No, historical accuracy is not what this graphic novel is about.
Rather the South Sea, in this South Sea ballad, is the space of a story that liberally draws on set pieces from mythology, history, and sensationalist trash to tell a new, arabesque-like adventure — far away (Salt Sea) and in a lengthy and drawn-out manner (ballad).
At moments, Pratt’s drawings approximate calligraphy: the pirogue on which Tarao and Pandora escape is drawn with a few black lines, against a largely unfilled sky, on a small line of sea; the Monk at first has no face at all, only a black space under his monk’s cowl.
His figure thus becomes a mystery that cannot be solved even after his identity is known.
The adventure tale takes Pratt’s serial hero Corto Maltese into the events of the First World War south of the Equator.While Corto, like Rasputin, belongs to a group of modern pirates who, led by the mysterious Monk from the unknown island of Escondida, are privateering for the German Imperial Navy, Cain und Pandora are prisoners on Rasputin’s ship, held for ransom.It may be time to pause and have this sudden storm of people and entanglements settle down.Though the story starts on an exact date, it is a “Day of Surprises.” The first surprise awaits those who seek certainty from the exact date, as they will immediately be lost in the sea of names.How come Rasputin, an itinerant preacher murdered in Petrograd in 1916, commands a pirate catamaran in the South Pacific in 1913, far from the place where he lived and worked.
Fick dating Offenbach am Main
Rather, dates are mentioned or hinted at, thus making leaps of time a simple given.The boundaries of space and time are blurred, writes Eco.Indeterminacy is also evident at the level of time: After this fateful November 1, 1913, about one year passes before Corto and the others, together with the German Lieutenant Slütter, disembark on the island of Escondida to finally meet the Monk, who has become a legend even for the reader. Previously, Corto, Pandora, Cain, the Melanesian pirate Cranio and the new arrival Tarao are shipwrecked and captured by cannibals, manage to escape and finally meet Rasputin again onboard Slütter’s submarine when it surfaces in front of them.These events follow so quickly upon each other, however, that the story at no point is able to convey the length of time they are supposed to fill.Leaps in Time In his foreword to the 1991 Italian reprint of the Ballad, Umberto Eco elaborated in great detail on the protagonists’ “tangled sea routes,” which are replete with geographical imprecisions, even impossibilities.
One is traveling in an “archipelago of indeterminacy” is how Eco put it.Potential adventures can be found not in the geographical but in the mythical unknown.The South Sea may be colonized, but its secrets and hidden meanings have not yet been discovered.It takes the turbulences of war for someone like Corto to belatedly follow in the footsteps of the heroes created by Robert Louis Stevenson or Herman Melville.Unlike those, however, he cannot deny that he is the figure of a literary dream.