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A Cartoon History of New Zealand

The Unauthorised Version is more a history of New Zealand in cartoons than it is a history of cartoons in New Zealand.

Cartooning raises important questions of point of view: a question which is more problematical in New Zealand than in other countries, where violently differing opinions raise passions and can keep them high for years.

Sir Gordon Minhinnick may say in his foreword: 'experience suggests that a political career can be advanced considerably by a few well-placed cartoons'

Grant notes one interesting theme which runs through the history of cartooning in New Zealand - one which casts an interesting light on the national psyche: this is the cartoonists' continued inability to invent a national archetype. The most successful has been Minhinnick's Sam, who is notably nondescript.

Cartooning is above all else an occasional art, and the pressures of deadlines explain why cartoonists are generally more concerned with the occasion than with art. In this country, as a rule, they have been aesthetically as well as politically conservative.

Grant's book is by no means an 'unauthorised version' of our history. He himself says that the national newspapers have constantly repressed radical criticism of the status quo. On the contrary: New Zealand cartoons preserve the safe official myths - that, for instance, of 'King Dick', whose appellation began as one of contempt but was transmuted over the years into one of affection; or the myth of cunning and conniving Rob-whose machinations are seldom shown doing any real harm.

Hardback in good condition with dust jacket
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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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