Herge, The Castafiore Emerald, Tintin

Tintin & Literature

A first class blog post on Tintin and Literature:

Before I forget, let me just say that one of the things in that article that irritated me unduly was the repetition of the claim (which I have read elsewhere more than once) that in The Castafiore Emerald, ‘nothing whatsoever happens’. This is plainly false: plenty happens in the book; it’s just that no crime happens. Even in detective literature it is not uncommon for there to be an intrigue with all the appearance of a crime but which transpires to be nothing of the sort: see, for example, the Sherlock Holmes story The Man With The Twisted Lip, among others. In The Castafiore Emerald the story of the not-crime is managed expertly with suspense and irony (as you will remember, the magpie that turns out to have been the perpetrator of the theft is subtly drawn into the first frame and then again in the last); but stuff does happen. Still, it would have been nice to be able to say, as of Waiting for Godot where, famously, ‘nothing happens…twice’, that in The Castafiore Emerald, ‘nothing happens sixty-two times.’ Missed a trick there.

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One Comment

  1. Pe-ads

    I wonder whether Herge was inspired by the Rossini opera, The Thieving Magpie. In it, a girl is accused of stealing a ring. When she is about to be put to death, they find that a magpie has it. It sounds veeery similar. I didn’t like the Castafiore Emerald when I was younger, but now I love it. It’s one of my favourites, along with The Land of Black Gold.


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