In the drama titled Az Olaszliszkai the author sums up the essence of our contemporary situation in a Shakespearean paraphrase: “The country stinks”. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a minor character utters one of the key sentences: ”Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Considering the consequences of “rottenness”, we can also s
...peak of stinking. But now, not “something” stinks, the country itself has a stench – the country is Hungary at the beginning of the 21st century. Szilárd Borbély searched for the possible literary presentation of this stinking country. But what makes a country stink? That is, what can the metaphor of “stinking” hint at? Reading the novel, Nincstelenek [The Dispossessed], we tend to think that the country stinks of poverty. However, we have only shifted the question: what exactly does “human deepness” mean? How can we define its centre or rather its core? If I had to answer this question, I would point out violence first of all. The dispossessed – the poor, the small and the other – are the ones being targeted and ill-treated. The country stinks of their suffering. In this sense, “dispossession” generally features the world of the dramas, and the present paper discusses Az Olaszliszkai in this context.