Kaspar

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Drawn & Quarterly Publications, Mar 3, 2009 - Comics & Graphic Novels - 96 pages
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A sad and cautionary tale of mystery, fame, murder, and innocence

May 28, 1828, marked the beginning of the official life of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who appeared mysteriously in the streets of Nuremberg and died of knife wounds five years later under equally mysterious circumstances. "Europe's child," as pamphleteers referred to him, captured the imagination of salon society. Allegedly raised in a dark cellar and deprived of human contact until the age of sixteen, he became the proof of a concept for theories about natural man, original sin, and the civilizing mission of culture. Rightful heir to the throne of Baden or a fraud? Redeemer of man's sins or "ambulatory automatist"? The curious circumstances and significance of his life have been disputed ever since.

In Kaspar, Quebec cartoonist Diane Obomsawin draws on Hauser's own writings, and contemporary accounts, to tell the foundling's strange story. Minimalist grayscale panels and the simplest of line work register the wonder and bewilderment of a trusting and sensitive soul emerging into a fickle society. Gentle and poetic, na´ve and profound, Obomsawin's first book to appear in English translation has a quiet and compelling charm.

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About the author (2009)

Born in Montreal in 1959, Diane Obomsawin spent the first twenty years of her life in France. Trained in graphic design, she returned to Canada in 1983 and turned her attention to painting, comics, and animation. Here and There, an autobiographical film about the artist's rootless childhood, has garnered numerous prestigious distinctions.

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