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Translating Hamlet into Hungarian culture: a case study in rewriting and translocation

Minier, Márta Magdolna


Márta Magdolna Minier


T. J. Hale

Rowland Wymer


This thesis investigates the translation of Hamlet into Hungarian culture. In order to cover as wide a spectrum of translation as possible, the thesis employs Roman Jakobson's tripartite notion of translation: interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic transfer. However, the thesis also challenges Jakobson's categories, especially with regard to the considerable degree of overlap that occurs.

The first part of the thesis focuses on what is traditionally termed translation - translation 'proper' or interlingual translation. Nevertheless, in the context of the Hungarian Hamlets intralingual translation is also involved due to the central status of Janos Arany's 1867 translation. This translation influences the work of later translators, whether they approach the sacred text with the attitude of discipleship (that is to say, with reverence for Arany and with the intention of imitating or learning from Arany) or, less frequently, with the attitude of mastery (claiming equal or greater expertise). This process, which can be described as a Bloomian coming-to-terms with the father figure, is apparent when one looks at how famous Shakespearean-Aranyean fragments of Hamlet are 'retranslated' by subsequent translators. Apart from examples of the fragmentary afterlife of Arany's Hamlet, critical discourse also displays a certain taboo surrounding Arany's Hamlet.

The second part of the thesis deals with interserniotic translation, providing a detailed case study of the 2003 Pécs performance based on a contemporary translation by Ádám Nádasdy. This instance of translation involves the transposition of a purely verbal text onto an art form that is not exclusively verbal.

The third part of the thesis engages in the discussion of a spectrum of rewrites (or, in Jakobson's term, 'rewording') and follows a genre-based division: Hamletian ramifications in drama, fiction and poetry.

The examination of these three interrelated areas of translation activity prompts the critic to envisage a complex Hungarian Hamlet palimpsest woven in the spirit of making Shakespeare and Hamlet 'our own'.


Minier, M. M. (2005). Translating Hamlet into Hungarian culture: a case study in rewriting and translocation. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 10, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Drama
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Drama, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2005


Thesis (33.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2005 Minier, Márta Magdolna. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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