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Westfield Books

General antiquarian and second-hand books.

First Graphic Novel

Rodolphe Töpffer

Histoire de Mr Jabot. Paris: Chez Aubert Galerie Véro Dodat, 1839


54 leaves. 9 x 5.5 inches. Cover title: M. Jabot. Printer statement at bottom of title-page: ‘Imp. par Aubert’. Probable original boards, re-backed and with new endpapers.


Rodolphe Töpffer (1799 – 1846) was born in Geneva. Educated in Paris, he returned to Geneva to became a school teacher. In 1832 he was appointed Professor of Literature at the University of Geneva. Töpffer is best known for his graphic novels, regarded as the earliest European comics. He initially wrote them to entertain his friends, among whom was Goethe who persuaded Töpffer to have them published. His ‘Histoire de M. Jabot’ was the first of these and features the comic adventures of a middle-class dandy attempting to enter upper-class society. Each page has one to four captioned cartoon panels, much like modern comics. Rodolphe Töpffer is generally considered the father of the modern graphic novel.


1st Paris ed.

Current Condition

Probable original boards, re-backed and with new endpapers. Professional repair to outside corners of last two leaves; occasional light marginal dust soiling. A very good copy. Graphic comic novel by Rodolphe Topffer, originally published in Geneva in 1833. Lithographed throughout; text in French.