Customer Review

36 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Cinderella Shoe effect, 10 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Tintin and the Secret of Literature (Hardcover)
What have, Foucault, Derrida, Sartre, Barthes, Baudelaire, Freud, Bataille and Bachelard got in common? Give up? They all appear in this book. Tom McCarthy has obviously picked up the student's guide to French literary theory and forced every element from the Tintin stories into one of these theories or another. The effect is unintentionally hilarious as he seems to be trying to convince us how clever he is by mentioning all these theorists. What someone forgot to tell him is Foucault and Barthes are (arguably) structuralist, Derrida (post structuralist), Freud (psychoanalytic) etc etc. When I studied these theorists they were all quite distinct from one another in how they approached texts. By using them altogether McCarthy loses his focus very early on. I was giggling gleefully at the pretentions of the first chapter and by the time he was trying to convince us that the Castafiore emerald is the opera singer's clitoris I was having a lovely time taking the p***! McCarthy does not 'discover' the hidden meanings in the text because most his 'discoveries' are not there. He picks a scene, thinks of a totally obscure theory or text to link it too and shoe-horns the two together, just like the ugly sisters trying on the glass slipper in Cinderella! McCarthy should learn that intelligence is not quoting as many theorists and obscure texts as possible, it is using one theory to completely construct a coherent argument without going off on a tangent.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Nov 2011 16:37:06 GMT
The whole point of the book is that it is a literary spoof, using left bank literary theory to deconstruct Tintin. The last laugh is left to the author, who sends up both those who wish to deconstruct books and those who take this book as a serious work, rather than as a lengthy literary and philosophical joke.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2011 22:30:22 GMT
Simon Doyle says:
It's not a joke as you suggest, and his recent rants, in the U.K. press, and online, banging on against the new film show that he really, really believes in this pseuds-corner twaddle. Avoid it all costs!

Posted on 10 Jan 2012 02:29:44 GMT
lexo1941 says:
Since it's impossible to 'completely construct a coherent argument' about a literary text (because they're so intrinsically vague and slippery and ambiguous), your review suggests that it's impossible for anyone to write literary criticism at all, which is not true. However, since McCarthy has been so boring and unimaginative about the Tintin movie, I'm not disposed to read his book either. So a plague on both your houses.
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