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Surrogation, Mediatization, and Black Representation On- and Offstage: When Ira Aldridge, the African Roscius, Visited Pest-Buda in 1853

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An earlier Hungarian-language version of this article appeared in Irodalomtörténet 96.4 (2015): 399–434, and is available online at I am grateful for the generous help of Bernth Lindfors and Márton Szilágyi.



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1 Egressy, Gábor, “Néger színész. Othello” [Negro actor. Othello] [1853], in Egressy Galambos Gábor emléke [In memory of Galambos, Gábor Egressy] (Pest: Ernich, 1867), 153–9, at 153–4. Please see note 103 for an expanded discussion of the Hungarian word “Néger” and its translation here. [Note: All translations of Hungarian texts herein are my own.]

2 On Aldridge's 1853 surveillance see National Archives of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár), Budapest, MNL OL, D 118 1858: 491.

3 See, for instance, Werry, Margaret, “‘The Greatest Show on Earth’: Political Spectacle, Spectacular Politics, and the American Pacific,” Theatre Journal 57.3 (2005): 355–82; Balme, Christopher B., Pacific Performances: Theatricality and Cross-Cultural Encounter in the South Seas (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Schweitzer, Marlis, “Networking the Waves: Ocean Liners, Impresarios, and Broadway's Atlantic Expansion,” Theatre Survey 53.2 (2012): 241–67; Imre, Zoltán, “Operetta beyond Borders: The Different Versions of Die Csárdásfürstin in Europe and the United States (1915–1921),” Studies in Musical Theatre 7.2 (2013): 175205; Leonhardt, Nic, “A Hop, a Frock, a Hairdo: Irene Castle and Her Female Networks of Theatrical Business,” Popular Entertainment Studies 4.1 (2013): 5063, and Transatlantic Theatrical Traces: Oceanic Trade Routes and Globetrotting Amusement Explorers,” The Passing Show—Newsletter of the Schubert Archive 30.2 (2013–14): 223; Schweitzer, Marlis, Transatlantic Broadway: The Infrastructural Politics of Global Performance (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Wilkie, Fiona, Performance, Transport and Mobility: Making Passage (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Imre, Zoltán, “A Midsummer Night's (Different) Dream(s): The Royal Shakespeare Company's 1972 Tour of Eastern Europe,” Theatre Survey 56.3 (2015): 336–62; Balme, Christopher [B.] and Leonhardt, Nic, “Introduction: Theatrical Trade Routes,” Journal of Global Theatre History 1.1 (2016): 19; and Holledge, Julie et al. , A Global Doll's House, Ibsen and Distant Visions (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

4 Aldridge received such bad reviews that he had to end his guest performances early and tour the country again. For Aldridge's contradictory career and the racist attitudes toward his performances (and interracial marriage) in Britain, see Lindfors, Bernth, “‘Mislike Me Not for My Complexion …’: Ira Aldridge in Whiteface,” African American Review 33.2 (1999): 347–54; Lindfors, , “Ira Aldridge's London Debut,” Theatre Notebook 60.1 (2006): 3044; Lindfors, , “Ira Aldridge at Covent Garden, April 1833,” Theatre Notebook 61.3 (2007): 144–69; and Waters, Hazel, Racism on the Victorian Stage: Representation of Slavery and the Black Character (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 5888.

5 Courtney, Krystyna Kujawińska, “Ira Aldridge: European Shakespeare Tragedian,” in The Globalization of Shakespeare in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Courtney, Krystyna Kujawińska and Mercer, John M. (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2003), 117–38, at 121.

6 See Mortimer, Owen, Speak of Me as I Am: The Story of Ira Aldridge (Wangaratta, Australia: Wangaratta Press, 1995), 104–6.

7 For his route in Poland in June 1854 see Sawala, Krzysztof, “‘Othello's Occupation's Gone!’: The African Roscius in Poland, 1853–67,” in Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius, ed. Lindfors, Bernth (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2010), 243–66. For his detailed itinerary see Marshall, Herbert and Stock, Mildred, Ira Aldridge: The Negro Tragedian (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, and London: Feffer & Simons, 1968), 177–244 and 255–90; Mortimer, 134; and Hoyles, Martin, Ira Aldridge: Celebrated 19th Century Actor (Hertford, UK: Hansib, 2008), 5673.

8 Deák, Ágnes, Polgári átalakulás és neoabszolutizmus 1849–1867 [Civic reforms and neoabsolutism 1849–1867] (Budapest: Kossuth, 2009), 23.

9 Ibid., 45.

10 Siemann, Wolfram, “Kémek a szabadságharc ellen: Államrendőrségi elnyomás az 1848–49-es forradalom után a Habsburg Monarchiában” [Spies against the War of Independence: oppression by the state police in the Habsburg Monarchy], in A forradalom után: Vereség vagy győzelem? [After the Revolution: defeat or victory?], ed. Cséve, Anna (Budapest: Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum, 2001), 25–33, at 33.

11 See Deák, Ágnes, “Zsandáros és policzájos idők”: Államrendőrség Magyarországon, 1849–1867 [“Times of gendarmes and police”: The state police in Hungary, 1849–1867] (Budapest: Osiris, 2015), 205 and 207; and also Lengyel, Zsolt K., “Neoabszolutizmus vagy önkényuralom? Megjegyzések a magyarországi Bach-korszak újabb historiográfiájához” [Neoabsolutism or tyranny? Remarks on the latest historiography of the Bach era in Hungary], Aetas 23.3 (2008): 237–55.

12 Deák, “Zsandáros és policzájos idők,” 581.

13 Roach, Joseph, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 2.

14 Ibid., 3. For the concept of the empty space in literary studies see Iser, Wolfgang, The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response, trans. Wilson, David Henry ([Ger. 1976]; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978); Ubersfeld, Anne, Lire le théâtre (Paris: Éditions Sociales, 1977); and for a slightly different use in theatre studies see Brook, Peter, The Empty Space (London and New York: Penguin, 1968), 9.

15 For the possibilities of resistance see Deák, Ágnes, “Pest-Buda utcáin egy rendőrinformátor nyomában 1849–1850” [The streets of Pest-Buda, after a spy 1849–1850], in Milyen nemzetet, kinek és hogyan? Tanulmányok Magyarország történelméről, 1780–1948 [What kind of nation? To whom? And how? Articles about the history of Hungary, 1780–1948], ed. Dobszay, Tamás, Erdődy, Gábor, and Manhercz, Orsolya (Budapest: Eötvös Kiadó, 2012), 3141; and Deák, “Zsandáros és policzájos idők,” 550–72.

16 A rare example is János Libényi, a Hungarian tailor, who attempted to murder Kaiser Franz Joseph I in Vienna in 1854, only a few weeks before Aldridge arrived in Pest-Buda. After the unsuccessful attempt, he was captured on the spot and executed a few weeks later.

17 Deák, Polgári átalakulás és neoabszolutizmus, 62.

18 Deák, Ágnes, “Fülbemászó olvasatok, avagy hogyan olvas irodalmat egy rendőrbesúgó” [Clear readings; or, How an agent reads literature], Holmi 13.7 (2001): 922–32, at 922.

19 Bartha, Katalin Ágnes, “Neoabszolutizmus és színházi kultúra: Cenzúra, színpadi dramaturgia és Shylock-alakítás” [Neoabsolutism and theatrical culture: Censorship, dramaturgy and Shylock], in A látható jelentés: Színház- és filmtudományi írások [The seen meaning: Articles on theatre and film], ed. Egyed, Emese (Kolozsvár: Erdélyi Múzeum-Egyesület, 2012), 132–52, at 133–4. The internal quotation is from Magyarországot illető országos törvény- és kormánylap [Hungary's official state and law magazine] [2] 28.2 (1851): 139.

20 Kerényi, Ferenc, “Szólnom kisebbség, bűn a hallgatás”: Az irodalmi élet néhány kérdése az abszolutizmus korában [“If I speak, my voice remains in the minority, but it is a sin to remain silent”: Some questions of the life of literature in the age of absolutism] (Gyula: Békés Megyei Levéltár, 2005), 57.

21 Ibid., 61.

22 Deák, Polgári átalakulás és neoabszolutizmus, 59. See also Deák, “Zsandáros és policzájos idők,” 259, and 123–200.

23 See Császár, Edit Mályuszné, “A főváros színházi életének megmagyarosodása, 1843–1878” [The Hungarization of the theatrical life of the capital, 1843–1878], Tanulmányok Budapest múltjából 15.4 (1963): 445–86, at 461–2.

24 For Aldridge's preparation for his visits see Lindfors, Bernth, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare in Europe 1852–1855 (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013), 101–2; Sawala; Nikola Batušić, “The First American on the Zagreb Stage,” in Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius, ed. Lindfors, 216–21, at 216–18.

25 Dessewffy, Tibor, Bevezetés a jelenbe [Introduction to the present] (Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó, 2004), 76.

26 Appadurai, Arjun, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Public Culture 2.2 (1990): 124, at 9.

28 Balme, Christopher B., “Intermediality: Rethinking the Relationship between Theatre and Media,” Thewis: Online-Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft 1.1 (2004): 118, at 17. See also Balme, Christopher B., The Theatrical Public Space (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

29 His guest performance in Brussels in 1852 was a financial disaster, though he received good reviews. As result, Aldridge realized that he had to rely on the media and, by circulating the reviews, prepare his visits in advance through favorable publicity. See Lindfors, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare, 39.

30 See Baudrillard, Jean, Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Glaser, Sheila Faria ([Fr. 1981]; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994).

31 See, for instance, J …, “Bécsi levél” [Letter from Vienna], Szépirodalmi Lapok [Literary magazine], 6 March 1853, 290.

32 As the magazine Divatcsarnok [Fashion hall] also put it even in 1858: “Without a doubt, it is still true that Aldridge is the only individual who still has the ancient power of passions” (Divatcsarnok, 16 February 1858, 110).

33 See Sauer, Walter, “Zwischen High Society und Vorstadtmilieu: Angelo Soliman im Wien des 18. Jahrhunderts,” in Angelo Soliman, ein Afrikaner in Wien, eds. Blom, Philipp and Kos, Wolfgang (Vienna: Wien Museum Karlsplatz and Christian Brandstätter Verlag, 2011), 8193.

34 Philipp Blom, “Solimans Körper, Angelos Geist: Anmerkungen zur Erschließung eines Einzelshicksals,” in Angelo Soliman, ed. Blom and Kos, 13–23, at 14.

35 Ibid., 18. Such a dangerous stranger, the black character Motabu, appeared in Miklós Jósika's novel A könnyelműek [The easygoers] (1837), for instance.

36 Kerényi, Ferenc, “A radikális színházprogram és a közönség a Pesti Magyar Színházban 1838–1840” [The radical theatre program and the audience at the Pesti Magyar Színház / Hungarian Theatre of Pest, 1838–1840], Irodalomtörténet 58.1 (1976): 165–81, at 174. The morally noble savage/stranger remains a stock character in the plays of the most popular theatrical author of the time, August von Kotzebue (see ibid.).

37 An article appearing in Pesti Napló [Pest diary], for instance, stated that “there are principles that silence and abolish with their blinding light and unresistant power of truth every kind of petty financial interest. Such a principle is the liberation of the Negro slaves in America. It is an enormous disgrace for humanity that, in a nation and union of states, regarding themselves as Christian and civilized, hundreds of thousands of people—deprived of their basic rights, and suffering from despotism in their everyday life— are openly and clearly treated as objects and commodities. This is what is happening in North America.” “Tamás bátya kunyhója, vagy négerélet az amerikai rabszolgatartó államokban” [Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Negro life in the American slave states], Pesti Napló, 18 November 1852, 1.

38 Two months after its first Hungarian-language performance in Győr in March 1853, the Nemzeti Színház / National Theatre in Pest premiered an adaptation of the novel (probably based on the French stage version). Uncle Tom would become very popular in Hungarian-speaking cities, performed by traveling companies.

39 Gábor Egressy, “III. Richard. Shaksperetől. Utána: The padlok. Ira Aldridge utolsó vendégjátéka s búcsuvétele” [Shakespeare's Richard III. After: The Padlock. Ira Aldridge's final guest performance and farewell], in Egressy Galambos Gábor emléke, 165–70, at 169.

40 Egressy, “Néger színész. Othello,” 156 (emphasis added). Aldridge himself referred to this relation to Uncle Tom, when he mentioned Harriet Beecher Stowe in his auto/biography, published in 1853 in German, Leben und Künstler-Laufbahn des Negers Ira Aldridge (Berlin: Allgemeine Deutsche Verlag, 1853), 3.

41 Probably by Aldridge himself, but the author is unknown; hence my use of the term auto/biography.

42 See Memoir and Theatrical Career of Ira Aldridge, the African Roscius (London: Onwhyn, n.d. [ca. 1848]); reprinted in Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius, ed. Lindfors, 7–38.

43 For further analysis of his auto/biography see Courtney, Krystyna Kujawińska, “‘Mislike Me Not for My Complexion’: The First Biography of Ira Aldridge, the African Tragedian (1807–1867),” in Ideology and Rhetoric: Constructing America, ed. Chylińska, Bożenna (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), 5370.

44 Postlewait, Thomas, “Autobiography and Theatre History,” in Interpreting the Theatrical Past, eds. Postlewait, Thomas and McConachie, Bruce A. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1989), 248–72, at 259.

45 The 1848 London version stated that “It will tell of an Ethiopian—‘a black’—who, notwithstanding the abject state in which most of his kind ‘Live, and move, and have their being,’ has obtained, and maintains among us Europeans—‘whites’—who deem ourselves to be the most civilized and enlightened people upon God's earth, a reputation whose acquisition demands the highest qualities of the mind and the noblest endowments of the person.” Aldridge, Memoir, in Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius, ed. Lindfors, 7. The same sentence can be found translated in his 1853 German Leben, 1.

46 Aldridge, Memoir, in Lindfors, 12; Leben, 7.

47 Aldridge, Memoir, in Lindfors, 16; Leben, 17.

48 Aldridge, Memoir, in Lindfors, 23; Leben, 27.

49 For Aldridge's awards for excellence, and his honorary memberships, see Marshall and Stock, 185, as well as Mortimer, 124; regarding their controversy see Sulzbacher, Christine, “Die Gastspiele des afroamerikanischen Schauspielers Ira Aldridge in Österreich,” Wiener Geschichtsblätter 59.1 (2004): 1943, at 22–36.

50 See Lindfors, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare, 85.

51 For these stereotypes in Hungarian literature of 1837 see Fried, István, “A Könnyelműek: Jósika Miklós regényének értelmezése” [The easygoers: The interpretation of Miklós Jósika's novel], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények, 94.5–6 (1990): 648–55, at 649–50.

52 Courtney, Krystyna Kujawińska, “Ira Aldridge (1807–1867): From ‘Playing the African Prince’ to Becoming ‘The Great Interpreter of the Ever-Living Shakespeare,’” in Ira Aldridge (1807–1867): The Great Shakespearean Tragedian on the Bicentennial Anniversary of His Birth, ed. Courtney, Krystyna Kujawińska and Łukowska, Maria (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009), 2133, at 25.

53 Lindfors, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare, 85.

54 Kujawińska Courtney, “Ira Aldridge (1807–1867),” 22.

55 Lindfors argues that the name was given Aldridge ironically by a reviewer for the Times in 1825 who was “criticizing his first performance at the Royal Coburg Theatre…. Aldridge turned this term to his advantage by using it thereafter on playbills and newspaper advertisements as an endorsement of his theatrical ability” (Lindfors, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare, 5).

56 Though born a slave, Quintus Roscius Gallus became a great Roman actor who amassed a large fortune and bought his freedom. By the Renaissance, his name was associated with dramatic excellence. In the English-speaking world, Garrick was the first English Roscius; then, as Lindfors remarks, “Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and several American Roscii and Rosciae, including a Kentucky Roscius, soon appeared” (Lindfors, “‘Mislike Me Not for My Complexion …,’” 347).

57 Hölgyfutár [Ladies’ courier], 6 October 1852, 922.

58 Magyar Hírlap [Hungarian news], 13 November 1852, 2.

59 Budapesti Visszhang [Budapest echo], 16 January 1853, 2.

60 Ibid., 27 January 1853, 3.

62 Pesti Napló, 5 March 1853, 4; Szépirodalmi Lapok, 6 March 1853, 297; J …, “Bécsi levél,” in ibid., 290; Ede Szigligeti, Szépirodalmi Lapok, 10 March 1853, 314.

63 Szépirodalmi Lapok, 13 March 1853, 330.

65 See, for instance, Szépirodalmi Lapok: “as we defend Aldridge from his opponents, we present the truth not only for the artist but also for a race suffering for centuries from the supposition that they are not capable of higher intellectual capabilities” (13 March 1853, 331).

66 Pál Gyulai, “Ira Aldridge,” Szépirodalmi Lapok, 24 March 1853, 371–2.

67 Ibid., 372. Aldridge had married Yorkshire-born Margaret Gill in 1825.

68 Ibid. Aldridge's visit was also announced by the German-language media; see Pester Post, 31 March 1853, 1–2.

69 Csalán Inokai [pseud.], “Ira Aldridge,” Budapesti Hírlap [Budapest news], 29 March 1853, 365–6, at 365.

70 Ibid., 366.

71 See Dörgő, Tibor, “A Tamás bátya kunyhója fogadtatása Magyarországon” [The reception of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Hungary], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 103.1–2 (1999): 90100, at 93–5.

72 Sawala, 250.

73 Lajos Fáncsy, Hölgyfutár, 9 April 1853, 267.

74 The Pester Stadttheater, which opened in 1812, was destroyed by a fire in 1847.

75 The Pesti Magyar Színház opened in 1837; from 1840 on, it was called the Nemzeti Színház (National Theatre).

76 Examples include the following premieres at the Deutsches Theater in Pest: Franz Kratter's Die Neger auf Curassao oder Der Mohrenkönig (1827); Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Arnulph der Schwarze oder Verbrechen und Busse (1822); Anon., Die Negersklaven (1828); Joseph von Auffenberg, Die schwarze Fritz (1829); Friedrich Hopp, Das schwarze Kind (1830); Carl Meisl, Die schwarze Frau (1831); Weil's adaptation Die schwarze Doktor of Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois, Le Docteur noir (1846).

77 Kádár, Jolán, A budai és pesti német színészet története 1812-ig [The history of German theatres in Buda and Pest until 1812] (Budapest: Pfeifer, 1914), 85.

78 As Kerényi points out: “As the National Theatre—through Franz Holding's Viennese agency—became increasingly in touch with European theatres, the number of guest performances in Pest grew.” Kerényi, Ferenc, “A Nemzeti Színház és közönsége 1845–1848” [The National Theatre and its audience 1845–1848], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények, 84.4 (1980): 428–44, at 438.

79 See Kerényi, Ferenc, “A színház mint társaséleti színtér a 19. századi Budapesten” [Theatre as a place for social life in nineteenth-century Budapest], Budapesti Negyed 12.4 (2004): 6789, online at, accessed 14 September 2019.

80 Othello had been played several times in Pest as a guest performance: ca. 1800 by Tauber from Pozsony (Bratislava); by Heinrich Lange from Vienna in 1808, 1812, 1813; by Heinrich Anschütz from Vienna in 1826, 1837; by Moritz Rott from Berlin in 1828, 1840, 1845; and by Ludwig Dessoir from Vienna in 1851. Kádár, Jolán, “Német Shakespeare-előadások Pesten és Budán, 1812–1847” [The German-speaking Shakespeare performances in Pest and Buda, 1812–1847], Magyar Shakespeare-Tár 10 (1918): 2190, at 89.

81 Kádár, Budai és pesti német színészet története, 89. Though it was played only twice between 1786 and 1789 (ibid., 39), nineteen performances were recorded between 1793 and 1812; see Kádár, Jolán, “Shakespeare drámái a magyarországi német színpadokon 1812-ig” [Shakespeare's plays on German stages in Hungary until 1812], Magyar Shakespeare-Tár 9 (1916): 65111, at 111.

82 Rossini, Othello, a Velenczei Szerecsen [Othello, the Saracen of Venice], National Széchényi Library (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, or OSZK), Budapest, Színháztörténeti Tár (hereafter SzT), Theatre Archives, MM 13.855.

83 Jolán, Kádár, A pesti és budai német színészet története, 1812–1847 [The history of German theatres in Pest and Buda, 1812–1847] (Budapest: Budavári Tudományos Társaság, 1923), 161. See also Kádár, “Német Shakespeare-előadások Pesten és Budán,” 88–90; and Binal, Wolfgang, Deutschsprachiges Theater in Budapest (Vienna, Cologne, and Graz: Böhlau, 1972).

84 P. A. wrote in his review that, “since early seven o'clock in the morning, the box office has been under siege…. They were also glad who could not get a ticket from the box office, but later could buy one from a ticket tout for a fortune”; P. A., “Ira Aldridge Pesten” [Ira Aldridge in Pest], Szépirodalmi Lapok, 27 March 1853, 404–6, at 405.

85 See Marshall and Stock, 278–9.

86 Egressy, “Néger színész. Othello,” 156.

87 Ibid., 158.

88 Ibid., 155.

89 See Gyula Bky [Büky], Budapesti Hírlap, 7 April 1853, 373.

90 Demcsák, Katalin, “Ristori vita: A tévedés köz-játéka” [The debate over Ristori: the play of mistake], Theatron 2 (2000): 38, at 4.

91 All quotations from Demcsák, 5 and 8.

92 Bky, 372.

93 Pesti Napló, 12 April 1853, 4.

94 Greguss, Ágost, “Shakspere Othelloja Ira Aldridge fölléptén” [Shakespeare's Othello with Aldridge] [1853], in Tanulmányai [Articles], 2 vols. (Budapest: Ráth Mór, 1872), 1: 3–4.

95 See, for instance, Roach, Joseph R., The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press, 1985); and Taylor, George, Players and Performances in the Victorian Theatre (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1989).

96 In the production, her husband, Mr. Stanton, played Iago.

97 Lindfors notes regarding Luisa Stanton that “we also know nothing about Mrs. Stanton's previous acting experience, and it is possible she had none”; Lindfors, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare, 18.

98 “Munkácsy Flóra; Gaidler Emília,” Magyar Színházművészeti Lexikon [Lexicon for Hungarian theatre],, accessed 18 July 2018.

99 Kujawińska Courtney, “Ira Aldridge (1807–1867),” 26.

100 Ibid., 28.

101 Isaac Bickerstaff's comedy was then new to the audience in Pest-Buda; the National Theatre played it again only several months after Aldridge's visit, in August 1853. (See the bilingual promptbook at OSZK SzT, Theatre Archives, L79). Aldridge also played The Padlock because he aspired to be a versatile actor, like David Garrick, and wanted to show his comedic talents.

102 Gábor Egressy, “Macbeth. Shaksperetől. Utána The Padlok (a lakat), vaudeville egy felv. Bickerstafftől. Ira Aldridge föllépte, angol társaságával” [Shakespeare's Macbeth. After: Bickerstaff's The Padlock, a vaudeville in one-act. Ira Aldridge stepped up with his English companion], in Egressy Galambos Gábor emléke, 159–61, at 161.

103 The Hungarian term was borrowed from the German Neger, based on the French nègre, which, through the Spanish negro, traces back to the Latin word of niger, nigra, nigrum (“black”). In the Hungarian context, néger meant “a person with black skin” (see Hungarian Etymological Lexicon,, accessed 18 June 2017. It is interesting, regarding our contemporary debate regarding “the N-word,” that Aldridge's auto/biography in German used the expression Neger. The present article adheres to the term Negro, and in doing so does not intend to offend anyone.

104 In his above-mentioned review (see note 84), P. A. formulated this interpretation in an even more explicit way: “I could see the representative of a suppressed and despised race in his high human dignity as Aldridge triumphed with civic morals and the power of art” (405).

105 Macbeth premiered at the National Theatre in 1844. A bilingual promptbook (Hungarian and English) was used by Aldridge and the National's company: William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1853, OSZK SzT, Theatre Archives, N.Sz.M. 115.

106 Richard III premiered at the National Theatre only in 1843, though its promptbook is from 1839; see William Shakespeare, Harmadik Richárd Király, 1839, OSZK SzT, Theatre Archives, H85.

107 The four-act version of The Merchant of Venice premiered at the National Theatre in 1839; see William Shakespeare, Velenczei kalmár, OSZK SzT, Theatre Archives, MM 243.

108 Bartha, 148. Bartha's expression here is problematic, as Africa is a continent where many nations and peoples live.

109 Ibid., 150.

110 In Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), Aldridge met the actor Károly Rémay (Karl Remay), who spoke English, Hungarian, and German, and who worked for the German-speaking company of the city. With Rémay's help and local knowledge, Aldridge managed to organize guest performances in smaller Hungarian cities and the southern region of the Monarchy (Zagreb, Ljubjana, Belgrade, etc.).

111 According to the letters at the OSZK Manuscripts Department, Aldridge's visit had an enormous effect on a number of women in Pest; see also Lindfors, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare, 136–54; and Cyril Bruyn Andrews, “A Garland of Love Letters,” in Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius, ed. Lindfors, 79–93. Andrews's essay is, in fact, part of his unpublished biography of Aldridge (ca. 1930) called “Victorian Ebony: The Diaries, Letters and Criticism: The Story of Ira Aldridge (Known as the African Roscius),” 106–42. The manuscript is in the Ira Aldridge collection, box 2, of the McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

112 Among them were Leó Festetics, the intendant of the National Theatre; members of the company; and other important personages.

113 See, for example, “Lakoma Ira Aldridge tiszteletére” [A feast in honor of Ira Aldridge], Szépirodalmi Lapok, 7 April 1853, 434.

114 Szépirodalmi Lapok, 10 April 1853, 468.

115 Pesti Napló, 5 March 1853, 4.

116 Hölgyfutár, 6 April 1853, 260 (emphasis added).

117 Ibid.

118 Gereben Vas, Hölgyfutár, 9 April 1853, 267.

119 Sándor Balázs, Hölgyfutár, 9 April 1853, 267.

120 See also Courtney, Krystyna Kujawińska, “Ira Aldridge, Shakespeare, and Color-Conscious Performances in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance, ed. Thompson, Ayana (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), 103–22.

121 Edina Kicsindi, “Esettanulmány 1853-ból: Beecher-Stowe, Ira Aldridge és a ‘magyar média’” [A case-study from 1853: Stowe, Beecher, Aldridge, Ira, and the “Hungarian media”], in Harambee: Tanulmányok Füssi Nagy Géza 60. születésnapjára [Harambee: Articles for the 60th birthday of Géza Füssi Nagy], ed. Sebestyén, Éva, Szombathy, Zoltán, and Tarrósy, István (Pécs: Publikon Könyvek–ELTE BTK Afrikanisztikai Oktatási Program, 2006), 220–8, at 222.

122 Ibid.

123 The political situation was similar in the Polish cities of the then-nonexistent Poland when Aldridge visited Kraków in 1854 and 1858. See Olga Mastela, “Ira Aldridge in Cracow (1854 and 1858): A Different Reception,” in Ira Aldridge (1807–1867), ed. Kujawińska Courtney and Łukowska, 65–75.

124 Roach, Cities of the Dead, 77.

125 Bhabha, Homi K., “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse,” in The Location of Culture, new ed. (London and New York: Routledge, [1994] 2004), 121–31, at 128.

126 Kujawińska Courtney, “Ira Aldridge (1807–1867),” 32. In a letter, written probably to an editor of a newspaper in 1854, Aldridge denied any political connections: “Dear Sir, an article appeared in your Magazine, stating that I was Agent to a democratic party…. I need sincerely add that I never was in my life directly, or indirectly contracted with any political party in this or any other country”; Ira Aldridge, letter of 28 December 1854, addressee unknown, OSZK Manuscript Department (Kézirattár), Anal. 149. Despite his denial, probably no one believed him—including the authorities. This might be why Aldridge could not revisit Pest-Buda until five years later, in 1858.

127 Egressy, “III. Richard. Shaksperetől,” 170.

128 Krzysztof Sawala points out about Aldridge's visits to Poland, for instance, that “the revolutionary movements of the 1840s, culminating in the Spring of Nations (1848), resulted in a mild loosening of the partitioning powers’ grip over Poland's rudimentary independence, as well as in the renewal of patriotic feelings among Poles, for which the performances of a Negro actor—himself a representative of an oppressed class with whom Poles could empathize—provided splendid nourishment” (Sawala, 244).

129 Kujawińska Courtney, “Ira Aldridge: European Shakespeare Tragedian,” 118.

130 The cause of his death is unknown.

131 Katarzyna Kwapisz Williams and Evan Williams, “Ira Aldridge, Multiculturalism and the Theatre of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Wrocław,” in Ira Aldridge (1807–1867), ed. Kujawińska Courtney and Łukowska, 45–73, at 60. See also Agata Dąbrowska, “In Defense of ‘Otherness’: Ira Aldridge as Shylock in Poland from 1853 to 1867,” in ibid., 91–101.

132 For the guest performances in Hungary see Staud, Géza, “Külföldi hatások a magyar színjátszásban, rendezésben és dramaturgiában” [Foreign impacts on Hungarian acting, directing, and dramaturgy], in Élő dramaturgia [Living dramaturgy], ed. Gyárfás, Miklós (Budapest: Magvető, 1963), 91113; and Harminc év vendégjátékai, 1945–1975 [Thirty years of guest performances. 1945–1975], comp. and ed. Alpár, Ágnes (Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1977).

133 For theatre interculturality see The Intercultural Performance Reader, ed. Pavis, Patrice (London and New York: Routledge, 1996); Latrell, Craig, “After Appropriation,” TDR: The Drama Review 44.4 (2000): 4455; Lo, Jacqueline and Gilbert, Helen, “Toward a Topography of Cross-Cultural Theatre,” TDR: The Drama Review 46.3 (2002): 3153, at 33–7; Holledge, Julie and Tompkins, Joanne, Women's Intercultural Performance (London and New York: Routledge, 2000); and Knowles, Ric, Theatre and Interculturalism (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

An earlier Hungarian-language version of this article appeared in Irodalomtörténet 96.4 (2015): 399–434, and is available online at I am grateful for the generous help of Bernth Lindfors and Márton Szilágyi.

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