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Albert Robida

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Albert Robida
Robida c.1894
Robida c.1894
Born14 May 1848
Compiègne, France
Died11 October 1926 (aged 78)
Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France
OccupationWriter, illustrator, etcher, lithographer, caricaturist, novelist, publisher
GenreChildren's Books, Graphic novels

Albert Robida (14 May 1848 – 11 October 1926) was a French illustrator, etcher, lithographer, caricaturist, and novelist. He edited and published La Caricature magazine for 12 years. Through the 1880s, he wrote an acclaimed trilogy of futuristic novels. In the 1900s he created 520 illustrations for Pierre Giffard's weekly serial La Guerre Infernale.


He was born in Compiègne, France, the son of a carpenter. He studied to become a notary, but was more interested in caricature. In 1866 he joined Journal amusant as an illustrator. In 1880, with Georges Decaux, he founded his own magazine La Caricature, which he edited for 12 years. He illustrated tourist guides, works of popular history, and literary classics. His fame disappeared after World War I.

Nouvelle carte d'Europe

Robida and his wife Marguerite (née Noiret) had seven children, three of which made contributions to the arts. His elder son Camille became a well-known architect. His youngest son, Henry, had been tabbed to serve as consulting architect to the government of Siam (today Thailand), but his life was cut short by World War I. Daughter Émilie was also an illustrator. In addition to several collaborations with her father, she was published in periodicals such as Le Journal pour tous and La Poupée modèle. Another son, Frédéric, was a president of the Touring Club de France.[1]

École primaire Albert Robida, a school in his native Compiègne, is named in his honor.[2]

Futuristic Trilogy[edit]

Albert Robida was rediscovered thanks to his trilogy of futuristic works:

These works drew comparison with Jules Verne. Unlike Verne, he proposed inventions integrated into everyday life, not creations of mad scientists, and he imagined the social developments that arose from them, often with accuracy: social advancement of women, mass tourism, pollution, etc. His La Guerre au vingtième siècle describes modern warfare, with robotic missiles and poison gas. His Téléphonoscope was a flat screen television display that delivered the latest news 24-hours a day, the latest plays, courses, and teleconferences.

Works with Pierre Giffard[edit]

La Guerre Infernale, Episode 2, January 1908
"Maison tournante aérienne" (aerial rotating house). One of Robida's drawings for his book Le Vingtième Siècle, a nineteenth-century conception of life in the twentieth century. Ink over graphite underdrawing, c. 1883, digitally restored.

Robida illustrated two works by Pierre Giffard:

  • La Fin du Cheval ("The End of the Horse"), on the inevitable replacement of the horse by the bicycle and then by the car.
  • La Guerre Infernale ("The Infernal War"), a 1908 serial adventure novel for children that appeared weekly every Saturday. Robida contributed 520 illustrations. The novel is set in the future and features uncanny parallels to World War Two, including an attack on London by Germany and a conflict between Japan and the United States. It was subsequently republished as a book.[3]


La Sortie de l'opéra en l'an 2000 (c. 1902, digitally restored)
  • Voyages très extraordinaires de Saturnin Farandoul, 1879 (translated by Brian Stableford as The Adventures of Saturnin Farandoul)
  • Le Vingtième Siècle, 1883 (translated by Phillipe Willems as The Twentieth Century)
  • La Guerre au vingtième siècle, 1887
  • Le Vingtième Siècle. La vie électrique, 1890 (translated by Brian Stableford as Electric Life)
  • Voyage de fiançailles au XXe siècle
  • Un chalet dans les airs (translated by Brian Stableford as Chalet in the Sky)
  • L'horloge des siècles, 1902 (translated by Brian Stableford as The Clock of the Centuries ISBN 978-1-934543-13-9)
  • L'Ingénieur von Satanas, 1919
Other work
  • L'Île de Lutèce : enlaidissements et embellissements de la Cité
  • La Bête au bois dormant
  • La Part du hasard
  • Le Voyage de M. Dumollet
  • Les Vieilles Villes d'Italie : notes et souvenirs
  • La Grande Mascarade parisienne
  • La Fin des Livres, with Octave Uzanne
  • Contes pour les bibliophiles, with Octave Uzanne
  • Les Vieilles Villes d'Espagne, notes et souvenirs
  • Un caricaturiste prophète. La guerre telle qu'elle est
  • 1430, les assiégés de Compiègne
  • Paris de siècle en siècle; le cœur de Paris, splendeurs et souvenir
  • Le 19e siècle
  • Les Escholiers du temps jadis
  • Les Vieilles Villes d'Italie : notes et souvenirs
  • Le Voyage de M. Dumollet
La Vieille France series


  1. ^ "Emilie Robida & Albert Robida". Au bon vieux temps de La Semaine de Suzette. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  2. ^ "École primaire Albert Robida grp A (60200, Compiègne)". journaldesfemmes.fr. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  3. ^ Iannuzzi, Giulia (2017), The Cruel Imagination: Oriental Tortures from a Future Past in Albert Robida's Illustrations for La Guerre infernale (1908), EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, ISBN 9788883038426, retrieved 6 April 2019

Critical studies[edit]

External links[edit]