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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparative analysis of a selection of Hungarian folktales in English Szilagyi, Andrea Katalin

Abstract

A significant body of Hungarian folktales in English exists, but these tales are difficult to locate, out of print, and/or excluded from international folktale anthologies. Critics have attributed this lack of prominence to linguistic isolation or to issues surrounding translation and economic challenges in today's publishing world. This thesis examines a selected body of Hungarian folktales in English. Specifically, it presents the findings of my extensive search for tales in translation and for scholarship on these tales; it offers a system of classifying and describing the selected tales and provides a comparative analysis of variants and types; and it offers an argument for anthologizing tales for a Canadian and/or Hungarian Canadian reading audience. Twenty tales (four variants within each tale category), chosen according to the selection criteria, comprise the body of primary material and are grouped according to tale categories - fairy tales, humorous tales, animal tales, anecdotes, and historical legends. In considering the variants of a selection of tale types and their particular references to Hungarian culture, this study illuminates the persistence of certain Hungarian folktales while highlighting their cultural distinctiveness. Ultimately, by creating awareness of this unique body of tales, my hope is for Canadian readers to be made aware of Hungary's culture and its folk literature, and for the tales to find their way into collections of multicultural folktales, to be released from their isolation, and to join other well-known international folktales on bookshelves around the world.

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