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Politics as a Carnival in Hergé's Tintin et les Picaros

Annick Pellegrin

While religious celebrations during the Renaissance served to reaffirm society's hegemony, the carnival was a means of freeing oneself from social norms, hierarchy and privileges. As it questions hegemony, the carnival sometimes leads to changes. Picaresque literature emerged in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. In its early stages, the picaresque was a strongly satirical and ironic 'countergenre' to mystic literature and romance genres. Like the carnivalesque, picaresque literature questions the ruling classes.2 Tintin is mostly studied either in terms of its ideological commitment or in terms of its fidelity to stylistic features. The aim of this paper differs from such concerns: it is to consider Tintin et les Picaros as a satire of politics. This paper explores the constant pairing of politics and carnival in Tintin et les Picaros, as well as the representation of both through amalgams and imports. Using Bakhtin's theory, the picaresque and Latin American history, this paper addresses the central question: how are politics and carnival represented in Tintin et les Picaros and to what extent is the album picaresque in this respect?

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