’Playing Handy-Dandy’: Early Hungarian Translations of King Lear Cover Image

’Playing Handy-Dandy’: Early Hungarian Translations of King Lear
’Playing Handy-Dandy’: Early Hungarian Translations of King Lear

Author(s): Zsuzsanna Kiss
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts, Studies of Literature, Translation Studies, Drama, Sociology of Art
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: playtext; copied versus genuine King Lears; Hungarian social-cultural-geopolitical context; theatre as media;

Summary/Abstract: The paper offers a few insights into the textual and dramaturgical challenges of Hungarian King Lear playtexts, from the earliest ones till 1922. Since the last decade of the 18th century, when the first full adaptation with the so-called Viennese ending was penned, King Lear has constantly been an ‘object of desire’ in Hungarian theatre, literature and culture. Competing with Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew in terms of popularity, King Lear quickly became a stock-piece. The task of appropriating King Lear attracted the attention of the best actors, authors and translators. Many Hungarian adaptations of King Lear promoted the professional development of Hungarian acting companies and theatres, of translation itself, and of national dramaturgy. Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy filled a vacuum not only on the stages, but also in Hungarian social life, proving to be the perfectly appropriated, updated, and, to some extent, even politically tolerated representation of crisis. From the first stage adaptations, King Lear’s numerous translations into Hungarian have conveyed a compelling sense of ‘double bound’ between page and stage, text and interpretation, translation and performance. This paper investigates how context and congruity validated certain texts and performances of Hungarian King Lears, and how some texts and performances, having illumined one another, expressed what both actors and audience felt, and thus genuinely filled the void between personal and public spheres.

  • Issue Year: 13/2018
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 165-183
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English