The Rhetoric of Mastery and Discipleship in the Hungarian Canon of Hamlet Translations

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    There are numerous translations of Hamlet into the Hungarian language (written either within or outside the borders of today's Hungary), but the history of Hamlet's translation and broader reception has been shaped considerably by the cultural status enjoyed by János Arany's 1867 translation of the play. This translation is not only canonical but has also achieved a mythical status. To many publishers, authors and theatre directors it has felt untouchable, and its various expressions and purple passages have entered the Hungarian language and appear in many a context (from journalism to soap opera scripts). The typical attitudes adopted by later translators with regard to this cultural taboo may be described as attitudes of mastery and discipleship. The terms rhetoric of mastery and that of discipleship are borrowed from North American deconstruction and appropriated in this context to describe translators’ attitudes to the taboo connected to Arany’s ‘golden’ version. In the explanatory metatexts written by recent translators to accompany their new translations, the rhetoric of discipleship is more frequent than that of mastery. The chapter looks at both these metatexts and examples from the (recent and earlier) translations themselves that suggest that an Ur-translation of the play has achieved the status of ‘original’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHamlet Translations
    Subtitle of host publicationPrisms of Cultural Encounters across the Globe
    EditorsMárta Minier, Lily Kahn
    Place of PublicationCambridge
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-781889-25-1
    ISBN (Print)978-1-781889-23-7 , 978-1-781889-24-4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


    • translation
    • theatre
    • drama
    • drama translation
    • Shakespeare
    • Shakespeare in Hungary
    • Hamlet
    • Hamlet reception
    • literary translation
    • translation for the stage
    • Shakespeare translation
    • Shakespeare studies


    Dive into the research topics of 'The Rhetoric of Mastery and Discipleship in the Hungarian Canon of Hamlet Translations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this