Anti-German stereotypes in Black-Adder and Fekete Vipera

Gergely, Gabor (2017) Anti-German stereotypes in Black-Adder and Fekete Vipera. In: National Cultures of English Language Television Comedy Symposium, 16-17 November, 2017., Notre Dame Global Gateway London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Richard Curtis and Ben Elton’s Black-Adder series is a loving skewering of British myths and nationalist tropes. The cast of characters consists almost exclusively of figures from the British pantheon, with two notable exceptions, the Red Baron, played by Adrian Edmondson, and Hugh Laurie’s Prince Ludwig.
This paper focuses on these two ‘foreign’ bodies in Blackadder’s world to explore the ways in which the series, and the dubbed Hungarian version, rehearse stereotypes of Germanness. The paper argues that subtle differences exist between Prince Ludwig and Red Baron and their dubbed Hungarian versions. These differences can be apprehended in the sounds, spoken words, syntactic and semantic idiosyncrasies and the voice acting and accents of the actors.
This paper hopes to establish what Germanness might be for an English and for a Hungarian audience through a historically grounded analysis of the original and dubbed versions, drawing on audience data and sound-oriented close listening of the text. It argues that the two versions invoke subtly, but significantly different concepts of Germanness. They draw equally on notions of German arrogance and cruelty, however, while the English version plays with and makes use of the German as the uncanny counterpoint to British national stereotypes, the Hungarian version subtly inflects this British view of Germanness with a specifically Hungarian discourse around the airs and graces of the German-speaking elite of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as crudely exaggerated Communist-era depictions of the nobility.

Keywords:Television, Sitcom, Translation, Stereotype
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P301 Television studies
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q910 Translation studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
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ID Code:29921
Deposited On:06 Dec 2017 11:59

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