The short-lived but complete run of the popular French satirical weekly journal La Lune: paraissant toutes les nouvelles lunes (1865-1868) was acquired by the UC Berkeley Library just a few years ago along with its successor L’Éclipse: journal hebdomadaire (1868-1876). Both were founded and edited by François Polo with André Gill as the chief caricaturist. The illustrations depict not only daring attacks on politicians and political affairs during the Second Empire, but they also offer an unusual insight into the dynamic cultural life of nineteenth century Paris. Artists, singers and writers were equally portrayed. Other major contributors included amongst others Cham, Pépin, Demare and Léonce Petit. La Lune abruptly ceased publication in 1868 after Polo was fined and briefly jailed for having published a caricature depicting Napoléon III as the literary character Rocambole in December 1867.
Eight days after the fnal issue of La Lune was published, Polo launched the weekly L’Eclipse to replace it which long outlasted the Prussian siege of Paris in 1870-1871 and into the beginning of the Third Republic. While still harassed by government censors, the inexpensive four-page weekly magazine with signature colorful wood engravings on the cover resisted and circulated freely.
Both of the originals can be viewed in print in The Bancroft Library or online through the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s digital platform Gallica.