Bit was a late 19th-century and early 20th-century cartoonist and comics artist, presumably from Hungary. In 1911 he created a pantomime comic named 'A Francia Bonne Álma' (popularly translated as 'The French Nurses Dream', 1911, though a more accurate translation would be 'A French Nanny's Dream') , which was published in the satirical Hungarian magazine Fidibusz. This comic drew praise and interest from famous psychologists Sándor Ferenczi and Sigmund Freud, who analyzed its deeper meaning.

Virtually nothing is known about Bit, other than that he published this pantomime comic strip in the Hungarian satirical magazine Fidibusz under the title 'A Francia Bonne Álma' ('A French Nanny's Dream', 1911). The comic depicts a French nanny who helps a little boy to urinate against a tree on the sidewalk of a street. However, the child keeps whizzing away until he creates an entire river on which a gondola, sail boat and a steam boat float by. In the final panel the nanny wakes up. It was all just a dream and the boy is safely crying in the bed next to her, presumably because he wet himself and his sheets.

'The French Nanny's Dream' is interesting for a number of reasons. Bit seems to have been influenced by the work of Winsor McCay, who was active around the same time period and created many gag comics about people waking up from some bizarre dream or nightmare. But McCay never created a comic strip about urination, which was still a taboo topic in the early 20th century. Most cartoons and comics never hinted at toilet activities, or, if they did, kept it offscreen. It's therefore quite exceptional that a comic strip from that era would make urination the focus of an entire gag. And, not only that, exaggerate a stream of piss to such extremes!

It has not been recorded whether readers at the time found this comic strip to be in bad taste. However, it did attract some remarkable interest from celebrity intellectuals! The famed Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi was fascinated by it and cut it from his copy of Fidibusz. He wrote his own analytical observations next to the cartoon and mailed the entire page to his close colleague Sigmund Freud. Freud found the comic strip interesting enough to publish it in the fourth edition of his classic psycho-analytical book 'Die Traumdeutung' ('The Interpretation of Dreams') in 1914. This wasn't the only comic strip Freud and Ferenczi discussed, by the way. Freud kept a cartoon album of Wilhelm Busch's 'Max und Moritz' in the waiting room of his office. In a letter posted to Ferenczi on 6 April 1911 Freud even compared Alfred Adler and Wilhelm Stekel, the editors of the Centralblatt, with ‘Max und Moritz’ since he was so annoyed by them.

The cartoon from Fidibusz, with handwritten comments by Sándor Ferenczi

Series and books by Bit in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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