Last week’s blog post Black Lives Matter : some ebooks looked at a selection of anti-racism English-language titles. Today’s post will be the first of a series looking at titles in other languages, with a focus today on Dutch material.
The Netherlands and Belgium share with the UK a history of colonisation and slavery and are addressing uncomfortable issues of ongoing racism. Dutch ebooks available to Cambridge staff and students are very few, so the suggestions below include translations into English and books published in English by Dutch-language authors. Continue reading
Tintin had such a great success that he is even better known than his creator, Hergé. Born Georges Remi (1907-1983), Hergé was his pen name, based on his reversed initials, as pronounced in French. The only rival to Tintin’s fame in Franco-Belgian comics is Asterix, created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo in 1959. Tintin and Snowy (Milou, in French), his faithfull dog, share adventures with distinctive characters well known by every generation, such as: captain Haddock, detectives Thomson and Thompson (Dupond and Dupont) and Professor Calculus (Tournesol).
Tintin au pays des Soviets, 2017 (new colour edition).
January 2017 marked the 88th anniversary of Tintin’s first story: Tintin au pays des Soviets (C200.a.4909). It was published in the children’s supplement of the Belgian conservative newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, called Le Petit Vingtième. This anti-Bolshevik sketch was later considered by Hergé a “sin of his youth”. His knowledge of Russia was limited, and unlike his following stories, this book is almost plotless. The original was published in black and white and has been recently released for the first time in colour. In his second adventure, Tintin visits the Belgian Congo. On the one hand Tintin au Congo has been considered racist by some, because of its naïve portrait of native Congolese peoples; on the other hand, others think is shows a benevolently paternalist vision of colonialism. Despite the books’s old-fashioned vision –a result of the time it was written and Hergé’s ignorance about the Congo, which he recognised– the book was a great success. Interestingly P. Delisle wonders if Tintin au Congo is, in fact, antislavery literature. Continue reading
The late summer is an excellent time for those of us in Cambridge libraries to catch up on work that is less pressing, but still needs to get done. Foreign academics have by and large gone back to their home institutions, while our own academics and students haven’t yet fully returned. Some older donated volumes arrived in the UL several months ago, but it wasn’t until September that I had a chance to examine them and assure myself that they belong in the Library’s collections. Of note are four volumes produced during the 1930 celebrations in Brussels honouring the centenary of the 1830 revolution: