Happy Friday Everyone!
This is the first installment in “Foreign Language Friday.” I don’t promise to have one *every* Friday (I only have so many books and all), but at least once a month I will be featuring a Foreign edition of one of the Oz books. Generally, these will be editions of Wizard, since that’s had the most translations, however there will be appearances of several others. I will also never feature Denslow or Neill in these posts. My focus will be on the foreign artists.
So, the first one will be Oz, a Nagy Varázsló! From what I can find, this was the first translation into Hungarian, in 1966 with a translation by Klára Szōllōsy and illustrations by Vera Zsoldos. It was published by Móra Ferenc Könyvkiadó. The title roughly translates to Oz, the Great Wizard. Much of my information comes from the Hungarian Wikipedia and what few articles I could find and run through Google Translate.
Zsoldos was born in Budapest on March 10, 1924. She was at one point exiled during World War II for reasons I wasn’t able to determine. She studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts and graduated in 1957. She began working as an illustrator for children’s books almost immediately, and in fact illustrated approximately 600 books between 1959 and 2002. Surprisingly, she only wrote one book of her own, Jó kutya volta (I Was a Good Dog) in 1975, that did become a popular film. She was quite celebrated, it seems, being awarded the Native Prize (?) in 1994, a Special Prize for the Ministry of Culture and Public Education in 1997 and being awarded the Knight Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in 2004. Before her death on June 21, 2016, she had two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, with a ninth born after her passing.
The artwork in Oz is really very charming. A mixture of black and white line drawings and full color, full page artwork, the book is bright and cheerful. Dorothy is rendered in a very mid-60s style, particularly after her first visit to Emerald City, and really there is a very 1960s feel throughout the book.
She illustrated almost all of the major points of the story, as well as many of the lesser known scenes. Interestingly, much like Markiling in the earlier post, she did not choose to illustrate Glinda.
Equally interesting, she chose to end the book not with an illustration of Dorothy, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry (or, in Hungarian: Dorka, Emmi néni and Henrik básci) but of the Cowardly Lion (or Gyáva Oroszlán) drinking his courage. In fact, there are a lot of illustrations of him throughout the book, which suggests to me that it was probably her favorite character.
What do you all think? Personally, I really love these illustrations, and wish that she had illustrated more of the books.
Until next time!