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Catalog Number 1983.120.123
Object Name Print
Accession number 1983.120
Description Print by Louis Raemaekers

Kaiser in snowy wasteland.

Information Written on Back: No. 162 / 933 / The outcast/ (drwn in 1915)

Additional Information from "Raemaekers' Cartoons: With Accompanying Notes by Well-known English Writers" by Louis Raemaekers Copyright 1916 (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19126/19126-h/19126-h.htm)

NOTE: The legend of the Wandering Jew obsessed the imagination of the Middle Age. The tale, which an Armenian bishop first told at the Abbey of St. Albans, concerned a doorkeeper in the house of Pontius Pilate—or, as some say, a shoemaker in Jerusalem—who insulted Christ on His way to Calvary. He was told by Our Lord, "I will rest, but thou shalt go on till the Last Day." Christendom saw the strange figure in many places—at Hamburg and Leipsic and Lubeck, at Moscow and Madrid, even at far Bagdad. Goodwives in the little mediæval cities, hastening homeward against the rising storm, saw a bent figure posting through the snow, with haggard face and burning eyes, carrying his load of penal immortality, and seeking in vain for "easeful death." There is a profound metaphysic in such popular fancies. Good and evil are alike eternal. Arthur and Charlemagne and Ogier the Dane are only sleeping and will yet return to save their peoples; and the Wandering Jew staggers blindly through the ages, seeking the rest which he denied to his Lord.

In George Meredith's "Odes in Contribution to the Song of French History" there is a famous passage on Napoleon. France, disillusioned at last,

"Perceives him fast to a harsher Tyrant bound;
Self-ridden, self-hunted, captive of his aim;
Material gradeur's ape, the Infernal's hound."

That is the penalty of mortal presumption. The Superman who would shatter the homely decencies of mankind and set his foot on the world's neck is himself bound captive. He is the slave of the djinn whom he has called from the unclean deeps. There can be no end to his quest. Weariness does not bring peace, for the whips of the Furies are in his own heart.

The Wandering Jew of the Middle Age was a figure sympathetically conceived. He had still to pay the price in his tortured body, but his soul was at rest, for he had repented his folly. Raemaekers in his cartoon follows the conception of Gustave Doré rather than that of the old fabulists. The modern Ahasuerus has no surety of an eventual peace. We have seen the German War Lord flitting hungrily from Lorraine to Poland, from Flanders to Nish, watching the failure of his troops before Nancy and Ypres, inditing grandiose proclamations to Europe, prophesying a peace which never comes. He is a figure worthy of Greek tragedy. The [Greek: hubris] which defied the gods has put him outside the homely consolations of mankind. He has devoted his people to the Dance of Death, and himself, like some new Orestes, can find no solace though he seek it wearily in the four corners of the world.

NOTE AUTHOR: John Buchan

CARTOON CAPTION: Ahasuerus Returns / "Once I drove the Christ out of my door, now I am doomed to walk from the Northern Seas to the Southern, from the Western shores to the Eastern mountains, asking for Peace, and none will give it to me." From the Legend of the "Wandering Jew"
People Raemaekers, Louis
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Subjects World War 1
Political cartoons
Artist Raemaekers, Louis
Title Ahasuerus II.
Image size 37.8 x 25.4 cm