Oscar Wilde in Vienna is the first book-length study in English of the reception of Oscar Wilde’s works in the German-speaking world. Charting the plays’ history on Viennese stages between 1903 and 2013, it casts a spotlight on the international reputation of one of the most popular English-language writers while contributing a chapter to Austrian cultural history in the long twentieth century. Extensively drawing on archival material, Sandra Mayer highlights the appropriation of Wilde’s plays against the background of political crises and social transformations. The comedies’ prevalence as all-time Viennese stage classics offers intriguing insights into the mechanisms of cultural transfer and canonisation within a socio-cultural environment positioned – like Wilde himself – at the crossroads of centre and periphery, tradition and modernity.
Pleasing and Teasing the Audience
A Communicative Strategy
Pathos as Communicative Strategy in Late-Medieval Religious Drama and Art explores the strategies employed to trigger emotional responses in late-medieval dramatic texts from several Western European traditions, and juxtaposes these texts with artistic productions from the same areas, with an emphasis on Britain. The aim is to unravel the mechanisms through which pathos was produced and employed, mainly through the representation of pain and suffering, with mainly religious, but also political aims. The novelty of the book resides in its specific linguistic perspective, which highlights the recurrent use of words, structures and dialogic patterns in drama to reinforce messages on the salvific value of suffering, in synergy with visual messages produced in the same cultural milieu.
Reception, Translation Theory, and Cultural Transfer
Shakespeare as German Author, edited by John McCarthy, revisits in particular the formative phase of German Shakespeare reception 1760-1830. Following a detailed introduction to the historical and theoretical parameters of an era in search of its own literary voice, six case studies examine Shakespeare’s catalytic role in reshaping German aesthetics and stage production. They illuminate what German speakers found so appealing (or off-putting) about Shakespeare’s spirit, consider how translating it nurtured new linguistic and aesthetic sensibilities, and reflect on its relationship to German Geist through translation and cultural transfer theory. In the process, they shed new light, e.g., on the rise of Hamlet to canonical status, the role of women translators, and why Titus Andronicus proved so influential in twentieth-century theater performance. Contributors are: Lisa Beesley, Astrid Dröse, Johanna Hörnig, Till Kinzel, John A. McCarthy, Curtis L. Maughan, Monika Nenon, Christine Nilsson.
Opera was a prominent political forum and a potent force for nineteenth-century nationalism. As one of the most popular forms of entertainment, opera could mobilize large crowds and became the locus of ideological debates about nation-building. Despite its crucial role in national movements, opera has received little attention in the context of nationalism. In Staging the Nation: Opera and Nationalism in 19th-Century Hungary, Krisztina Lajosi examines the development of Hungarian national thought by exploring the theatrical and operatic practices that have shaped historical consciousness. Lajosi combines cultural history, political thought, and the history of music theater, and highlights the role of the opera composer Ferenc Erkel (1810-1893) in institutionalizing national opera and turning opera-loving audiences into a national public.