Methuen Publishing  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Methuen Publishing Ltd is a British publishing house, and publishes in the areas of theatre and drama. It was founded in 1889 by Sir Algernon Methuen (1856–1924) and began publishing in London in 1892.

They had a literary list including Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Kenneth Grahame, Ruth Manning-Sanders and The Arden Shakespeare series. They published the The Adventures of Tintin series in the UK, and several humorous books early this century and previously including 1066 and All That. The firm was prosecuted following the publication of Lawrence's The Rainbow (1915).

The company was later part of the conglomerate, Associated Book Publishers (ABP), and for much of the 1970s was known as Eyre Methuen following its absorption of the Eyre & Spottiswoode firm. It is based at 11–12 Buckingham Gate, London SW1.

Handling of Tintin

Methuen is also the English publisher of the book editions of the Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic Belgian comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by the Belgian artist Hergé. Methuen added to the muddled history of the publishing of Tintin by insisting that books featuring British characters undergo major changes:

  • The Black Island, first published in French in 1937, was set in Great Britain, but, prior to publishing it themselves in 1966, Methuen decided that it did not reflect the country accurately enough and sent a list of 131 errors to be corrected . It was thus redrawn and reset in the 1960s.
  • Land of Black Gold had had a troubled publishing history but the completed adventure eventually appeared in 1948-1950. It was set in the British Mandate of Palestine and featured the conflict between Jews, Arabs and British troops. When its English publication was due in 1972 the state of Israel had long been up-and-running and Methuen asked for it to be reset in a fictional Middle East country, Khemed. About a fourth of the album was redrawn.

It is these versions that are most commonly available today in most countries, though the earlier ones have been published as facsimile editions.

Critics have attacked Methuen over this policy, claiming that Black Island lost a lot of its charm as a result and that the changes to Land of Black Gold watered down the context of the international situation in the Middle East .

They also raise the fact that when Methuen published The Blue Lotus in 1983 it retained the original setting of 1931 during the Japanese occupation of China and the Shanghai International Settlement which had been abolished in 1943. Imagine The Blue Lotus set in Macau or Hong Kong during the 1980s ! On the other hand, 1983 was also the year of Hergé's death and he had specified that there were to be no further official Tintin adventures by other artists or writers or any changes made to the stories published so far. Menthuen added an explanatory note of the situation in China at the time.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Methuen Publishing" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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