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Title: An alternative comedy history : interrogating transnational aspects of humour in British and Hungarian comedies of the inter-war years
Author: Martonfi, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 4457
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is a historical research into British comedy traditions made during an era when numerous creative personnel of Jewish backgrounds emigrated from Central and Eastern European countries to Britain. The objective is to offer an alternative reading to British comedy being deeply rooted in music hall traditions, and to find what impact Eastern European Jewish theatrical comedy traditions, specifically urban Hungarian Jewish theatrical comedy tradition ‘pesti kabaré’, may have had on British comedy. A comparative analysis is conducted on Hungarian and British comedies made during the inter-war era, using the framework of a multi-auteurist approach based on meme theory and utilising certain analytical tools borrowed from genre theory. The two British films chosen for analysis are The Ghost Goes West (1935), and Trouble Brewing (1939), whereas the two Hungarian films are Hyppolit, the Butler (1931), and Skirts and Trousers (1943). The purpose of this research within the devised framework is to point out the relevant memes that might refer to the cultural transferability of Jewish theatrical comedy traditions in the body of films that undergo analysis. The hitherto prevailing assumption that in order to understand British comedy one has to look back to music hall traditions ignores the possibility of alternative readings, despite the influx of creative personnel and the evidence suggested by the films made during the inter-war years. This research offers an alternative understanding of British comedy traditions, whereby a particular type of Jewish comedy, the urban ‘pesti kabaré’, can be seen as a relevant corresponding tradition to the films in question.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available