Figurations and Prefigurations in Hergé's Work, or from Les 7 Boules de cristal to Le Temple du Soleil and Back Again

in European Comic Art
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  • 1 University of Paris 1 pierre-fresnault@orange.fr
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Our starting point is the idea that Hergé sets up a series of reciprocal links between two of his albums, Les 7 Boules de cristal and Le Temple du Soleil. Over and above simple narrative succession, these two albums fit together like two wings of a diptych across which visual, semiotic and even symbolic elements echo each other. In order to appreciate these fully, the diptych has to be considered from the perspective of a 'rereading', in other words from a standpoint that enables a particular panel or situation to be regarded as a flash forward or flashback. The tracking of this back-and-forth motion seeks to reveal the artistic profundity of Hergé's narrative, where anticipations of later elements or reminders of earlier ones either serve to intensify the dramatic build-up, or, conversely, work to parodic effect (through a distancing impression of 'déjà vu'). These echoes have cumulative effects that contribute to the overall 'intelligence' of the work. Hence our title: 'Figurations and Prefigurations in Hergé's Work, or from Les 7 Boules de cristal to Le Temple du Soleil and Back Again'.

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