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Tintin and the Secret of Literature by Tom…
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Tintin and the Secret of Literature (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Tom McCarthy (Author)

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216680,704 (3.5)11
Member:Samuel.Sotillo
Title:Tintin and the Secret of Literature
Authors:Tom McCarthy (Author)
Info:Counterpoint (2008), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Books
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Tags:Books, Criticism, Theory

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Tintin and the secret of literature by Tom McCarthy (2006)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This book is essentially a PhD thesis about the 'hidden layers' beneath the Tintin comics. And it reads exactly like a PhD thesis: one for the devotees only.

I really wonder what Hergé would have made of this book. As much as I admire the genius of the Belgian master, something about Tintin and the Secret of Literature feels like shooting a fly with a cannon. Enormous scholarly leaps of logic are made, such as "The Castafiore Emerald" being a metaphor for Bianca Castafiore's clitoris. Seriously!

This book is a page-turner, in the pejorative sense. I was constantly skipping forward, wondering if McCarthy was approaching any sort of worthwhile conclusion. The answer, for me, was no.

For the record, Harry Thompson's Tintin: Herge and His Creation is the best analytical book I have read on Tintin, to this date. Rather than attempting to describe the Tintin canon with McCarthy's subject-by-subject grouping, Thompson works effectively in a chronological book-by-book evaluation of Tintin and Hergé's career. Thompson's book is concise and unadorned with the lavish illustrations of the officially-sanctioned Tintin: The Complete Companion, but it remains the most effective and efficient Tintin chronicle. ( )
  aneurysm1985 | Dec 24, 2014 |
An absolutely fascinating discussion of the internationally popular series, applying contemporary literary criticism techniques, finding implications in the artistic and intellectual content of writers extending from Poe and Baudelaire to Sciascia, with Raymond Roussel always lurking just offstage. To be read and re-read. ( )
  pieterpad | Feb 1, 2011 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1590875.html

McCarthy looks at Hergé's adventures of Tintin and finds all kinds of hidden material - tracking recurrent themes through the entire œuvre, including such issues as sepulchres, mirrors, castration, and the true and incredible meaning of the Castafiore Emerald.

I was particularly impressed, as I always am in books like this, by the relation made by McCarthy between Hergé's work and his life. Remi (to use his real name) shifted uneasily from his pre-war racism and anti-Semitism to a more liberal approach, generated perhaps by the very fact of writing in Nazi-occupied Belgium - a passive collaboration which he never quite expiated. And his grandmother, working in an aristocratic household not far from my own home village, rather mysteriously conceived his father and uncle (who used to wander around as if they were twins) and then married Mr Remi whose name was borne by her sons and their descendants, leading to the sort of genealogical fuzziness that can give you two obviously identical twins called Thompson and Thomson. As to who Hergé's real grandfather was, Belgian royalists can only speculate.

There were a couple of points that I did not really get in the course of McCarthy's argument. Much is made of Barthes' assessment of a short story by Balzac, ending in a 'vanishing point', holding 'the signifier of the inexpressible', a concept that didn't really convey much meaning to me. And I would have liked to see also some wider discussion of the geopolitical setting of the post-1945 Tintin stories, considering that the global situation is so crucial in the earlier volumes.

But basically it's a good painless introduction to literary theory by means of a well-known, well-loved canon; when McCarthy sneers in the introduction at 'Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-as-Postmodern-Signifier conferences', he is sneering also at himself I think (certainly it's an unfortunate line which undermines his own argument). ( )
3 vote nwhyte | Dec 7, 2010 |
I'm torn with this book. As much as I love tintin the book sometimes confuses me (not knowing that much lit figures up in europe). His references are somewhat out there. Although he provides insights to tintin that just wants to meet the characters. ( )
  eugene17 | May 1, 2009 |
This is definitely a silly book, and I'm not entirely sure that it wasn't written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Yet despite its over-reliance on Continental philosophy, the book has some real "aha!" moments and makes some pretty interesting (if often patently absurd) claims. On the whole, it's a light, fast, and entertaining read for any Tintinophile, and I'm surprised to find myself heartily recommending it--even if many Herge devotees will end up throwing it against the wall in frustration. Still, as long as you don't take it, or yourself, too seriously, you may enjoy being sucked in! ( )
1 vote sansmerci | Jan 4, 2009 |
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Book description
Herge's Tintin cartoon adventures have been translated into more than 50 languages and read by tens of millions of children ages, as their publishers like to say "from 7 to 77." Arguing that their characters are as strong and their plots as complex as any dreamt up by the great novelists, the author asks a simple question: Is Tintin literature? Taking a cue from Tintin himself, who spends much of his time tracking down illicit radio signals, entering crypts, and decoding puzzles, this work suggests that readers also need to tune in and decode in order to capture what's going on in the work. What emerges is a remarkable story of hushed up royal descent, in both Herge's work and his own family history. the author shows how the themes this story generates: expulsion from home, violation of the sacred, the host guest relationship turned sour, and anxieties around questions of forgery and fakeness, are the same that have fueled and troubled writers from the classical era to the present day. His startling conclusion is that Tintin's ultimate secret is that of literature itself.
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Herge's Tintin cartoon adventures have been translated into more than fifty languages and read by tens of millions of children aged, as their publishers like to say, 'from 7 to 77'. Arguing that their characters are as strong and their plots as complex as any dreamt up by the great novelists, Tom McCarthy asks a simple question: is Tintin literature? McCarthy takes a cue from Tintin himself, who spends much of his time tracking down illicit radio signals, entering crypts and decoding puzzles and suggests that we too need to 'tune in' and decode if we want to capture what's going on in Herge's work. What emerges is a remarkable story of hushed-up royal descent in both Herge's work and his own family history. McCarthy shows how the themes this story generates - expulsion from home, violation of the sacred, the host-guest relationship turned sour and anxieties around questions of forgery and fakeness - are the same that have fuelled and troubled writers from the classical era to the present day. His startling conclusion is that Tintin's ultimate 'secret' is that of literature itself. Appearing on the eve of the release of a major Steven Spielberg Tintin film, Tintin and the Secret of Literature should be avidly devoured by not only Tintin lovers but also by anyone with an interest in literature, philosophy or art.Tintin.Literary criticism.Film.… (more)

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