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Laborde’s Essay Featured in The French Review


A research article by Visiting Assistant Professor of French Cynthia Laborde appears in the December 2016 issue of the French and Francophone studies journal The French Review.

“Se presser de rire de tout de peur d’avoir à en pleurer: Franquin, Lagaffe, et l’environnement” (“To hasten to laugh at everything for fear of having to cry: Franquin, Lagaffe and the environment”) explores environmental issues as portrayed in popular culture.

In the 1950-70s, consumer culture was taking over French and Belgian societies, which saw massive and rapid urbanization that brought about shifts in leisure and work habits. Laborde shows Franquin’s ability to communicate his concerns about a rapidly changing society and the resulting environmental damage.

The article focuses on Gaston Lagaffe, a perspective-changing soft satire of consumer so

the french review

The FRENCH REVIEW is the official journal of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) and has the largest circulation of any scholarly journal of French and Francophone studies in the world.

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ciety, productivity and authority. The comic strip was created as a side project by André Franquin, one of Europe’s most famous comics, in 1957. It progressively became Franquin’s most important work.

Laborde describes Gaston as a lazy and clumsy office worker who loves taking naps and creating useless things that eventually explode in someone’s face or create complete chaos. “Gaston, however, is a Highlight Linkharacter who makes the readers more than simply laugh,” Laborde said.  

Because of Gaston’s influence, the character became the mascot of the United Nations Environment Program.

The French Review is the official publication of the American Association of Teachers of French.

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