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Were Hergé & Hergée in a car crash in 1952?

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Etterbeek
Member
#1 · Posted: 23 Jan 2008 10:28
The Pocket Essential (by Lofficier) states that Hergé and Germaine were involved in a car accident in February 1952. Both Michael Farr and Harry Thompson pass this by unnoticed, and I haven't read about it elsewhere.
Does anyone know about this? How serious was it?
cigars of the beeper
Member
#2 · Posted: 23 Jan 2008 20:58
Etterbeek

I read that in the same source. I was also surprised how the Lofficiers mention it so briefly. It was apparently not very serious since Herge and Germaine both survived it, and I've never heard about any significant delay in Tintin around that time.
Etterbeek
Member
#3 · Posted: 24 Jan 2008 17:27
Yeah, that's what I thought - you cannot find any trace of it in his work. But I think I should really read "Hergé - fils de Tintin" by Peeters (but it's in French!), there's a picture of Germaine in a wheel chair, dated July '52. Could have something to do with it I guess...
cigars of the beeper
Member
#4 · Posted: 24 Jan 2008 22:14
I wonder if there is any mention of the crash in Michael Farr's new book, "The Adventures of Herge, Creator of Tintin". I'm really looking forward to reading it, and also, it's in English! (Very rare for books about Tintin)
Balthazar
Moderator
#5 · Posted: 25 Jan 2008 10:37 · Edited by: Balthazar
I'd not heard of this incident either, but browsing on the web, and using Google's translation facility for non-English websites, took me to a few mentions of it. One site (which I got badly auto-translated from Dutch or Flemish) implies that the crash was due to Hergé's rather reckless love of fast driving and that although he walked away relatively unscathed, the incident left Germaine in a wheelchair for several months and permanently affected her health thereafter. Though it's hard to tell from the poor translation, the author of the site seems to go on to imply that this soured the already strained relationship between Hergé and Germaine, but he/she doesn't offer any evidence for this, so they may just be making wild negative speculations on all of this. I should stress that I'm not trying to add someone else's possibly unfounded views into this forum as fact; I'm just wondering whether the crash may be a slightly controversial subject among Hergé biographers.

Anyway, this incident isn't mentioned in Michael Farr's new book, Cigars, but if it is a controversial subject, perhaps this isn't surprising. I don't know if the true facts of the car crash reflect badly on Hergé or not, but in any case I believe that Benoît Peeters and his books are no longer approved of by Moulinsart, whereas Michael Farr currently seems to be very much the estate's officially approved Hergé biographer.

I found Farr's book a slightly bland read generally, containining very little new information about Hergé or his work at all (disappointingly, given the amount of access Farr had to the estate's massive archive). But I'll save my views on that for the appropriate thread!
Etterbeek
Member
#6 · Posted: 25 Jan 2008 13:18
I read the part in Peeters's book and after consulting my insufficient French dictionary I learned this:
Hergé and Germaine were driving along the road to their summer house when Hergé tried to overtake a little Renault who was driving too slow in H's opinion - yes he loved that "grande vitesse". The Renault then turned left and they collided. Neither of the two drivers were hurt, but Germaine was taken to hospital with fractured "esquilles". I haven't found the translated word, so I don't know what it is.
Anyway, she had surgery and returned home in a wheelchair. During her rehab she got close to her friend Jageneau and maybe that's the source to the speculation on their marriage getting even sourer...

Trivia: The car driven was a Lancia Aprilia and can be seen in "Land of Black Gold" as the car in which Tintin and Haddock pursuits Dr. Müller and Abdallah.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#7 · Posted: 25 Jan 2008 14:44
"esquilles"

Small fragment which is detached from a fractured or decayed bone

From http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/esquille
cigars of the beeper
Member
#8 · Posted: 25 Jan 2008 17:49
The problem with this sort of thing is that there is no definitive true account of it. Since Benoit Peeters was not there at the time of the accident, his account is not entirely reliable. Is Germaine still alive? If so, she would know. (I doubt that she is still alive, since her ex-husband would be 100 years old now).
Etterbeek
Member
#9 · Posted: 25 Jan 2008 18:21
The Benoit Peeters book seems trustworthy, though, as it contains a great number of letters to and from Hergé and friends...
But then again it is in French and I've read just a couple of pages. And it's hard to check facts if the facts just appear in one or two places.
tintinspartan
Member
#10 · Posted: 26 Jan 2008 14:39
I red that they got into an accident through Micheal Farr's 'Tintin: The Complete Comapnion', which I have kept unread for several months now.

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