La Collection Patrie
Back-page advertisement from one of the first editions giving an editorial policy statement of sorts
There is a smaller section on this website of the cheap, 'penny' novels published under the trade mark 'La Collection Patrie'. Here we have a new section showing some 100 different colorful covers taken from the same series of French war-time novelettes.
'La Collection Patrie' was published weekly starting in 1917. Some 150 seperate issues were produced, the last ones appearing at the end of 1919. Judging from advertisements and the price of issues, the series was in (re-) print at least until 1926, though no new stories were added. The novelettes were printed on cheap pulp paper, and consisted of a complete story of 24 pages relating to some kind of war-time event or another, usually in regards to French feats-of-arms. The cover was printed in color and was quite eye-catching and dramtic in scope and gave a good idea of what story was about. There were also 2 to 5 black and white illustrations inside, accompanying the text, always well executed and very clear in style. The covers were almost always done by the same artist, the inside drawings were by a variety of illustrators. The stories were written by a number of different writers and tended to be somewhat dramatically and emotionally unbelievable for people of this present day and age, but apparently quite popular with the French Great War public.
As the above back-page advertisement shows, this patriotic collection of penny novelettes was not only intended to bolster up morale on the home front, but was meant to be a testimony to the indignities and bestial crimes commited by the barbarian enemy on the sacred soil of France. Since the series was in print til 1926 at least, it must have enjoyed quite a measure of succes in France. A number of issues also appeared in Dutch translation and as they were mainly intended for the Belgian market they must have been published after the Armistice. After the Liberation in 1944, a new series of 'La Collection Patrie' was launched on the newsstands of France, but without attaining the same number of issues and without having the same success as the Great War series.
We show these covers not only for their appealing graphical appearance, which incidently at the time they were first published was quite modern in style, but also because images such as these have become, in France especially, part of the general collective memory of how past and present generations have come to view the Great War in their mind's eye. It is also interesting to note that relatively expensive color printing was done on these otherwise cheap booklets at a time when Allied (and French) fortunes of war were at a low ebb. Compared to German news and magazine publications of the war time period, French magazines were still lavishly printed and illustrated. Few German magazines could afford, let alone recive permission to print in color while in France such magazines and even children's comic book weeklies appeared with color printing as a matter of course.
The covers in this section are divided into more or less distinct categories, but when they were first published, the novelettes appeared in a haphazard manner, with no regards at all to war chronology.
to the first 'Collection Patrie' link
The French Army in KÚpi
Foreign and Exotic Fronts
The French Army in Helmets
Chaplains, Reporters, Nurses and Sundry
Brave Little Belgians
The Yanks Are Coming
Marshalls of France
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