Monday, November 30, 2009

Hergé fans may be interested to know that the latest issue of Bookforum includes a review I wrote of Pierre Assouline’s recently translated biography of the artist.

You can read it here.

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4 Responses to “Bio-Shock”
  1. Robert Boyd says:

    In your review, you wrote, "Assouline provides a valuable service by laying out the evidence once and for all—he credibly makes the case that Hergé was never genuinely a Nazi sympathizer, but simply an unwise businessman in denial who failed to consider the ramifications of his decision."

    That's not how I read Assouline. What I got was that Herge from his earliest professional days had been mentored by a variety of rightists and ultra-nationalists, relationships that benefited him greatly during the Occupation. I agree that Herge himself was not an ultra-rightist, but for decades, he was more than willing to turn a blind eye to the beliefs and activities of his friends, and even after the war was filled with bitterness over their harsh treatment as collaborationists. He never seemed to understand why the Rexists and other far right nationalists were wrong. Honestly, it seems like a miracle that Herge paid no price for his tacit collaboration.

  2. T. Hodler says:

    @Robert Boyd: Fair enough. I don't disagree (much) with your take, and don't think that my review contradicts it, except in emphasis. For what it is worth, if I could revise the article at this date, "simply" is a word that I would probably replace, or at least expand upon.

  3. Matthias Wivel says:

    Thanks for this Tim — I largely agree with your assessment of Assouline's book, which underwhelms, especially in terms of integrating Tintin into the life of his creator.

    Strange that Oxford decided to translate this biography and not Peeters' excellent book, or the recent, much more comprehensive tome by Philippe Goddin, which is not only much better (even if it downplays Hergé's wartime collaboration somewhat), but a book that one imagines the estate would prefer to see translated.