A Conversation for Portrayal of the British in Asterix Books

English/French or Bretons/British?

Post 1

Huw B

The book is a lot of fun but it's interesting how such things help perpetuate false modern perceptions of history.

The 'British' in question are nothing of the sort. They are the English, who of course would not begin to appear in Britain until the Romans left roughly 400 years after the time of the story. The Asterix series - even though it would logically seem to be about Bretons - gives the impression of being about France, well before the Franks came along. (I have not read the French version - does it make the distinction?). Similar references to other countries are to do with modern stereotypes and modern power biases.

Hey, folks, I'm not trying to get too heavy here! I know that much humour works because it refers to our own lives and perceptions. I just find it interesting (and a little sad) when historical material - whether serious or humourous - tends to represent the past in terms of the 'established' views of the present. I've met too many people who absorb stuff like this and believe it to be factually correct.

English/French or Bretons/British?

Post 2


Perpetuation of modern national thinking is indeed lamentable, and I see your point entirely. But yes, you can't blame the writers for using a different era to parody the modern one.
The French books make no reference to France, only to Gaul, although they do give the country the exact same boundaries as modern France, which it didn't have. I think Gaul was a fair bit smaller.

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