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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. E. V. Lucas headed the firm from 1924.

It had a literary list that included Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, A. A. Milne, Kenneth Grahame, Ruth Manning-Sanders and The Arden Shakespeare series. They published The Adventures of Tintin series in the UK, and several humorous books, 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 8 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RZ.

In 2003, Methuen Publishing purchased the company Politico's Publishing from its owner Iain Dale.[1]

Handling of Tintin

Methuen was also the English publisher of the book editions of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic Belgian comic-strip books, 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.[2 ] 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 1948–50. 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[2 ] and that the changes to Land of Black Gold watered down the context of the international situation in the Middle East.[3]

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. 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. Methuen added an explanatory note of the situation in China at the time. The Tintin books are now published by Egmont Publishing.

References

  1. ^ Pierce, Andrew (August 4, 2004). "Methuen writes new chapter for lovers of Politico's intrigue - People". The Times (Times Newspapers Limited): p. 6.  
  2. ^ a b Tintin: The Complete Companion by Michael Farr, John Murray publishers, 2001
  3. ^ Le Figaro magazine, Saturday 26 June 2004

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