3. De Wandelende Jood (The Wandering Jew), Amsterdam: Erve Wijsmuller; Metz: Fabrique d’Estampes de Gangel, [ca. 1855]. 1 sheet printed on paper (21 1/8 x 17 1/2 in.; 535 x 445 mm).
In 1844-1845, the socialist satirist Marie-Joseph “Eugène” Sue (1804-1857) published his over-1400-page serial novel Le Juif errant (The Wandering Jew). Despite the work’s name, the title character appears only occasionally in the story, stepping in to save various members of the Rennepont family from the hands of greedy Jesuits. This essentially anti-Catholic book, like Sue’s previously published Les Mystères de Paris (The Mysteries of Paris; 1842-1843), became a bestseller in Paris and beyond, and both of them inspired the popular Metz publisher Charles Nicolas Gangel (1835-1879) to produce board games incorporating elements and scenes from the stories in the mid-1850s.
The present lot includes Gangel’s original French-language game, “Jeu du Juif-Errant” (Game of the Wandering Jew), as well as an Amsterdam reprint with Dutch-language instructions produced by Erve Wijsmuller (1828-1913), an artist-illustrator known for his penny prints. “Jeu du Juif-Errant” is a variant on the Game of Goose, wildly popular in Europe since the sixteenth-century, in which players make an initial ante and roll dice to advance along the coiled oval track of sixty-three stations. Certain spaces and rolls of the dice either help or hinder the player’s progress, and the first to reach the end of the track takes the pot. Here, the route is that of the Wandering Jew on his way from Jerusalem to Paris, and the stations he passes feature scenes, characters, and animals from Sue’s book (Sue himself is depicted working on the novel in the lower-left spandrel). The rules of the game are printed in the center, in either French or Dutch, depending on the edition.
The last game, mounted back-to-back with “Jeu du Juif-Errant,” is another Gangel board game (produced together with Paulin Didion, who joined the business in 1859) called “Jeu des Nations” (Game of the Nations), in which medallion maps of eleven European countries, together with Turkey and Russia, form an oval in the center, while the outer corners are occupied by groups of figures from Asia, Africa, America, and Oceania.
Henry-René d’Allemagne, Le noble jeu de l’oie en France, de 1640 à 1950 (Paris: Gründ, 1950), 212, 218.
Henry Carrington Bolton, “The Game of Goose,” The Journal of American Folklore 8, 29 (April-June 1895): 145-150.
P. J. Buijnsters and Leontine Buijnsters-Smets, Papertoys: speelprenten en papieren speelgoed in Nederland (1640-1920) (Zwolle: Waanders, 2005), 254.
Mary Flanagan, Critical Play: Radical Game Design (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), 81-83.
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