A Slovak Lackey at the Vienna Court and his Virtual Life in Hungarian Politics and Culture Cover Image
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A Slovak Lackey at the Vienna Court and his Virtual Life in Hungarian Politics and Culture
A Slovak Lackey at the Vienna Court and his Virtual Life in Hungarian Politics and Culture

Author(s): Marián Bovan, Roman Holec
Subject(s): History
Published by: Historický ústav SAV
Keywords: Austria-Hungary; The Imperial court in the period of Dualism; The name of a person as the symbol of an institution up to 1918 and of negative properties in the whole 20th century

Summary/Abstract: Anton Szmolen (1856 – 1939) worked as a lackey at the Vienna court of the Emperor Franz Joseph from 1894 to 1910. Therefore, his manuscript memoirs are a remarkable source of information on how a Slovak came into immediate proximity to the monarch and his family, and how he remained loyal practically until his death. No less interesting is the mystification around this person, which made Szmolen’s memoirs an excellent example of manipulation and distortion, which he even believed himself to some extent. Even more interesting than his military and court career is the virtual life of Anton Szmolen. In the 20th century Hungarian political and intellectual discourse, his name became a symbol of Vienna, the hated court clique and its arrogance. He appeared in this function in caricatures in humorous magazines, in the theatre, songs and parliament. The Emperor and Vienna were indirectly attacked through Szmolen. This symbol also survived beyond the period of Szmolen’s service and even the fall of the Monarchy. Szmolen’s name was gradually transformed and acquired a wider meaning as a symbol of treason, lackeyism and service to foreign powers. It was used with this meaning even in the recent past.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: Supplement
  • Page Range: 51-80
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: English