WORD SEARCH with Adair Jones

Review: Tintin and the Secret of Literature by Tom McCarthy

Posted in Musings..., Wanderings by Adair Jones on January 11, 2009
Tintin creator Hergé at work

Tintin creator Hergé at work

Tintin and the Secret of Literature begins with a simple question: Can The Adventures of Tintin, the set of well-known cartoon narratives written and drawn by Hergé, be considered literature? Tom McCarthy seems to answer the question in the book’s first pages, drawing bold comparisons with such Western literary luminaries as Cervantes, Balzac, Dickens, Flaubert, and even Shakespeare. But as his argument progresses, the answer becomes less clear cut.

McCarthy believes that “to confuse comics with literature would be a mistake”. On the other hand, to dismiss its literary value entirely is to make a bigger mistake. As Hergé himself has stated, the medium “takes up an original and autonomous ground between drawing and writing”. McCarthy further argues that although it occupies “a space below the radar of literature proper” it is precisely here in this “below-radar altitude, this blind spot, this mute pocket” in which we might look for and uncover “the ultimate truth,” of literature. Another bold claim….more–>

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