in Boston is amusing.)