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Literary and Cultural Relations

Ireland, Hungary and Central and Eastern Europe


Edited By Maria Kurdi

The lively, informative and incisive collection of essays sheds fascinating new light on the literary interrelations between Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic. It charts a hitherto under-explored history of the reception of modern Irish culture in Central and Eastern Europe and also investigates how key authors have been translated, performed, and adapted. The work of Jonathan Swift, John Millington Synge, Flann O'Brien, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and Martin McDonagh, it is indicated, has particularly inspired writers, directors, and translators. The searching analyses presented here illuminatingly reflect on the far-reaching political and social import of multicultural exchange. It is shown to be a process that is at best mutually defining and that raises questions about received forms of identity, the semiotics of genre and the possibilities and limits of linguistic translation. In addition, the histories compiled here of critical commentary on Irish literature in Hungary or of the staging of contemporary Irish plays in Hungary and in the Czech Republic, for example, uncover the haphazardness of intercultural exchange and the extent to which it is vulnerable to political ideology, social fashion, and the vagaries of state funding. The revealing explorations undertaken in this volume of a wide array of Irish dramatic and literary texts, ranging from Gulliver's Travels to Translations and The Pillowman, tease out the subtly altered nuances that they acquire in a Central European context. By the same token, it is demonstrated that Ireland has been changed by the recent migration of workers from Eastern Europe and that consequently projections of the figure of the emigrant or asylum seeker in current drama warrant scrutiny. This original and combative collection demonstrates, not only that literary exchange between Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Ireland has been prolonged, multifaceted and, above all, enriching, but also that it exposes blind-spots, and forces confrontation with issues of racism, failure of empathy and cultural misprision.

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9 | Gulliver’s Umpteenth Voyage in Hungary: the Most Recent Sequels

9 |   Gulliver’s Umpteenth Voyage in Hungary: the Most Recent Sequels


Gabriella Hartvig

Jonathan Swift’s heritage in twentieth-century Hungary seems to be more diverse than that of any of his fellow-writers from the eighteenth century, excepting, perhaps, Laurence Sterne. When Frigyes Karinthy’s first complete translation of Gulliver’s Travels came out in 1914,1 no definitive translations from the works of Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson or Tobias Smollett had yet been published. By contrast, the Eliza cult of sentimentalism that swept through Europe in the late eighteenth century gave rise to a translation of Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey in 1798 although the humorous novel of ‘the second English Rabelais’, Tristram Shandy, had to wait until 1956 to come out, following the publication of Tom Jones (1950) and Jonathan Wild (1954) in Hungarian.2 Eightenth-century classics such as Peregrine Pickle, Pamela, or Clarissa still await their translation. Karinthy’s rendering of Gulliver was preceded by a number of adaptations and rewritings which were meant for the youth. His translation was shortly followed by three other full renderings which went side by side with the early imitations, as many as three among them belonging to Karinthy himself, and an equally, if not more significant, sequel produced by Sándor Szathmári.3 While these early imitations have been unanimously acknowledged and appreciated, the most recent sequels seem to appear only as ←163 | 164→sporadic attempts to further deepen the Dean’s popularity in Hungary. Today, the best known Gulliveriads are Klára Siklósi Horváth’s two sequels, Gulliver in Joygorod (1998) together with...

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