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I would not suppose that the excellent, scholarly and well-educated director of the national theatre, the classical consignatory and home of Hungarian theatrical literature and public spirit, would touch József Katona's masterpiece with profane hands. (That's right! That's right!) Not a single letter must be added, not a word must be taken away from it. Otherwise Katona would be turning over in his grave. I can understand that the director of the national theatre would like to re- direct the play in series of performances; to change and synchronise that masterpiece with the taste of the contemporary decadent and sick psyche, and  I would say  with the rotten morals of the con- temporary era; to make Katona's masterpiece a hugely popular and literary success. Instead of these changes, however, I would rather say that Katona's masterpiece should remain unperformed. Let it be a book of prayers for the inhibitors of the peaceful and sorrowful Hungarian settlements, the Hungarian intellectuals who would rather read it in silence; and then mourn, be passionate, and contemplate silently on its eternal values. But that masterpiece cannot be put on the most important stage of the nation in an altered form. I think it would be an assault against the living conscience of the Hungarian nation. (That's right! That's right!) I would not question the good will of the director of the national theatre, but it is impossible to carry out such an assault. (Agreement all around.)

  • Stone, Allucquere Rosane (1995). "A szellem teste." Replika (1995):17-18, 297-323 (Trans. Anna Boross).

    'A szellem teste ' () Replika : 17 -18.

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    Dramaturgiai Lapok (XIV) , ().

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    Theatregeschichte in einen Band , ().

  • All the extracts from Assmann's book are given in my translation

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    'Kánon és trópus ' () 3 Helikon : 261 -267.

  • "Die Vergangenheit nun, …; entsteht überhaupt erst dadurch, daß man sich auf sie bezieht" (Assmann 1992:31).

  • Brown, John Russell, (ed) (1995). The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

    The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre , ().

  • Bertényi, Iván and Gábor Gyapay (1997). Magyarország rövid története. Budapest: Maecenas.

    Magyarország rövid története , ().

  • Orosz, László (1999). A Bánk bán értelmezésének története. Budapest: Krónika Nova.

    A Bánk bán értelmezésének története , ().

  • Orosz, László (1984). "A Bánk bán nemzeti színházi előadásainak szövege (1867-1929)." Cumania (8):497-530.

    'A Bánk bán nemzeti színházi elöadásainak szövege (1867-1929) ' () Cumania : 497 -530.

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    Magyar Színháztörténet 1790-1873 , ().

  • Kálmán C., György (1998). "A kis népek kánonjainak vizsgálata." Helikon (3):251-260.

    'A kis népek kánonjainak vizsgálata ' () Helikon : 251 -260.

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    A Bánk bán száz éve színpadon , ().

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    Entre mémoire et historie. La problémetique des lieux , ().

  • Hobsbawn, Eric J. (1992 - Hungarian translation 1997). Nations and Nationalism since 1780. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Nations and Nationalism since 1780 , ().

  • Carlson, Marvin (1989a). "Theatre Audiences and the Reading of Performance." In Thomas Postelwait and Bruce A. McConachie (ed) (1989) Interpreting the Theatrical Past, 82-98.

  • Gábor, Éva, ed. (1988). A Thália Társaság (1904-1908) - Levelek és dokumentumok. Budapest: MSZI.

    A Thália Társaság (1904-1908) - Levelek és dokumentumok , ().

  • Kruger, Loren (1992). The National Stage - Theatre and Cultural Legitimation in England, France, and America. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

    The National Stage - Theatre and Cultural Legitimation in England, France, and America , ().

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  • Carlson, Marvin (1989b). Places of Performance - The Semiotics of Theatre Architecture. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

    Places of Performance - The Semiotics of Theatre Architecture , ().

  • Carlson, Marvin (1928). "A Bánk bán-vita." Irodalomtörténet (7-8):330-341.

    'A Bánk bán-vita ' () Irodalomtörténet : 330 -341.

  • "Denn die Heiligung einer bestimmten Tradition läuft immer auf die Heiligung einer bestimmten Gemeinschaft hinaus. Aus dem neutralen Orientierungsinstrument Kanon wird dann eine Überlebensstrategie kultureller Identität" (Assmann 1992:127).

  • The theatre established in 1837 was called Pesti Magyar Színház (Hungarian Theatre of Pest), then it was renamed as National Theatre in 1840.

  • Hajnóczy, Iván (1930). Katona emlékkönyv. Kecskemét.

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    'A bizony(talan)ság ábrándja: kánonképzödés a posztmodern korban ' () Literatura : 119 -133.

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    'A Nemzeti Színház - és amiröl nem beszélünk ' () Magyar Napló : 40 -42.

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    Bánk bán , () 36 -50.

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    Hungarian Writers and Literature , ().

  • Romsics, Ignác (2000). Hungary in the Twentieth Century. Budapest: Corvina and Osiris.

    Hungary in the Twentieth Century , ().

  • Orosz, László (1983). Katona József: Bánk bán (Kritikai kiadás). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

    Katona József: Bánk bán (Kritikai kiadás) , ().

  • Postelwait, Thomas and Bruce A. McConachie, ed. (1989). Interpreting the Theatrical Past. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

    Interpreting the Theatrical Past , ().

  • Orosz, László (1979). "A Bánk bán nemzeti színházi előadásainak szövege (1845-1867)." Cumania (6):137-166.

    'A Bánk bán nemzeti színházi elöadásainak szövege (1845-1867) ' () Cumania : 137 -166.

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  • For those who are not familiar with the text, Joseph Reményi summarises it in Hungarian Writers and Literature: Bánk bán, written, in iambic meter, consists of five acts. The central character, Bánk banus, is a medieval nobleman of lofty ideas. The background of the plot is Hungarian Kingdom in the year 1213. The country, surrounded by hostile forces, is in a tragic position; the people are poor and downtrodden; the king, Endre II, is engaged in warfare abroad. His wife, Gertrudis, a former German princess, disregards her duties as the mate of a Hungarian ruler; she prefers the entourage of her German kinsmen. Banus Petur, a patriotic nobleman, considers her an enemy of the nation. With other discontented noblemen he organizes a plot against the queen. Petur and his plotting collaborators feel morally justified in their plan. Prince Otto, the brother of the Queen, is infatuated with Melinda, the wife of Bánk, the Hungarian palatine. Bánk, as a loyal servant of the king, decides to disarm the plotters. Meanwhile he discovers that his wife has been attacked by Otto, and it seems to him that the queen condoned her brother's act. Of course, he is outraged, forgets prudence and loyalty and murders the queen, who in fact knew nothing of her brother's intent to dishonor Bank's wife. The play ends with Melinda's becoming mad, Otto escaping from the court, and with the return of the king abroad. His warriors assassinate Petur. Although the king forgives Bánk, his conscience tortures him. He is punished by his own deed, and sees himself as a murderer who lost the ethical basis of his life (Reményi 1964:63-64).

  • "Die rituelle Wiederholung ist nur die Form für den Sinn, der in ihr bewarth und vergegenwärtigt wird" (Assmann 1992:90).

  • "Weil der Buchstabe fest ist und kein Jota geändert werden darf, weil aber andererseits die Welt des Menschen fortwährendem Wandel unterworfen ist, besteht eine Distanz zwischen festgestelltem Text und wandelbarer Wirklichkeit, die nur durch Deutung zu überbrücken ist" (Assmann 1992:96).

  • "Die normativen und formativen Impulse des Kulturellen Gedächtnisses können nur durch unausgesetzte, immer erneuerte Textauslegung der identitätsfundierenden Überlieferung abgewonnen werden. Deutung wird zum Gestus der Erinnerung, der Interpret zum Erinnerer, zum Anmahner einer vergessenen Wahrheit" (Assmann 1992:96).

  • Szegedy-Maszák, Mihály (1999). "Literature and Arts from the Beginning of the 18th Century until Today." In László Kósa, ed. A Companion to Hungarian Studies. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

    Literature and Arts from the Beginning of the 18th Century until Today , ().

  • That concept was based on A. F. Millerand's letter, attached to the Treaty of Trianon, in which there was the possibility of its future reconsideration; and also on the separate peace agreement with the USA, which had no references to territorial claims, and fueled from time to time by Hungarian and foreign articles and speeches, such as Lord H. S. Rothermere's article on Hungary's revision in the Daily Mail on 21 June 1927 (Bertényi-Gyapay 1997:520 and 524).

  • For the centenary celebrations see Hajnóczy (1930), and Németh (1935:199-208).

  • Anderson, Benedict (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.

    Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism , ().

  • Assmann, Jan (1992). Das kulturelle Gedächtnis. Schrift, Erinnerung und politsche Identität in frühen Hochkulturen. München: Verlag C. H. Beck.

    Das kulturelle Gedächtnis. Schrift, Erinnerung und politsche Identität in frühen Hochkulturen , ().

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  • Szegedy-Maszák, Mihály (1990). "The Rise and Fall of Literary and Artistic Canons." Neohelicon (3):129-159.

    'The Rise and Fall of Literary and Artistic Canons ' () Neohelicon : 129 -159.

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  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous) SJR Quartile Score (2018): Q4
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous) SJR Quartile Score (2018): Q4
  • Scimago Journal Rank (2018): 0.11
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Journal Rank
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Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous) Q4
Social Sciences (miscellaneous) Q4

Cite Score
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General Arts and Humanitis 125/147 (Q4)
General Social Sciences 248/260 (Q4)


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Hungarian Studies
Language English
Size B5
Year of
2020 Volume 34
per Year
per Year
Founder Nemzetközi Magyarságtudományi Társaság -- International Association for Hungarian Studies
H-1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán u. 4. B.8.41.
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ISSN 0236-6568 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2772 (Online)