“I cannot court you with other news now...” Cover Image

„Más hírrel most nem udvarolhatok…”
“I cannot court you with other news now...”

Themes and topoi of the clients’ letters in eighteenth-century Hungary

Author(s): Olga Khavanova
Subject(s): 18th Century
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The best known symbolic republic in early-modern Europe was “respublica litteraria”, a self-regulating corporation of learned and erudite men beyond political and often also confessional borders. Its “citizens” were communicating through exchange of letters. In earlymodern Hungary, just like in other countries, one can define a network of aristocratic patrons and their noble and/or common clients as a republic, or “respublica clientium”. The present paper consists of two parts: the first deals with the most typical features of epistolary communication between patrons and clients with special attention to their regularity, their compliance with stylistic rules known from widely circulating sample letters and the choice of language. Furthermore, most typical patron addressees, such as secular and ecclesiastic dignitaries, military commanders, counties as collective patrons are also discussed. In the second part, the career of a typical first-generation Hungarian nobleman, Mihály Vass is presented through the prism of his letters to aristocratic patrons (whose family archives are now depositories of Vass’ and other minor clients’ letters). The conclusion could be drawn that clients' letters explored in the context of patronage networks help to reconstruct both single biographies and the discursive features of early modern societies.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 5-16
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Hungarian