Monsieur Vipérin: Émile de Girardin and the republican satirical press in 1848

Laura O'Brien*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Émile de Girardin (1806-1881) is a key figure in the history of the French press. In 1836 he revolutionised the French newspaper market with the launch of La Presse, one of France’s first affordable daily papers. Its low subscription price was made possible by the paper’s heavy reliance on advertising revenue. Girardin also harboured political ambitions. Elected to the Chamber of Deputies during the July Monarchy, he claimed to have personally advised Louis-Philippe to abdicate during the February revolution of 1848. But Girardin’s relationship with the newly-established republic - and its leaders - was often problematic. This article examines representations of Émile de Girardin and his politics in republican caricature and satire during the Second French Republic. It argues that Girardin’s criticism of the Republic, and his frequently shifting political allegiances, made him a prime target for republican ridicule. However, this article also explores how the ridicule meted out to Girardin and others by the republican satirical press was part of a wider effort to use caricature and satire to define the meaning of quarante-huitard republicanism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-217
Number of pages21
JournalFrench History
Issue number2
Early online date18 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


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