The Metamorphoses of Tintin: or Tintin for Adults

Overview


The Belgian artist Georges Remi's (Hergé) legendary creation, Tintin is a figure whose adventures have enchanted readers in Europe for the last eighty years. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the twentieth century, with translations published in over 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date. With the proliferation of Tintin blogs, Steven Spielberg's and Peter Jackson's planned cinematographic adaptations, and a Tintin museum scheduled to open in Belgium in ...
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Overview


The Belgian artist Georges Remi's (Hergé) legendary creation, Tintin is a figure whose adventures have enchanted readers in Europe for the last eighty years. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the twentieth century, with translations published in over 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date. With the proliferation of Tintin blogs, Steven Spielberg's and Peter Jackson's planned cinematographic adaptations, and a Tintin museum scheduled to open in Belgium in the near future, there are many signs that the popularity of Hergé's boy hero continues to grow.

The Metamorphoses of Tintin is the English translation of the first critical study of the canonical Tintin cartoons. Published in French in 1984 and republished many times since, this pioneering work examines the long career of both the cartoonist and his creation. Hergé's right-wing upbringing, all too apparent in his first two albums, brought accusations of misogyny, anti-Semitism, and racism, but in the endless revisions he undertook over the course of his career, he proved skillful at evading his critics. After the Second World War, Tintin's adventures became more psychological than political, thus appealing to a wider range of readers. He left behind the real world and came to occupy the center of a fictional universe where he tirelessly championed the underdog. A figure without origins, he turned international hero at the very moment that Western nations were becoming homogenized and transmitting their commodities and values on a global scale. Arguing that the series of albums thus offers a reflection on the whole of twentieth-century life, Jean-Marie Apostolidès traces the evolution of Tintin's character and reveals the unity of Hergé's masterpiece.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The translator, Jocelyn Hoy, has done an exceptional job of rendering conceptually difficult material clear and elegant without sacrificing the precision of Apostolidès' original text... Apostolidès' focus on the interiority of the text renders The Metamorphoses of Tintin or Tintin for Adults a fascinating exercise in psychoanalytic literary criticism, one full of insight and the starting point for anyone interested in close readings of the albums... Apostolidès very successfully traces the evolution of tone, narrative, and character through a psychoanalytic close reading. It is the capacity for change, the metamorphoses, inherent to Hergé's fictional masterpiece that Apostolidès so richly details thereby demonstrating that Tintin's world is not dead on the page, but vibrantly alive."—Richard Ivan Jobs, Pacific University, H-France Review

"[Apostolidès] convincingly makes the case that the much-loved Tintin narratives are worthy of the kind of attention more usually accorded to works of the established literary canon."—Raphaël Taylor, Times Literary Supplement

"The Metamorphoses of Tintin, a classic of contemporary French literary scholarship, is one of the most successful examples of a study in "lowbrow" literature. Apostolidès shows how the highly successful comic-book series, The Adventures of Tintin, incorporates sophisticated anthropological insights into the nature of religious beliefs, the structure of fetishism, mimetic rivalry, drugs, and sexuality. Explaining how a tinge of colonialist pride in the early years of the series soon gave way to an attitude of solidarity with marginalized people and the poor, Apostolidès argues that the adventures of Tintin express a larger movement from a society concerned with public values to one more interested in private life." —Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago

"Moreover, there are scores of scholarly books and articles about the young reporter, including that foundational work of Tintinology, the 1984 study by Jean-Marie Apostolidès, which has now been translated as The Metamorphoses of Tintin. This last is a labor of love but also of sophisticated analysis, examining the evolution and changing character of the Tintinesque universe Tintinatics of a scholarly turn will certainly want to acquire Jean-Marie Apostolidès's The Metamorphoses of Tintin."—Washington Post Book World

"In the course of describing the genesis and metamorphoses of the Tintin series and its characters, the author applies anthropological insights to topics such as value deflation, order and symmetry, rivalry, fetishism, and religious beliefs.... This volume's strengths: its groundbreaking critical approach, careful scrutiny of characters and plots, and clear, concise presentation (the last attributable to Hoy's translation).... Recommended."—J. A. Lent, Choice

Michael Dirda
…a labor of love but also of sophisticated analysis, examining the evolution and changing character of the Tintinesque universe…Tintinatics of a scholarly turn will certainly want to acquire Jean-Marie Apostolides's The Metamorphoses of Tintin
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Those who lament the dearth of books about Tintin in English will welcome this translation of a landmark French study, first published in 1984. Apostolidès surveys Hergé's cartoon character's evolution-political, cultural, psychological-from the earliest adventures, in which he's a kind of superhero single-handedly meting out justice, to the last albums, in which he has become more fully human, if still largely an emotional cipher. As the author warns in the preface, he takes a largely Freudian approach whose vocabulary some may regard as "heavy or outdated." Of Tintin's move from Labrador Road to Marlinspike Hall, he says: "He becomes a full-fledged member of the family, without having to worry about the threat of castration that the Father had always held over the son for wanting to take his place." On occasion, the translator missteps (e.g., Tintin teaches "calculus" instead of arithmetic to the young school children in Tintin in the Congo; Captain Haddock "disguises himself as a policeman on horseback" in Destination Moon when in fact he dresses up in the bearskin hat and red tunic of a soldier in a British Foot Guard regiment). On the other hand, Apostolidès provides insights into the word play of the original French texts that you won't find in, say, Benoit Peeters's Tintin and the World of Hergé (1988). Tintin fans who don't mind some academic jargon will be rewarded.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804760317
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/7/2009
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Jean-Marie Apostolidès is William H. Bonsall Professor in French and Professor of Drama at Stanford University. Among his books are: Le Roi-machine (1981), Le Prince sacrifié (1985), L'Affaire Unabomber (1996), Les Tombeaux de Guy Debord (1999, 2006), and L'Audience (2001).
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Bk. 1 Tintin in History

Ch. 1 The Childhood of a Leader 7

The Origin of Tintin 7

New Impressions of Africa 12

Tintin and His Enemies 17

Herge and The Mortar 21

Ch. 2 Discovering the Other 25

The Voyage to China 25

Attempts at Accommodation 28

The Conversion 32

Bk. 2 The History of Tintin

Pt. 1 Tintin

Ch. 3 The Primordial Universe 47

Tintin and Snowy 47

Human World, Animal World 51

Order and Symmetry 56

Ch. 4 Good and Evil 61

The Sensational Appearance of the Thom(p)son Brothers 61

The Tricks of the Devil 67

The Universe of the Good 73

So Says the Madman of Shanghai 75

Ch. 5 The Deflation of Values 79

The Infernal Machine 79

The Doubles and the Unique 82

The Ambivalence of the Sacred 86

The Mysterious Island 89

Ch. 6 The Golden Pelican 91

The Reporter and the Sigillographer 91

The Kingdom of Syldavia 93

The Royal Eclipse 98

The Foundling 103

Pt. 2 Haddock

Ch. 7 The Captain with Golden Claws 113

"Do a Tintin" 113

The Road to Damascus 116

The Bastard 122

Ch. 8 The End of a World 126

Prelude to the Apocalypse 126

The Rivalry 130

The Sinking Island 133

Ch. 9 Founding the Family 136

The Legacy 136

The Heirs 140

The Return of the Father 143

Ch. 10 The Temple of the Sun 148

Perspective 148

Tintin and Calculus 151

The Sacred and the Scientific 154

The Disguise 159

Huaco and Tintin 163

The Initiation 166

The Pyre 173

Ch. 11 Dancing on the Moon 179

Mammoth and Whale 179

The Voyage 184

Pt. 3 Wagg

Ch. 12 The Degraded World 191

The Sacrifice of the Father 191

The World of Wagg 194

Global Exchange 199

Ch. 13 The White Goddess 203

The Threesome 203

The Lost Child211

The Secret Life of the Abominable Snowman 214

Ch. 14 The Lady in White 222

Of Animals and Men 222

The Jewel Song 227

The Lady with the Parrot 231

The Secret of the Unicorn 236

Portrait of Bianca 242

The Role of the Fable 248

Ch. 15 The Temple of Sleep 251

The Void 251

Educating to Forget 256

Ch. 16 The Scepter of Alcazar 260

The Structure of the World 260

The Public and the Private 263

The Final Act 268

The Work and Its Mirror 272

Conclusion 277

Notes 281

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