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The dates 2014 and 2016 will be inscribed in the memories of those with a reverence for Shakespeare and a fondness for great English literature as two momentous anniversaries, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and the 400th anniversary of his death respectively. Throughout the world, academies of arts and sciences, universities, libraries, theatres, and other cultural institutions too numerous and varied to be named here have joined in celebrating the accomplishments of the Bard and his influence in its multitude of manifestations through the centuries. The Institute of English Studies at the University of Pécs is very pleased to make its own humble contribution to the worldwide festivities by publishing the present issue of FOCUS Papers in English Literary and Cultural Studies. The issue titled Shakespeare and Shakespearean Influence in the Renaissance and Beyond features papers on moments of intertextuality between a Shakespeare play and other works of literature, forms of adaptation of a Shakespeare play, irrespective of genre, aspects of the cultural-historical context in which Shakespeare lived and worked, and Shakespeare-based comparative studies by an array of contributors at various Hungarian universities. In her paper on King Lear, Judit Mudriczki argues that Shakespeare’s corporal symbolism (which may be traced back to the concept of the king’s two bodies—the body natural and the body politic) underlines the importance of the organic concept of state in defining the complex relationships between the characters and the king. Anikó Oroszlán has created an analysis of allusions to extempore acting in Shakespeare’s dramas. She argues that improvising characters/players in Renaissance theatre embodied creativity, intuition, independence and freedom, and it is for this reason that they often found themselves hindered by other characters. Moreover, Oroszlán contends, extempore attitudes and manners and the actors who employed them were a recurring target of criticism in the anti-theatrical literature of the age. Ákos Seress analyzes the central court vs. country motif in As You Like It by seeking answers to questions such as “Can we say that Orlando is also a representative character of the higher morals of the country? Is he braver, smarter, etc. than his brother because he was raised outside of the court? Did Shakespeare in As You Like It write the apology of the country and a criticism of the Palace?” Seress also provides promising connections between the figures of Orlando in As You Like It and Miklós Toldi in János Arany’s Hungarian epic Toldi, thereby inviting further comparative research. Krisztina Streitman sheds new light on the figure of William Kemp, the celebrated morris dancer and Shakespearean comic star, through an analysis of his role as Robin Hood. Erzsébet Stróbl studies examples of the counter-discourse of the Queen’s cult in the works of John Lyly and William Shakespeare, focusing on conflicting images of Queen Elizabeth as both awe-inspiring Virgin Queen and lonely aging monarch during the last ten years of her reign. Ágnes Streitmann explores the metaphorical meaning of technology in Michael Almereyda’s movie Hamlet by analyzing the director’s juxtaposition of Hamlet’s amateurish, grainy shots with the glittering, glamorous views of Claudius’ Manhattan empire. Finally, Kinga Földváry examines television adaptations of the history plays, more specifically the two tetralogies, to determine how the medium of television—rather than cinema—uses and transforms, creates and recreates the elements that bind the individual plays of the tetralogies into a cohesive whole. The book reviews, with two exceptions, treat of volumes connected to the English Renaissance, thereby furthering our understanding of the cultural context of the Bard. As editor of the 2014 issue, I would like to thank the authors of all the papers and reviews for their valuable contributions to this project. I am grateful not only for their sound scholarship and cooperative spirit, but for their patience as well, which has been vital as the editing work has lasted somewhat longer than anticipated. My hope is that they will find, in the rich volume before them, ample recompense for inconveniences experienced along the way. I wish also to thank my colleague Andrew C. Rouse for his meticulous and thoughtful language editing, and Mária Kurdi, editor-in-chief, for her patience, unflagging guidance, and good judgment without which the volume would not have been completed. Any remaining errors I claim as my own. Finally, I owe a debt of gratitude to my husband Levente László for helping create time and space for my academic pursuits amidst the joys and challenges of parenting our precious daughter. It is my sincere hope that Shakespeare and Shakespearean Influence in the Renaissance and Beyond will be a source of knowledge and delight to everyone who finds cause for celebration in a 450-year-old literary tradition. Like a deep well of cool waters, Shakespeare’s oeuvre promises to nourish thought and inspiration well into the twenty-first century, for—in the words of Bottom—it is a source that “has no bottom.”


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