Book chapter

Helvetic Henry? A Swiss adaptation of Henry V, or something near enough

Published in:
  • Staging History: Essays in Late-Medieval and Humanist Drama / Happé, Peter ; Hüsken, Wim. - Brill. - 2021, p. 247-266
English This article describes the processes of translation, cutting and rearrangement by which Shakespeare’s Henry V, a play often identified with ‘Britishness’, is adapted for a modern Swiss audience. As a play celebrating a national ‘hero’ and a military history largely unknown to the Swiss, Henry V is adapted to an exploration of political power in the abstract, in particular the political power of rhetoric which Shakespeare’s Henry exemplifies and which can be richly presented using the multiple languages and dialects of Switzerland. Like the adaptation by Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, the translation not just of words but also of context occasions a certain black humour by which the subversive aspects of Shakespeare’s text are foregrounded and accentuated, and any sense of heroism stripped away. In particular, Shakespeare’s parodic presentation of the French army is pushed to absurdity in order to highlight the rhetorical construction of ‘the enemy’. The essay explores the influence of geography on the use of history in drama, and brings the arguments of other essays in this volume up to the present day, suggesting why the topic of dramatized history continues to be important.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département d'anglais
  • English
License undefined
Persistent URL

Document views: 81 File downloads:
  • henryvdutton.pdf: 90