The adaption of Herge's The Adventures of tintin in the Arab world

Electronic versions


  • Ammar Merza

    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Languages, Literature and Linguistics, Herge;s Adventures of tintin, Western and Arabic culture, cultural and structural adaptation, structural, socio-cultural, religious, ethnical differences


This thesis aims to show how Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin have been exposed to Islamic and Arabic-speaking audiences. It compares Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin and their Arabic counterparts in terms of structural, socio-cultural, religious, and ethnical differences. It focuses on investigating the way such elements were adapted in the process of being transferred into the Arab world. The thesis argues that many modifications to the texts of origin were essential to make them readable in the Arab world, and the thesis discusses the different methods that Arabic publishing houses or Arab editors have resorted to in order to align the albums with Arabic cultural traditions and Islamic norms. Amendments on the textual and visual levels were utilised to avoid cross-cultural differences, implicit or explicit tabooed language, sensitive subjects, negative images, and the stereotypical depiction of Arabs.
The study consists of five chapters. The opening chapter provides an introduction to the thesis, background and rationale of the study, theoretical framework (including consideration of Tintin’s albums in the Arab world through aspects of adaptation theory, and Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’), and a review of the literature that identifies the primary sources and the major secondary sources that have been influential in the current study. The aim here is to establish the significance and originality of the thesis and to determine the gap(s) that are addressed in the study. In addition, the literature review demonstrates the scheme of the study and the data that have been used and analysed.
Chapter two reviews Arabic children’s literature and literary illustration. It also focuses on the condition of Arabic comic magazines in the Arab world. The chapter discusses the historical background of Hergé’s albums and his style (Ligne Claire) in penning the stories. In addition, the chapter discusses Arab publication houses’ attitudes towards the Tintin albums with particular reference to their style, editors, translators, and themes as well as how the albums were received in the Arab world. The chapter ends with a section discussing Arab editors’ attitudes towards the structural adaptation of the Tintin stories.
The first part of chapter three deals with the cultural adaptations of the characters’ personal names in the Arab World. The second part focuses on first, the cross-cultural differences between the proverbs in Tintin’s albums and their Arabic counterparts; second, a definition of proverbs, their taxonomies, and their relationship to metaphor; and third, a discussion of ‘fixed proverbs’ and ‘proverbial phrases’ as described by Wolfgang Mieder, with selected examples from Tintin’s stories.
Chapter four analyses the alterations of the visual and/or verbal tabooed references such as alcohol, language (swear words or profanities, slang, jargon, and insults), and cultural and religious references. In addition, the chapter aims to throw light on the cultural dimensions of such topics with reference to Tintin’s stories in Arabic. It analyses the euphemisms and other strategies employed by editors of the Arabic texts to mitigate and neutralise such taboos.
Based on Said’s concept of ‘Orientalism’, chapter five aims to explain why some of Tintin’s stories were not available to Arab readers. In doing so, the chapter pays particular attention to Said’s concept of ‘Orientalism’, its definition, and how it assists in understanding the (mis)representation of Arabs in Tintin’s albums. In the conclusion, I summarise how different Arabic magazines took different approaches to the texts of origin, from minor changes on social, cultural, and religious levels to a complete re-drawing of several textual and visual aspects of Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Bangor University
Thesis sponsors
  • The Higher Committee For Education Development in Iraq (HCED)
Award date22 Jun 2020