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Hungarian Sketches in Peace and War Constable's Miscellany of Foreign Literature, vol. 1   By: (1825-1904)

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First Page:

HUNGARIAN SKETCHES IN PEACE AND WAR.

FROM THE HUNGARIAN OF MORITZ JÓKAI.

WITH PREFATORY NOTICE BY EMERIC SZABAD, Author of "Hungary Past and Present."

EDINBURGH: THOMAS CONSTABLE AND CO. HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO., LONDON. JAMES M'GLASHAN, DUBLIN. MDCCCLIV.

CONSTABLE'S MISCELLANY OF FOREIGN LITERATURE.

VOL. I.

EDINBURGH: THOMAS CONSTABLE AND CO. HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO., LONDON. JAMES M'GLASHAN, DUBLIN. MDCCCLIV.

EDINBURGH: T. CONSTABLE, PRINTER TO HER MAJESTY.

CONTENTS.

PAGE PREFACE, v DEAR RELATIONS, 1 THE BARDY FAMILY, 87 CRAZY MARCSA, 133 COMORN, 151 MOR PERCZEL, 167 GERGELY SONKOLYI, 173 THE UNLUCKY WEATHERCOCK, 205 THE TWO BRIDES, 213 THE BREWER, 237 THE SZEKELY MOTHER, 279 A BALL, 295

PREFACE.

Jokai is one of the most popular of the Hungarian prose writers of fiction that sprang up a few years before the late war. His wit, flowing style, and vivid descriptions of Hungarian life as it is, joined to a rich fancy and great intensity of feeling, soon made him a favourite with Hungarian readers.

Among the earlier of his productions, those best known are a novel entitled, "The Common Days," and a collection of minor tales, published under the title of "Wild Flowers."

The present volume has been written for the most part since the late memorable national movement, and embodies descriptions of several of the direst scenes in the civil war which devastated Hungary from the year 1848 to 1850.

Most of the Hungarian literati were, at the close of the war, either roaming in foreign countries, or wandering in disguise through their native land; and the field of literature for a long time threatened to remain neglected and barren a monument of national grief and desolation! Those patriotic writers who had for years wielded the pen with the noblest impulses thought to do their duty best by letting their highest faculties lie dormant; and laid aside the lyre rather than bring unacceptable offerings to a fatherland laid low, and at the mercy of foreign swords. And who will deny that there is sometimes great virtue in silence, and that the tongue that speaks not is often more eloquent and heroic than that which dares to utter sublime truths even at the foot of the gibbet? Many of the noble hearted of Hungary resigned themselves to such a martyr like silence, and persevere in it to the present day; while the great bulk of the people, unwilling to enhance the triumph of their victorious enemies by a show of unavailing lamentation, followed their example. Pesth, which had been the scene of literary activity, was at once deserted; the bards of Hungary, abandoning their homes to the wantonness of a foreign soldiery, went back to the districts whence they had come, there to mingle with those peasants whose chivalry and patriotism afforded constant themes to their lyres. Their renewed intercourse with their rustic countrymen served again to revive their hopes, quenched as in the grave.

In the sketches of Jokai, the reader will find many original delineations of Hungarian life among the middle class nobility a race of men whose manner of life and thought cannot fail to be interesting, however cursorily described. But the Hungarian peasant is in his way no less attractive. Nothing can be wilder than his dress, consisting of a sheepskin cloak (bunda), or a similar habit of the coarsest cloth, a shirt, scarcely reaching below the waist, and wide linen drawers, to which boots do not often form the necessary complement; yet his easy demeanour, delicate feelings, and especially his language, are such as to put him on a level with the educated classes... Continue reading book >>




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