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Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > 1582434050
  1. Tintin and the Secret of Literature
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  2. Tintin and the Secret of Literature

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (4 reviews)
    Price R378.00

Additional Information

Arguing that the Tintin books' characters are as strong and their plots as complex as any dreamed up by the great novelists, Tom McCarthy 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 — McCarthy suggests that we too need to “tune in” and decode if we want to capture what's going on in Hergé's extraordinarily popular work. What emerges from McCarthy's examination of Tintin is a remarkable story of illegitimacy and deceit, in both Hergé's work and his own family history. McCarthy's irresistibly clever, tightly constructed book shows how the themes Tintin generates — expulsion from home, violation of the sacred, the host-guest relationship turned sour, and anxieties around questions of forgery and fakes — are the same that have fueled and troubled writers from the classical era to the present day.

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Tom McCarthy
Paperback Edition
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This interestingly written catalog of things Tintin for his grownup fans sticks to the strips (including the tightly packed panels you lingered over, or not) with excursions historical, heretical and philosophical. You won't drown in Derrida and Bataille, just get your feet wet. The interpretations build on the familiar adventures they visit and revisit and on themselves as well, all in a style that's as clear, fast-moving and full of surprises as Tintin's. It's an easy read even for those of us who think la Théorie belabors the agnosticism of language (as of any human belief system) with its metaphors like money, which has no absolute backing but works contingently, perfectly, until trust panics and collapses. It's hardly news that nave realists think words come with guarantees--refer self-evidently to objects in a real world--and are disappointed, that is, ils font tintin. Again, this is for adults. Its vocabulary level, intricacy and adult themes are not for children.
I enjoyed reading Tintin and the Secret of Literature because of its many thought-provoking ideas. The author applies techniques from literary analysis and compares the Tintin stories with famous works of literature. Overall I liked the book. However, I do not necessarily agree with the author. This is not a historical account of how the Tintin stories came about, i.e., the author has no extra background information to add to what is already out there. Instead, he gleans his ideas from the texts themselves. This leads to lots of speculation and tenuous chains of inferences. A key theme that occupies a third of the book rests on the premise that the insignia above Marlinspike Hall is a dolphin. I looked at the original Tintin book myself and, to me, it looks like a fish - a Haddock perhaps, but not a dolphin. While written like a scholarly book and well-grounded in philosophical and literary writing, the scholarship is somewhat shoddy and unconvincing. Still it was... Read more
I read all the Tintin books first, or, as I found out in Mr. McCarthy's excellent book, all the ones I had known about, even the infamous Tintin in the Congo book that's no longer available in English (I "read" the German version), but I soon discovered that I'll have to read them all again, for McCarthy has given me a new set of eyes in which to view the books. I've not read other books by this author, but I plan to. I'd recommend this book in particular to anyone who wants to find a way of meaningfully interpret what they read. And McCarthy bases his ideas not just on what he thinks is happening in the Hergé books, but also on the known history of the great Belgian graphic artist. (As a note to other readers, I read the Granta Books edition, which has a different cover than the one being sold by Amazon.)
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