Mata Hari or the Body of the Nation? Interpretations of Katalin Karády

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Hungarian Studies Review
Fame has a strange way of making individuals more opaque. Audiences assume they know the stars whose faces they see and whose personal lives they follow in popular media. However, the process of creating public personas can significantly alter the individual. Stars both make themselves and are made through media, sometimes in a symbiotic manner, other times in an adversarial one. Such is the case with the Hungarian songstress and actress Katalin Karády. This analysis of the characterizations of Karády, which emerges from a myriad of disjointed descriptions and biographic confusion about the actress, is case in point. There is much we do not know, and thus much legend, surrounding the woman who dominated the Hungarian box office and whose voice reigned over popular music during the Second World War. It is precisely this contradiction — this dominant public personality with multiple semi-private and private personas — that make Karády a superb subject for a brief study of symbolism, nation and gender in the context of a changing Hungary.
Katalin Karády, Symbolism
Frey, David S. “Mata Hari or the body of the nation? Interpretations of Katalin Karády.” Hungarian Studies Review XLII, 1-2 (2014): 89-106.