The Morality of Mrs. Dulska: A Petty-bourgeois Tragic-farce

Intellect Books
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Born during the tumultuous one-hundred-year division of Poland by Austria, Prussia, and Russia, Gabriela Zapolska (1857–1921) was an actor, journalist, and playwright who wrote over thirty plays in her lifetime. In her best-known work, The Morality of Mrs. Dulska, a tyrannical landlady harasses, exploits, and even prostitutes the eccentric cast of tenants who occupy her stone tenement building. The petty-bourgeois tragicomedy that ensues is regarded as a landmark of early modernist Polish drama. A cross between Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Patricia Routledge’s Hyacinth Bucket, Mrs. Dulska keeps her purse strings tightly drawn and shows no compassion towards the sad plights of her lodgers—until she is forced to come to terms with her own possessive love for her son. Now available for the first time in an English-language edition that firmly situates the play in the context of its performance history, Zapolska’s incisive play is an uncompromising look at gender, class, and relationships in fin-de-siècle Poland. “In her introduction to Zapolska's seminal play, Murjas discusses the many intriguing challenges involved in its cultural transference, combining the perspective of translator with that of theatre practitioner. This book is a rare treat in a much neglected area of modern scholarship.”—Elwira Grossman, University of Glasgow
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About the author

Teresa Murjas is a lecturer in theater at the University of Reading, United Kingdom.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Intellect Books
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
100
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ISBN
9781841501666
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / Theater / Playwriting
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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About the Central European Classics series:

"Half a continent's worth of forgotten genius."--The Guardian

The new Central European Classics series was born some ten years ago in the dim cafes of Budapest and Prague when General Editor Timothy Garton Ash began jotting down titles recommended to him by local writers. Its aim is to take these works of nineteenth- and twentieth-century classic fiction "out of the ghetto," onto the shelves of Western booksellers, and into the consciousness of Western readers.
The result of extensive discussion among writers, scholars, and critics, the rich tradition of Central European fiction has been culled to offer previously unavailable works written in Czech, Hungarian, and Polish that lend themselves perfectly to powerful and accurate translation. Specially commissioned introductions by leading Central European writers explain why these titles have become classics in their own country, while at the same time, the works stand on their own as great literature in English. With future titles such as a new edition of Boleslaw Prus's Polish masterpiece, The Doll, the Central European Classics series will contribute to a deeper understanding of the culture and history of countries which, since the opening of iron curtain, have been coming closer to us in many other ways.

The city of Warsaw, under Russian rule in the late 1870s, is the setting for this sweeping panorama of social conflict, political tensions, and personal suffering. The middle-aged hero, Wokulski, bold and successful in business, is being destroyed by his obsessive love for the frigid, aristocratic society "doll," Izabela. The embattled aristocracy, the new men of finance, Dickensian tradesmen, and the urban poor all come vividly to life on the vast, superbly detailed canvas against which Wokulski's personal tragedy is played out.
For this edition, the existing translation by David Welsh has been carefully revised under the supervision of the leading Polish critic, Stanislaw Bara'nczak. A chapter excised by the Tsarist censor is included as an appendix. Bara'nczak also contributes to an authoritative and illuminating new introduction to what is arguably the greatest Polish novel of the nineteenth century.
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