In her paper, "Examples of the Motif of the Shrew in European Literature and Film," Louise O. Vasvári presents the shrew-taming story as a masterplot of both Eastern and Western folklore and literature concerned with establishing the appropriate power dynamic between a married couple. Vasvári firts reviews the comparative groundwork of the story she has documented in her earlier studies of the topic. In addition to tracing the bundle of motifs that make up the shrew story from medieval Arabic and European versions to the present, she then devotes attention to Hungarian folklore traditions. In the second part of the study, Vasvári interrogates how the Shrew's cultural capital has been appropriated and repackaged (or "transadapted") and made topical as a cinematic commodity, tracing its development from the earliest silent film versions to a recent pornographic film. Particular attention is paid to two Hungarian film versions, both produced in l943, Makacs Kata and A makrancos hölgy. Both films combine elements of the shrew story with the influence of earlier Hungarian genre films, as well as some borrowed conventions of 1930s American screwball comedy. The two films appear at a fortuitous moment, repackaging the old battle of the sexes into seeming the lightest escapist farce, at the same time that they promote the prewar values of gentry life and the purifying effect of harmonious life on the land.
Vasvári, Louise O.
"Examples of the Motif of the Shrew in European Literature and Film."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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