Joseph Déjacque or Imre Madách?

Imre Madách

Imre Madách

Imre Madách

Imre MadáchThe internet is often much better at creating and perpetuating mistakes than it is at correcting them. An exemplary case is the confusion that has grown around the question of whether or not a portrait existed of Joseph Déjacque. For a long time, it appeared that Déjacque was among those important early anarchist figures for whom we could not put a face to the name. And then a portrait appeared on Wikimedia Commons—and what a portrait! Perhaps we should have know that mustache was simply too good to be true. But we didn’t. I certainly didn’t—at least until late in 2012, when “a young hungarian poet from Slovakia,” who was also a student of anarchism, informed me that the picture I had attached to various articles on Déjacque actually featured Imre Madách, a 19th-century Hungarian poet of some renown. I was able to confirm, to my own satisfaction, that this did indeed seem to be the case and removed the image from various blogs and archives. And, over the years, I’ve made some attempt to correct others when they used the image to represent Déjacque. But, I have to admit, I have never attempted to tackle the problem at its source (or one of its sources) on Wikimedia Commons. Finally, however, after two new instances of the image appearing in fairly rapid succession on Facebook, I decided to see if I could get the copy of the image identified as Déjacque removed, which meant double-checking that the image was indeed Imre Madách. As it happens, just a couple of minutes on Google Images provided what looks like fairly conclusive proof. Apparently it was conclusive enough for whoever handles deletion requests at Wikimedia Commons as well, since the image is already gone. We’ll see if that begins to reduce the number of new misidentifications.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2132 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.