“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Tintin in China - and the influence of Zhang Chongren


When I first read the story [The Blue Lotus], I was interested by the profusion of Chinese writing in signs, wall-hangings, posters, graffiti, and occasionally speech bubbles. What did they say? Or were they merely random characters included for atmospheric effect? I later learned some Chinese, and found that they were intelligible. Some characters in the larger banners may have been copied by Hergé or a studio assistant, but the smaller texts are written with such assurance that the hand must be Zhang’s. In three places his personal name 充仁 (Chongren) appears as a cryptic signature, partly obscured, on signs in the background, once next to the character , Zhang, his family name.


# 1.   

I taught The Blue Lotus in my Cross-Cultural Studies class this past semester here in Hongkong. The vast majority of final papers (in a class of 76 students) was about Hergé and China. I don't think I'll be teaching it again.

Lucas Klein, June 12, 2012, 11:16p.m.

# 2.   

Am intrigued to know what else you teach this class?

Helen Wang, June 13, 2012, 2:36a.m.

# 3.   

The class is lots of fun, at least from my perspective. The first half of the semester we look at literature depicting cross-cultural interaction that doesn't involve China... translations of the Bhagavad Gita, Shakespeare's The Tempest and Césaire's A Tempest, Rushdie's The Satanic Verses... then literature of or about China involving cross-cultural interaction, such as Ha Jin, modern and contemporary poetry, Wang Wei and Du Fu, and Infernal Affairs / The Departed. I think next time I teach this class I'll throw in Journey to the West.

Lucas Klein, June 13, 2012, 10:42a.m.

# 4.   

Thanks, sounds a really interesting course!

Helen Wang, June 14, 2012, 1:54a.m.


Your email will not be published
Raw HTML will be removed
Try using Markdown:
[link text](http://link-address.com/)
End line with two spaces for a single line break.