Monday, 1 March 2010

Interwar imagi-nations

In a recent comment Abdul666 suggested that someone should set up blog that covers imagi-nations set in the 1920s and 1930s in the same way that Emperor vs Elector covers the 18th century. He mentioned Borduria and Opeland (the latter being my own 1930s imagi-nation) as examples of existing interwar imagi-nations.

I must admit that this idea appeals to me, and as a result I set about creating a list of suitable 1920s and 1930s imagi-nations that appear in literature. So far the list contains the following: I am sure that there are others, but I am presently unaware of them.

7 comments:

  1. Ruritania was re-used by several authors: maybe once or twice in a 1920-30 setting?

    Stirling's Domination of Draka existed at least implicitly before WW2.

    From the web, two lists of fictional countries: one given as such, one as a list of fictional flags.


    Do newspapers count as 'literature'? ‘Poldevia’ (Poldèvie in French) is a fictitious middle-european country invented by Alain Mellet, a French (extreme-right wing) journalist. In order to ridicule the members of the Parliament, he sent them in march 1929 a pressing call asking them to intervene in favour of those poor, unhappy oppressed ‘Poldèves’. The hoax was transparent –the letter was signed ‘Lineczi Stantoff’ (phonetically ‘The nonexistent off[icer?]’), the capital city of Poldévie was ‘Cherchella’ (phonetically ‘Search for it’), and there were a number of other obvious puns. Alain Mellet nonetheless received (and, cruelly, published!) a number of as official as indignant replies, promising to raise the dramatic Poldevian question at the French Parliament or even the Society of Nations! The name was not ‘copyrighted’ and has been reused -as such or as 'Poldavie'- a few times by French authors, generally in a rather humorous context. It was also used at least once in a comics, but I can't remember more -it was some 55 years ago- and the action was set after WW2, anyway.

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  2. Abdul666,

    Your information is very informative and I shall follow up the links with great interest.

    As far as Poldevia is concerned, I consider it to be in the great tradition of literary hoaxes (we have had some in Britain as well!) and therefore an apt member of the list of imagi-nations for the 1920s and 1930s.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Surely we must include Fredonia and Sylvania, the two warring states featured in the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup!

    Ah, I can hear Margaret Dumont singing even now: "Hail, hail Fredonia! Land of the Brave and Fr--(gets pie in face)."

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  4. Additional cinematic countries were depicted in Chaplin's The Great Dictator: Tomainia, controlled by Adenoid Hynkel and assisted by his Minister of War, Field Marshal Herring,and his Minister of the Interior, Garbitsch; Osterlich, which Hynkel was soon to annex; and Bacteria, whose dictator Benzino Napaloni initially opposed Hynkel, but later became an ally.

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  5. Chris J,

    I knew there were quite few that I had forgotten!

    Thanks for reminding me (and other readers) about Fredonia, Sylvania, Tomania, Osterlich, and Bacteria.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. There was also the post WW2 film with Stanley Holloway et al - where a London borough (Lambeth?) discovers some old French legal documents and declares Independence.

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  7. RobertPeel999,

    The film was called 'Passport to Pimlico', where Pimlico was found to be part of ancient Burgundy and therefore exempt from rationing etc.

    All the best,

    Bob

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