Paris: J. Strauss, 1877. Folded newsprint, measuring ca. 54 × 38 cm.; 4 pp. per issue. One issue with old repairs; occasional fraying to edges due to paper stock; still a very good set. Item #6284
[NEWS FROM THE NETHERWORLD, PRINTED IN COLOR ON BLACK STOCK]. Rare complete series of this satirical death-themed newspaper, printed in variously colored ink on black paper. Ostensibly edited by the departed, L’Autre monde explores earthly life as seen from the beyond, describes the reality of hell, and the supposed exploits of famous figures after their death. The price is given as 25 centimes (“only on Earth!”), the publication year is 3753; the editorial office is “on the banks of Styx” and subscription possible “through the Paris Catacombs.” Unsurprisingly, the first issue was printed as a prank on April 1. Illustrated throughout with caricatures and drawings of skeletons, skulls, and other morbid imagery; with texts such as “Histoire de ma mort,” “L’histoire du diable,” or “Sensations d'un suicidé.” Several of the issues are themed, such as one on sorcerors (no. 2) and another on spirits (no. 5). A sixth issue (billed as vol. II, no. 1) was published twenty-two years later, in 1896, and is here not included. While the paper’s author was never confirmed, it has been suggested to have been the journalist and writer Camille Debans (1834–1910), with drawings provided by André Gill (1840–1885). (See Dictionnaire universel illustré, biographique et bibliographique, de la France contemporaine, 1885).
In any case, the journal seems to have inspired several similar macabre mystifications, some of which are listed in a blog entry of the BnF (https://gallica.bnf.fr/blog/30102018/lautre-monde-le-journal-des-trepasses). The present group includes an unnumbered issue of a newspaper in the same style, but likely dating to the 1920s: Le Néant: journal de nulle part et d'ailleurs. One of the macabre illustrations, showing three dead men protesting conditions in hell, is by Robert Dansler (1900–1972).
Collection J. L. Beijers (1900), 403. See also Grand-Carteret, Les moeurs et la caricature en France, p. 560. Both only list nos. 1–5. KVK, OCLC show two complete holdings, at BnF and Oxford. Individual issues are held by Manchester, Basel, and Northwestern (only no. 5). The later journal (Le Néant) is not in KVK, OCLC and does not appear to be held by the BnF.