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The Morality of Mrs. Dulska
A Play by Gabriela Zapolska
Now Available
Price £20, $28.50
ISBN 9781841501666
Paperback 192 pages
230 x 174mm
Published November 2007
Imprint: Intellect
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Books by Teresa Murjas
Books in Performing Arts
Other books in this series

Edited by Teresa Murjas
Chapter Titles     |      Reviews     |      Comments

Gabriela Zapolska (1857-1921) was an actor, journalist and playwright. She was born during the 123 year partition of Poland by Austria, Prussia and Russia and wrote over thirty plays. The Morality of Mrs. Dulska (1906), a 'petty-bourgeois tragic-farce', is probably her best known.

Mrs Dulska is a cross between Patricia Routledge¹s Hyacinth Bucket and Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage. She is the tyrannical and hilarious landlady of a fine stone tenement building – proud, shrewd and highly preoccupied with appearances. Dulska keeps her purse strings tightly drawn and exploits her tenants in a most unforgiving fashion.

To the unhappy woman from the first floor apartment who tries to poison herself by swallowing some match heads, she shows no mercy. To her serving maid, who she effectively prostitutes to her son in order to keep his philandering under her own roof and within her control, she shows no compassion. Her daughters struggle through the torments of adolescence with the facts of life skillfully concealed from them, and her husband, worn down over the years by his power-hungry wife, has barely a word to say to his family.

It is her son that Mrs Dulska loves – loves with an unhealthy possessiveness. Her fear that he will leave prompts her to fund the servicing of his every desire. Why is it, then, that he resents her so much? Why is it that he feels compelled to seek revenge? Zapolska’s uncompromising look at gender construction and class oppression in fin-de-siecle Poland is witty, entertaining and incisive.

This is the first published UK translation of this popular Polish classic. It was prepared by Teresa Murjas, a lecturer in Theatre at the University of Reading. In her introduction, Teresa discusses how the translation and first UK production, which she directed, were developed. She introduces Zapolska's work in its historical contexts, provides the reader with relevant biographical information and considers the play's performance history up to the present day. She draws these strands together into a narrative of deportation, exile and emigration.

Part of the Playtext series
Chapter titles
Introduction - xii
Teresa Murjas
Act I
Gabriela Zapolska trans. by Teresa Murjas
Act II
Gabriela Zapolska trans. by Teresa Murjas
Gabriela Zapolska trans. by Teresa Murjas
'A substantial and highly informative introduction to her translation of this 1906 play. [..] I [...] advise curious readers of Studies in Theatre and Performance to get hold of this handsomely produced translation of her best-known play.' – Peter Thomson, Studies in Theatre and Performance

'In her introduction to Zapolska's seminal play, Murjas discusses the many intriguing challenges involved in its cultural transference, combining the perspective of translator with that of theatre practitioner. This book is a rare treat in a much neglected area of modern scholarship.' – Dr Elwira Grossman, University of Glasgow

'It is Muijas's extensive introduction, which is equal parts personal confession, historical biography, narrative, and con textualization, combined with a brief discussion of other productions of Zapolska's "tragic farce," that makes this edition a most welcome addition for educators seeking a larger reserve of English-language texts upon which to create stimulating course syllabi in Polish literature and culture, drama, and theater.' – Michael D. Johnson, Slavic and East European Journal

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