Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Part I, Chapter 13

The Eternal Fight: A parliamentary session in the 20th century

The parliament building is described first. It houses both the lower and upper house of parliament. The latter on the top level, gaining its light via a glass roof.

The lower house being below, gains its light via Drummond-style "lime[-based?]lighting" that also provides heat. As a result, in the summer time ice-making machines are employed to temper the heat. In addition, it also has two chemical machines that are constantly at work. One that produces oxygen, and the other that takes in carbonic gas (presumably carbon dioxide) to produce from the exhalations of the speeches "sodawater" (carbonated [i.e.: mineral] water).

Furthermore the lower house has no doors or other horizontal entrances. Representatives can only enter vertically via "sinking/lower-machines" at times of their own volition, at other times by the will of the President (i.e.: Speaker) of the House. The latter happens either when at the end of a session, the President of the House initiates the sinking of the chairs out of the assembly, or when, after alerting representatives with a 2 minute warning bell of an imminent vote, the President of the House calls up all chairs whether or not they are presently occupied. Therefore those who are not in their chairs by the time they are raised into the chamber cannot take part in the vote. And after such a vote, of course, the chairs are sunken back after all votes have been cast and counted.

These chairs are also connected to clock mechanisms that keep track of how much time each representative spends in session, and this calculated total is used at the end of the month to determine what share of the monthly Representative's Salary budget goes to each representative, much to the pleasure of conscientious members.

The assembly is premanent, by the way. There are 12 Presidents of the Assembly, each presiding for 2 hours. Six of them are for Hungarian portions of the session, taking place from 8am to 8pm; the rest for German, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, and various latin- or cyrill-lettered southern slavic languages that are all supported by their own stenographists, as neither any President of the House nor any stenographist can rightly be expected to speak the myriad co-official (i.e.: equal) languages of the country.

Speeches are restricted to 30 minutes, and under special circumstances this time may be restricted to only 15 minutes per speaker. Speeches may only be given from a special podium (also a "sinking/lowering-chair") and at the end of the speech or the alloted time the President of the House lowers the chair (making it wise for the speaker to cease his activity and draw close his limbs)--at the bottom, the new speaker is to be given way and is in turn risen by the President of the House to make his speech.

Lastly, it is described that the cost of printing the records of the parliamentary sessions are charged directly to speakers, albeit in the case of the speech relating to party matters, the cost may ultimately be picked up by the political party in question.

A great multiplicity of political parties are described in varying level of detail. Perhaps most significant is the fact that there is a suggestion of considerably greater political freedom (than in Jokai's time) and politicians are claimed to shield themselves of various sort of accusations by offering "Oh, I'm not Xist--I'm merely a Y Party member" apologias.


Since the time when at the end of the last century (referring to the end of the 1800s) the Parliament pronounced the equality of women, at every election a single female representative is elected (though it is not clear whether this is an election by the electorate, or more of a *selection* by the ruling party). She tends to be the most responsible, conscientious, hard-working, and most-often present member of the entire parliament. This (either her election/appointment or her hard-working nature?) protects women's rights.

Jokai also mentions that the reason only one woman is (s)elected is to avoid female representatives disagreeing with each other, and thereby at least among women to avoid the cursed (ideological) party-splits. I am not quite sure whether Jokai intended this as a serious thought or as perhaps an indication that even in the 20th century, women's liberation still has ways to go.

He then mentions that there are both female stenographers and journalists at the parliament, albeit they are as yet the exception and not the rule. Likewise there are female teachers, judges/magistrates of the first degree (the implication being no female judges in the higher courts). Jokai notes that this is not a fully cleared up concept yet, and women's equality will probably require a good 50 years more for it to fully take firm root.

Some further details of lower house parliamentary sessions: the President of the House has electrical connection from his desk's keys to little bells above the heads of all the representatives by which he can call their attention (among other things, to warn them that if they do not cease their interrupted/disruption/quarrel they will be lowered out of the chamber), and, in turn, all the representatives have a similar electronic connection to the President's desk by which they can indicate their wish to speak (when they do so, their name gets added to a large screen). This same mechanism is used for votes: the President first asks all those who vote "Yes" to press their buttons, then after the names have been recorded, all those who vote "No". Altogether therefore a vote can take place and yield definitive results in as little as five minutes, with everything recorded by the stenographers. No chance of errors or misheard votes.

Then Jokai's attention turns to the myriad ways that both sides of the debate relating to "the dissolution of all religious orders in Hungary" are attempting to ensure victory in the coming vote.

Albeit it eventually turns out that most Hungarian religious organizations actually support the motion, as they see their former privileges encroached upon and all but lost to the myriad foreign religious orders that have fled to Hungary in the past decades. In effect, they hope some return to normalcy and expect a revival of concern toward their (i.e.: Hungarian religious organizations') interest once the foreign orders leave (it is suggested probably to America) for having lost their privileges.

Eventually the vote is taken and is successful, thereby moving the vote to the upper house of parliament.

The many struggles of the upper parliament's factions to either gather more voting representatives for the coming vote or render as many of their opponents unable to attend are detailed at some length. Eventually the vote motion is accepted by one vote... a mistaken vote due entirely to a representative who intended to oppose the motion being distracted. Despite this, the President of the Upper House (which lacks all the modernities of the lower house, being staunchly married to tradition) happily declares the motion carried, glad that a stalemate (equal votes both for and against) did not force him to also cast his vote, as doing so would almost certainly would have destroyed his carefully guarded non-partisanism and ultimately would have likely led him out of his post as President of the Upper House.

The motion now awaits only the King's consent or rejection.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Part I, Chapter 12

The Eternal Fight: Apocatastasia

More than 10 Christian, and a few Jewish denominations are described as being either nationally or regionally prevalent in Hungary. Then "Nihilism" is introduced as "non-faith" or "non-belief", that proclaims "for every man only his own 'self' ought to be an object of worship, while everything else: God, homeland, fellow man, family, lover is *nothing*.

As a result of the Nihilist revolution in Russia, Alekszandra Petrovna, commonly known as Shasa, rose to power. Russia is no longer called Russia, but rather "The Country of Nihil". It is no longer home to panslavism, and does not threaten Europe with turning them all into Cossacks, but rather with turning them all into "nothing". It threatens no more with conquest, nationalist oppression, but only with the dissolution of all that is sovereign, all that is faith/belief, and all that is great.

And even before its arrival, its shaddow is upon Europe in the form of Nihil as a religion. But even within Nihilism there are various denominations, and several are mentioned.

The chapter ends with a mention that the Hungarian member of parliament Bárány Pál (would be "Paul Lamb", were the name translated), this "Lamb of God", submitted a proposal to dissolve all religious orders in Hungary. Since all other European states have already done so, Hungary has become the last European place of refuge for a myriad monks, nuns, and Jesuits (the latter always are treated with special mention and special derision).

It is suggested that the acceptance of the proposal would create a great upheaval.

Part I, Chapter 11

The Eternal Fight: The downpour in a drop of water

It is explained that Dávid's earlier enquiry about Rozáli was turned away on account of Mazrur and the Sabina having pursued a legal course to force Rozáli's return from the Parabolana. The legal argument primarily rested on Dávid not having satisfied his signed promise to marry Rozáli.

Hermione Peleia does not intend to let Rozáli go, but since her religious order is not officially recognized by the state, she cannot grant sanctuary that has the strength of law.

It is also insinuated that attempts Hermione Peleia ordered to locate Dávid, so he could marry Rozáli and thereby render the threat of the lawsuit meaningless, have been sabotaged by a nun close to her on purpose by writing an incomplete address on the letter.

Part I, Chapter 10

The Eternal Fight: Ichor

Ichor is described as a material Tatrangi Dávid learns to extract from a region with semi-active volcanic lakes. This region, that the government has long been keen to sell (perceiving it worthless and useless) Dávid had bought.

He goes to visit his father, Tatrangi Mózes, and shows him a ring that his father first mistakes for an artificial diamond. However Dávid demonstrates that it is in fact a flexible glass. The father exclaims (to no objection from the son) that it is the 65th element, and is pleased to learn Dávid named it "ichor" after the white blood of Greek Gods.

He asks his father for Mr. Severus' address. As his father does not have it, he instead advises Dávid to search for him on Wall Street where he will be sure to find him as Mr. Severus owns a store (office?) there.

* * *

Before his departure, Dávid tries to inquire about Rozáli at the Parabolana, but is turned away roughly from the entrance of the Parabolana by a nun. So, though puzzled, he departs right away to America.

* * *

Upon reaching to New York, even despite the huge river of people within that site, it was easy for him to locate a man of Mr. Severus' fame. However the first few attempts at gaining an audience feel due to Dávid's not wishing to disturb him while he was eating.

Finally, he meets up with Mr. Severus at the theater in the banker's private box, and is received with recognition as the son of Tatrangi Mózes.

Dávid names the flexible glass ring (which he also showed his father) as being made of "hyalichor" ("ichor glass"), and explains that he himself owns the only known source of ichor.

He explains that the business uses of ichor are great many, ranging from better bullet-proof vests (does not break from a bullet shot from a 100 steps' distance), specialized glassware products (i.e.: woven glass), jewelry, to applications seeking to replace iron (such as in engines, et cetera), to applications seeking to replace other metals (like in machines, weapons, et cetera), to flying machines.

Dávid explains that ichor based products will conquer each market niche/segment that they compete in completely, on account of being both cheap and far more durable/reliable than materials used by the competition.

He requests Mr. Severus initially to fund the building of 500 ichor flying machines. When Mr. Severus asks why, Dávid explains that it is to allow him to protect his homeland when the next European war breaks out.

Mr. Severus is dismayed by this, as he finds national loyalty to be an old-fashioned and not altogether admirable concept. Though Dávid briefly defends the concept of love of one's homeland, he explains in great detail that as his operations are necessarily based in Hungary, it will be Hungary that most benefits from the successes of ichor products, while most other nations (on account of their businesses suffering) will be worse off for it. This will naturally put Hungary in a precarious situation of being endangered by Dávid's future success--but since Hungary is the only state from which Dávid can expect protection, it makes rational sense that he should seek to preserve it from destruction by foreign powers.

His notion is that in the event of war braking out, with only 500 ichor flying machines and ichor-armoured and ichor-weapon-equipped men he will be able to fly in behind enemy lines and destroy weapon, gun-powder, and food stores, thereby winning the war through destroying the enemy's ability to wage it.

Dávid also mentions that ichor bullet inflicted wounds cause swelling and considerable itching that renders wounded men unable to fight for at least 6 weeks, but thereafter they recover to full health. In fact ichor also has some property that renders the previously wounded immune to (some? all? certain categories of?) diseases.

After much calculation, Mr. Severus figured that getting the full plan (500 ichor flying machines, along with the myriad industrial initiatives) going would require an investment from him to the tune of 20 million dollars, and decides to give it to Dávid.

Part I, Chapter 9

The Eternal Fight: The madmen of flying machines

Note: In earlier chapters, any appearance of the term "airplane" should be read as "flying machine", as it is clear to me now that though the Hungarian word "flying machine" is modern Hungarian's de facto and de jure word for "airplane"--this was not so when Jokai's novel was written... and eventually he does, in fact, use a different word to refer to concrete flying machines as opposed to just conceptual ones.

This chapter is primarily about Tatrangi Mózes, the father of Tatrangi Dávid, and takes place in the insane asylum where he has been shut as a result of his last attempted mechanical flight.

In the asylum, there are another two madmen of flying machines, and all three have different ideas about the best approach to conquering the sky via flying machines.

The first madman's approach is the creation of far larger hot air balloons, with "side wings" to help steer the balloon that would help better navigate it into higher or lower air currents (i.e.: which would take it in the direction it sought to go, as opposed to in whatever direction prevailing currents below or above might be going).

The second madman's approach involves no balloon, but an engine driven propeller (or propellers?)... though I am not entirely clear whether his vision is more akin to a small propellered airplane or a helicopter.

The approach Tatrangi Mózes proposes is basically an ornithopter, albeit it is key that Tatrangi Dávid's father believes that the wings of such a flying machine will, at the right altitude (assuming they are made of the right material), start to beat on their own, powered by atmospheric electricity.

The other two madmen, amidst their ridiculing of Mózes, recall that after his initial confinement in the asylum, Mr. Severus "a negro Rothschild" visited him and told him that though he will invest up to 10 million dollars into developing flying machines, if Tatrangi Mózes figures out how to make them work right, he should not fly again until he does lest the devil snatch him from the sky.

After this conversation, also witnessed by Tatrangi Dávid patiently awaiting to see his father, Tatrangi Mózes urges his son to continue his work on developing a flying machine.

Tatrangi Dávid informs his father that he is travelling home the day after tomorrow, as he is no longer a soldier (having been able to give up his commission the day after his promotion by the King).

Part I, Chapter 8

The Eternal Fight: The "pellagra miserorum"

Rozáli, Tatrangi Dávid's fiancée, is received at the Parabolana; the religious order dedicated to caring for the victims of a disease called "pellagra miserorum", and which is headed by the deposed Russian Tsar's daughter Hermione Peleia.

In an initial interview, Hermione Peleia tries to dissuade her from staying by describing in detail the origins and the nature of the disease:

„A pellagra miserorum egyike azoknak a vészeknek, melyek mint helyhez kötött bajok régóta ismeretesek voltak a szakavatottak előtt; századokig, tán ezredekig ellappangtak a földabrosz egyes zugaiban, míg egyszer, rögtön előtörve saját hazájokból, elterjedtek hirtelen egész világrészeken; némelyik körülutazta az egész földet. Így került elő a himlő Afrikából, a kolera Kelet-Indiából, a sárgaláz Brazíliából, a gyermekölő noma Kínából, a fekete halál Palesztinából, amik milliónként pusztíták az emberiséget. Így vannak még most is helyhez kötve a spakelshed Norvégiában, a malária a Meremmek mocsárai közt, a kretinizmus Savoya hegyeiben, a beriberi Nepálban, a framboise a Provence-ban, a cirragra Lengyelországban. Ezek még nem indultak meg hódító hadjáratokra. Majd elindulnak. Ezután vannak uralkodó bajok, amik csak a szegény osztályokat keresik fel. Ilyen a rupia, az ergotismus, mely az anyarozsos búzaliszt mérgezéséből támad. Az ilyen endemicus bajok közé számíták a múlt században még a pellagrát. Csak Olaszországnak egy vidékén volt az otthon, csak azon néposztálynál, mely kukoricával táplálkozik, és különös, még eddig orvosilag meg nem állapítható okokból, inkább a nőket támadta meg, mint a férfiakat, inkább az ifjakat, mint a véneket. Az olasz orvosok „mal rosso”-nak nevezték.

Keletkezésének oka tudva volt. Egy mikroszkopikus gombafaj szokta azon a vidéken meglepni a tengerit, mely növénykórt otthon „verderame”-nek neveztek; egy család a szőlővenyige „oidium”-ával. Mióta a baj elterjedt, a tudományos világ előtt „zeidion toxicon” a neve. Megismerte azt később Magyarország, Szerbia, Románia is, de azért még mindenütt csak sporadice tűnt fel a baj. Egészen ment maradt tőle Németország, ahol a tengerit nem mívelik. Van azonban Németországnak egy más plágája: a „hesseni légy”, coccydomia destructor. – Ennek az eredete pedig ez: II. Fridrik hesseni uralkodó az amerikai szabadságharc alatt Angliának átengedte a katonáit, olyan szerződés mellett, hogy ahány azok közül Amerikában elpusztul, a fejedelem annyi ezer tallér kárpótlást kap érte. A fejedelem huszonegymillió tallér kárpótlást kapott.

Fájdalom, hogy nem többet. Nehány ezer hesseni harcos mégiscsak visszakerült Európába Amerikából, s nem hagyta ott a bőrét ezer tallérért. – Hanem ahelyett hozott magával egy sokkal többet érő ajándékot – az ágy szalmája között, azt az átkozott szipolyt, aminek hesseni légy a neve. Tíz év múlva a németországi mezei gazdák átka lett ez a rovar, mely petéit a búza és a rozs sásleveleibe rakja, s akkor azok elkezdenek pusztulni. A hesseni légy rajként repül, mint a sáska, fel nem tartja sem folyam, sem hegylánc. Ahol megtelepül, nyomában az éhhalál jár: ott a kenyértermő növény elkorcsosul. Hanem hát ez a hesseni ajándék megmaradt másfél századon át Németország tulajdonának. Ekkor átcsapott Magyarországba. És itt azt a természeti tüneményt idézte elő, hogy amíg a búzával együtt a tengerit is meglepte, a tengeriről átoltotta a búza és rozsnövényekbe a zeidion toxicont. És ennek az lett a következése, hogy a zeidion toxiconnal megmérgezett búza és rozsszemek, az őrlés alatt a liszt közé vegyülve, egyszerre elterjeszték az egész országban a pellagrát. A betegség, mely eddig endemicus volt, egyszerre epidemicussá vált. – Benne van a mindennapi kenyérben, amiért az emberek imádkoznak.

A gazdagok könnyen védik magukat ellene; szakácsaik górcsővel vizsgálják meg előbb a lisztet, mielőtt sütnének belőle: nincs-e közte zeidium, s a szegényt nem bocsátják magukhoz közel. És a pellagra az eddig uralkodott pestisek minden pokoli tulajdonát egyesíti magában. Ragályos az érintkezés után, mint a himlő, terjed a kedély fogékonysága és az égalj viszonyai szerint, mint a kolera, kínzó, mint a tífusz, undorító, mint a pestis. Csak az egyetlen jó tulajdona a régi öldöklő angyaloknak hiányzik nála, a gyorsan ölés. A pellagra nem öl meg; de hónapokig kínoz. Megjelenik először az arcon, a kezeken, mint egy rózsaszínű folt. Émelygés, láz követi. Akkor elmúlik. Egy év múlva biztosan újra előjön. A rózsák most már égnek, felhasadnak; az egész életműszervezet együtt ég velük; a fő elkábul, a gerincagy fáj, az izmokat görcsök veszik elő, a vér átszivárog a bőrön; az idegek elsenyvednek; eljön az őrjöngés, az öngyilkolási düh – és az ember mégsem hal meg: tovább él; kigyógyul. De minő életre gyógyul ki? Agya eltompul; dőre, esztelen marad: arca feldúlva sebhelyektől, ráncoktól, koravén lesz, haja mind kihull. – Ez a pellagra miserorum.”

The disease is described as one long established in a certain part of Italy among those who classes who regularly consumed corn, and primarily younger women, not often impacting either men or the old. It's cause is a microscopic fungus that thrived on corn in that region.

Its incidence outside of Italy was sporadic at best until it mutated to be carried by the eggs of the "Fly of Hessen" that plagued Germany, and later also Hungary, after being brought back from the United States by German soldiers returning from assignments to support the American Revolutionary War.

The upper classes are relatively safe, as their cooks inspect flower and other suspect goods with a microscope to ensure the fly's eggs are not to be found within them. The poor, however, have no such protection, and once infected become dangerous carriers of the disease themselves as it can be transmitted by touch.

It first causes pink discoloration of the hands and the face, only to go away after some fever and mild sickness. It is, however, certain to return (reactivate?) within a year when the discolorations split, the skin and the whole body feels as though it burns, the sufferer becomes dazed, the brainstem (or spine? spin-stem?) hurts, the muscles convulse, blood starts to escape through the skin, nerves shrivel (i.e.: weaken), and the sufferer becomes given to rage and suicidal desires, but does not die. They recover instead, but with a permanently dulled brain, the face covered with scars and wrinkles well ahead of their age, and all their hair falls out.

Rozáli is taken on a tour, and is shown even some of the worst suffering patients. Though the latter are aggressive and abusive, she shows no fear and ends up entertaining them with stories about the mischiefs of a monkey owned by a nobleman from her region.

Rozáli's stories manage to distract the patients from their suffering and this impresses Hermione Peleia sufficiently to permit Rozáli to stay despite her initial reservations.

She is also given special dispensation to keep her beautiful red dress instead of taking on "the colours of death" warn by other members of the Parabolana, as Hermione Peleia wants there to be at least one person that the patients like and do not despise (the way they despise their nurses whose cures often feel more painful than the disease).

It is suggested that the care provided at the Parabolana can mitigate the effects of the disease, but without any guarantee of success in any specific case.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Part I, Chapter 7

THE ETERNAL FIGHT: The Al-hambra at Vezérhalom

The story of how the Hungarian "Al-hambra" palace at Vezérhalom, originally built and owned by a Hungarian "financial baron", came to belong to the Russian Tsar Constantin's daughter. The man in question had had many magnificent buildings built all in different (inter)national styles (there is even a mention of a hippodrome built in Pekingese style).

After his death, the Al-hambra was left to his "majoresco" (Buttler?) who was eventually in a poor enough financial state to want to be rid of it. After several years of problems and poor management at the hands of the subsequent owner, eventually the building was sold to the recently dethroned Tsar Constantin. And after Tsar Constantin's death, the building became property of his daughter, Hermione Peleia.

It is mentioned that most of the decorative objects in the Al-hambra, as in many other newly built palacse, are "copies", since in the 20th century everything can be made by factories that thereuntil had to be produced through manual labour.

Oil pressings can create Rubens and Tintoretto copies that are faithful to the point of deception.

Lithopany can handle encaustica (wax-painting).

Benvenuto Cellini's ciselirization's can be reproduced with hair-strand accuracy through galvanoplasty.

Gobelins can be produced by the sewing-chair.

Ivory is no longer carved, but as per Rouvier's invention, poured into form after mixing the ground bone with schellak (?) and alcohol.

The once expensive corinthian ore is mimicked by "princmetall", gold by "chrysorin"; previously hammered metal objects are now poured into form. Numismatic (coins) rarities are multiplied by the thousands, using "alfenoid" and "bathmetall" instead of silver, marble and lapis azuli is well mimicked by Lippmann and Schrechenburger's invention of mixing ground limestone, marble-dust, flax-oil, and sulphuric acid.


Part I, Chapter 6

THE ETERNAL FIGHT: Oh, a peasant. That's different then!

As Tatrangi Dávid reaches the palace with the intention to turn himself in, he is met by four fellow soldiers sent to find and arrest him.

At the military tribunal, he refuses to give any testimony until he is asked whether he has any excuse ("mentsége"). He answer that he does, and hands the General presiding over the tribunal the letter he previously received from the king.

After reading the letter, the General states that Dávid has been promoted to the rank of "alhadnagy" (master sergeant? literally: "sub-lieutenant"?) by the King, and his "crime" was an act of restitution toward one who had offended a Lady's honour.

The charges are thereby summarily dismissed, and Dávid is congratulated by the General with the words, "Welcome back, brother-in-arms; you did well to give that peasant a few good kicks..."

And now being an officer, Tatrangi Dávid had the right to reason his commission at his leisure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Part I, Chapter 5


The Astrapé is a newspaper.

It is published four times per day, containing local, national, and foreign news as well as the more noteworthy speeches of (parliamentary?) gatherings, printed on an eighth-"rét" sheet. (Possibly a 5 meter x 5 meter sheet... presumably before being cut into folds/pages. I will have to do more research on determining the correct size/value of "rét", which is an archaic Hungarian unit of measurement I have no familiarity with.)

It is a newspaper written in stenographic symbols, without the use of typesetters or a printing press, using papyrography/paperography. After the editor types in the page, a steam-powered machine prints 200 copies per 4 minutes. The editor is able to control the feeding of paper into the copying/printing machine with his legs (as though using a foot-powered sewing machine) even while typing with his hands. Therefore he needs no staff, only newspaper deliverers/distributors who are also his source of news upon their regular returns for the next edition.

The price of the newspaper is one krajcár (in German kreutzer, but as with names, it makes sense to use the Hungarian)... the smallest coin in circulation. Thus does Astrapé give dangerous competition to traditionally typeset/printed/prepared newspapers who cannot possibly make a profit at the same price.

The only thing keeping the Astrapé in bay, for now, is that not everyone can read stenography yet. The numbers of those that do, however, increase every year. It is taught in all universities, and is increasingly indispensable in more and more professions. Some soldiers only know how to read stenography, as that is what the military teaches. And there is an increasing number of literary/leisure reading titles ("The complete works of X" type) being published.

Upon purchasing the 3pm Astrapé, Tatrangi Dávid finds an article about himself as one who unlawfully assaulted Mr. Mazrur and is being sought for arrest.

Reading this, he decides to delay his visit to his father, and instead goes to turn himself in to his military superiors.

Part I, Chapter 4

THE ETERNAL FIGHT: What is the Sabina?

The Sabina is an institution originally founded for the purpose of marital match-making, for assistance with the alleviation of obstacles to marriage (presumably things like received special religious dispensation?) and quick handling of divorces, and for the training of women in both domestic and general education matters to be acceptable/ideal eventual wives to their fiancés.

After initially having been founded in 1947, it first saw considerable success but by the third year was having considerable difficulties on account of lawsuits from and/or the need to buy the silence of dissatisfied former clients (quite possibly simply due to imperfect matches not in excess of what would be reasonable to expect).

Just as the company was suffering from great turmoil (due to go under?) it was acquired by a new consortium called "Mazrur and partners".

Mazrur is described as a very wealthy Tunisian-born polyglot who lived both in Georgia and Istambul, and moved to Hungary from Russia upon his take-over of the Sabina about whom little else is known.

His partners, eventually it turns out, are the Russian revolutionary leader turned President, Madame Shasa, and her state chancellor Mr. Kurasin--which makes the Sabina very dangerous to oppose indeed.

After the take-over by "Mazrur and partners", the Sabina begins to thrive again.


A minor, but necessary, detour:

On the European continent (England [the United Kingdom?] having refused to sign) there had been born an "epigamic agreement" as per which all European states legally recognize and respect the legally recognized marriage customs of all other European states (for marriages made under said state's jurisdiction and by its laws) with respect to property rights, recognition of children as legitimate, and all other things.

The legal marriage situation (between two nationals of the below listed states, as under the epigamic agreement other arrangements legal elsewhere would also have to be respected) are described as follows:

In France and Italy, only civil marriage ceremonies are legally recognized, religious ones are not. In Spain, only religious ceremonies are recognized, not civil ones. While in Germany civil ceremonies are permitted, but only for those who have formally withdrawn from/renounced all religious organizations to which they formerly belonged.

In Austria and Hungary civil ceremonies are only facultative. In Romania even the "matrimonium conscientiae" (marriage of conscience) is legally recognized, which leaves out even government authorities from the equation.

Furthermore on account of "European Turkey" (not clear whether the suggestion is that Turkey is considered a European country, or the European part of Turkey is now a separate state, or due to Turkey having holdings in Europe was made signatory despite not being considered wholly European, et cetera) bigamy, trigamy, and even quadrigamy also have to be recognized (obviously within the constrains of the epigamic agreement... i.e.: only when the marriage is made in a state that legally recognizes such institutions for its own citizens). This caused some states (it is not clear how or why, but presumably due to recognition by one or more other states) to also have to recognize American Mormonism and European Nazarenism as legitimate religious groups.

And Russia's "Roman marriage" legally recognizes "polygamia successiva", the right to marry as many wives as one can support, but in succession rather than all at the same time. (It is not entirely clear whether this is actually referring to polygamy... which one would think would have already been covered by the Turkish example, or the right to remarry as many times as one wishes [perhaps while being obliged to continue to financially support all formerly divorced wives?].)


The Sabina's recovery was due in no small part to the company's reorienting itself to marrying young Székely Hungarian girls of poor families (who are given a bride-price[?] payment that the eventual fiancé, in addition to other fees, must pay the Sabina prior to the marriage) away to husbands in every part of Russia through the "Roman marriage" (which permits "successive polygamy", a term that is never fully explained).

The media in Hungary quickly came to perceive this as thinly disguised slave-trade, but since the girls are sent to the Sabina by their parents voluntarily, and enter into their eventual marriage likewise, there can be no legal ground for opposing the company's activity.

The king himself perceives the matter in such terms, but knows he can do little on account of Madame Shasa being one of the partners in the Sabina's owner company "Mazrur and partners".

The Sabina has a large "palace" in Budapest, where the young ladies under their care live and study until they are married. It is suggested that their heads are filled with questionably accurate promises about how grand and lavish their married lives will be... thereby rendering them eager to see their intended role in all of this through to the end.

Tatrangi Dávid seeks and receives an audience with Mazrur himself in order to request the release of his fiancée into his care. Mazrur is described as a human giant, a Samson in both appearance and strength. Mazrur regularly receives similar entreaties, and is used to most frequently denying them.

He proceeds to entertain Dávid's request by bringing out Szentivánfai Rozáli, and trying to demonstrate that she is well cared for and well on her way to an enviable marriage abroad. While saying nothing at first, when Mazrur finally asks Rozáli whether she wants to leave the Sabina to go with Dávid, she enthusiastically exclaims that indeed she does.

Mazrur, still confident, demands that Dávid sign a contract promising to marry the girl. He readily complies. Then Mazrur demands compensation for Rozáli's education, and the payment given to her parents... after a myriad (perhaps questionable) charges the price is in the vicinity of 500 Árpád-gold coins, at which point Dávid interrupts and offers the full 600 in hopes of expediting matters.

Finally, Mazrur seeing that none of his legal means of holding onto the girl seem to be working, he laughs and says that Dávid will have to take her from him by force, and grabs a hold of her.

Dávid instead of trying to force Mazrur's hands open, grabs a hold of his collar and yanks it upwards then twists it, causing Mazrur to fall down onto the ground (presumably being choked?) and offering no more immediate resistance.

Then, leaving the gold coins, he leaves with Rozáli and drops her off at the "Parabolana" the religious order that tends to those suffering from "pellagra". And, after doing so, decides to go visit his father at the insane asylum.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Part I, Chapter 3

THE ETERNAL FIGHT: How much is the king worth?

The king goes on a Gnu hunt--African Gnus have been naturalized in Hungary by this time--but actually ends up alone at a Hunter's Cottage painting a landscape painting. It is his secret desire to learn whether he is any good at this pastime of his, though he has not yet managed to conceive of a way that he could solicit honest opinions on his work.

One of the gnus chased by the mixed-breed (part Australian dingo) hunting dogs ends up jumping into the garden where the king is painting, and for some time both beasts stand still, giving the king ample time to paint the noble looking gnu into the painting that up until then seemed beautiful but somehow empty. When the hunting dog finally engages, the gnu ends up triumphing by goring it to death with its horns.

Soon after (but enough time after to hide the painting) the rest of the hunting party arrives, and it is widely seen to be of shame to the King that he had let the game escape. This eventually manifests in the media as well.

As a result of Tatrangi Dávid, the book's protagonist, holding up the king at his own palace gate until the password is given, the two first meet. In a subsequent interview, the King secretly commissions Dávid to sell his recently painted landscape with the gnu to an art dealer without revealing its source. In this way, the king wishes to receive a fair and impartial appraisal of his own merits as a human being, without the fawning sure to be lavished upon him due to his royal status.

The king's painting is successfully sold by Dávid, leaving its source unknown, and despite the artist's anonymity (and thus presumably due to genuine merit) it receives national and (regionaly) international acclaim.

The king, wishing to reward Dávid, inquires what he can offer him. He wishes discharge from the army, that the king is not willing to grant (feeling that it would create discontent if he chose to exercise that particular royal prerogative of his)... but presses Dávid to explain his situation.

Dávid explains that he should rightly be exempt from military service, because he is required to work his father's farm as his father himself cannot on account of being locked up in a mental institution. However the military claims that the father is not insane and should be released (and thus there is no reason for Dávid to be exempt).

The king suggests that if Dávid were to make a formal declaration that his father is insane, that would be force the military to grant him his exemption. However Dávid states that since his father is not insane, he cannot make such a declaration.

He then proceeds to explain that his father, though quite sane, is obsessed with the idea of flight and ended up in the insane asylum after his last attempt almost killed him (when his flying machine crash-landed [the Hungarian word for "airplane" is literally "flying-machine", make me wonder whether the term was adopted or coined by Jókai--particularly since the first successful powered flight in history only happened in 1874, a year or two after this book's publication, and even in 1892 Lord Kelvin said "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."])

After this story, it eventually comes to light that Dávid only has 6 weeks of mandatory service left. The king is astonished why he would therefore wish to waste the king's desire to show him gratitude on such a trifling matter.

Dávid explains that he wishes to marry his fiancée, but she is at the Sabina (more on this later). The king, after the mention of the Sabina, shows himself sympathetic--and though he does not grant Dávid his release, he gives Dávid the 600 Árpád-gold coins that were paid for his painting to take care of his situation with, and also gives him a sealed letter that Dávid is to use only if he finds himself in trouble for reasons beyond his control.

Midőn a király vadászatra indult, a fővadászmester egy Engendre-féle lőfegyvert szokott őfelségének prezentálni. Ez a fegyver a fővadászmester által töltetett meg s két csőből áll; az egyik csőben van húsz töltény, miket egy gépmű egyenkint a másik cső lőkamarájába áttaszít, két lövés között csak két másodpercnyi időköz szükséges. A töltények durranyagát az úgynevezett „német fehérpor” képezi, mely vérlúgsavból, égenyzöldegből és nádcukorból készül; nagyobb veterővel bír, mint a fekete lőpor, s nehezebben lobban fel; minthogy azonban a vasat erősen rozsdásítja, a hozzávaló fegyver csövének arannyal kell burkolva lenni.

The king hunts with a two barreled gun, one barrel of which contains 20 bullets mechanically loaded into the other barrel (from which the bullets are shot). Shots can be fired with a rapidity of 1 every 2 seconds. The bullets are propelled not by black gunpowder but by "german white-powder".

... őfensége Henrik Zsigmond főherceg magyarázá a szakértő fenségeknek és főméltóságoknak a „dingó-kopók” előnyeit.

Ezek igen nevezetes állatok. Az angol rókakopók s az ausztráliai vad dingók keresztezéséből származott korcsok.

Australian dingo/English foxhound hybrid dogs are used for hunting.

... mióta a budai erődítések elkészültek, az enceinte-be eső nagy terjedelmű erdőségeket a kormány az országos acclimatáló társulatnak adta által. Ez a többi között meghonosította az afrikai gnút.

The African Gnu has been naturalized to the forests surrounding Buda.

Amint a kertre nyíló ajtón ismét vissza akart térni a várpalotába, az ott őrt álló katona útját állta.

„Mi a jelszó?”

A király végignézte az őrt. Magas nyúlánk, ideges ifjú volt: a közkatonák azon időbeli egyenruhája, kávébarna frakk, elöl magyaros zsinórzattal (dualisztikus uniformis), feszesen állt erőteljes termetén; homlokát takarta a fekete sisak sárgaréz tarajjal s fehér-veres-zöld kétfejű sassal az ernyője fölött. Az őr, szuronyát védmozdulatra fogva, állt az ajtó küszöbén. – Nem ismer ön engem? – kérdezé a király.

– A jelszót! – ismétlé az őr változatlan arccal.

A király aztán megmondta a jelszót.

Arra az őr tisztelgett, s utat nyitott a király előtt.

The king meets the book's protagonist while said protagonist is performing as a palace guard at the gate. He categorically refuses to let the King enter without giving the password, despite recognizing him.

– Mi önnek a neve? – kérdezé a király.

– Tatrangi Dávid.

– Zsidó?

– Nem. Székelyföldi magyar.

– Azért lehet zsidó. Vannak a Székelyföldön magyarok, kik a szombatot tartják meg, kik a keresztelést nem az atya, fiú, szentlélek, hanem az Ábrahám, Izsák és Jákob Istenének nevében végezik, böjtöt és munkaszünetet tartanak zsidó szokás szerint; az újévet a zsidó újév napjától számítják, és neveiket az ószövetségből veszik csupán, s ezért minden felekezettől üldözve vannak. Ön nem a „szombatosok” közül való?

Az ifjú még halványabb lett.

Halk, mély, csaknem zúgó hangja volt: zengő suttogás.

– Ha mondanám, hogy az vagyok, nem volnék az: mert ők titkot nem mondanak ki.

– De én önnek legfőbb bírája vagyok – szólt a király szigorúan –, ki előtt senkinek titokkal nem szabad bírni.

– Igaz – szólt az ifjú –, de egyúttal legfőbb egyházfőm, kinek a gyónás titkát nem szabad elárulni. Gyóntam. Igaz.

– A szombatosoknak két kiváló erényük van – monda a király. – Az egyik az igazmondás, a másik a titoktartás. Midőn utamat állta ön, tudta, hogy mit tesz?

– Tudtam: amit a törvény parancsol.

– S ha én önt erőszakkal megtámadtam volna, meglőtt volna ön?

– Meg.

– És ha önnek saját édesapja jött volna eléje, hogy ajtómon bejöjjön, meglőtte volna azt?

Az ifjú nagyot sóhajtott:

– Meg.

– Pedig a szombatosoknak tiltja a hit az emberölést.

– De az ország törvénye parancsol még a hitnek is.

The palace guard, Tatrangi Dávid,--again, the Hungarian form of the name should be preserved in translations, instead of opting for "David [of] Tatrang"--is summoned by the king.

Ethnically, he is a Székely Hungarian. Religiously, he reluctantly confirms that he is a "Szombatos" (Sabbathist). If the king's understanding of Sabbathists is correct, they seem like Christian converts to Judaism who either deemphasize (or, perhaps, even deny?) Jesus and seek to return to Judaic fundamentals. (Fast and rest on the appropriate Jewish days, give names only from the Old Testament, baptise in the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, et cetera.) It is stated by the king that Sabbathists are persecuted by all other denominations for their practices. (Though it is implied not official state authorities.)

Tatrangi Dávid is questioned by the king, and shows himself to be deeply duty-bound despite his Sabbathist objection against killing and thus his present profession as a soldier (as a result of the routine limited time draft into basic training/military service that all healthy young men are subject to).

- ... A hadtudomány oly fokra fejlődött, hogy a legelső harcban, mely kitör, az emberiség egyik felének ki kell irtani a másikat. A huszadik század utolsó felét járjuk, s az a hit, hogy a kétezered év betöltésével el kell jönni az időnek, mely az örök „Isten békéjét”, az örök „treuga Dei”-t elhozza, az egész világot kezdi áthatni.

– Tehát ön is hisz a millenniumban? Lehetőnek tartja a Chiliasmust? A kétezredik év Isten békéjét?

– Ha emberek akarják, s Isten segít, lehető.

The martial arts have developed to such an extent that in the next war that breaks out, one half of humanity will have to exterminate the other half.

There is a wide-spread belief that God's peace will come at the millenium. Tatrangi Dávid shares this belief, while the king does not do so (or at least not openly).

Part I, Chapter 2

THE ETERNAL FIGHT: What is forbidden to the king

The chapter starts by the King composing a lover letter to his beloved, whom he acknowledges in the letter he can never openly declare to love. Soon thereafter, an apparent fire at the Parliament draws the King from his room in so great a hurry as to leave his letter on his table along with his beloved's portrait.

Thereafter, the three of the King's high-ranking servants have a conversation about a Hungarian language magazine, "La Menteur" that they declare to be most dangerous because in addition to being mostly filled with lies, now and then it speaks the truth, and nobody can reliable discern which story if which. On the surface, this seems to be little more than satirical commentary on the press (or perhaps on "free press")...

Eventually, the servants end up entering the King's room and finding his letter and the portrait, subsequently discussing among themselves that the portrait is of the exiled Russian Tsar Constantin's daughter Princess Hermione Peleia, whom he may not marry lest he inspire Russia's populist Madame Shasa to wage war upon Austria-Hungary.

Upon his return, the King notices that someone had been indiscrete, from the golden powder upon his letter having been disturbed, but does not pursue the matter despite being quite angry.

„Constantin cár, Hermione Peleia hercegasszony atyja, mikor trónra lépett, az előde által addig követett politikát gyökeresen megváltoztatta. Felmondta a német barátságot, udvarából kiküszöbölte a német államférfiakat, s elkezdett orosz nemzeti politikát követni, s egyúttal alkotmányos kormányhoz akarta szoktatni a népét. Ezáltal három dolgot ért el; az egyik az volt, hogy a német diplomáciát egészen elidegenítette magától, a másik az, hogy az orosz főnemességet halálos ellenségévé tette, a harmadik meg, hogy az orosz nép, amint egy kis alkotmányos levegőhöz jutott: elkezdett jakobinus lenni. (Ilyen veszedelmes dolog az az alkotmány!) Egyszer aztán az orosz főnemesek összeesküdtek a cár nagybátyjával, Mihállyal; Constantint letették, családostól számkivetették, s Mihály cár alatt helyreállították a régi nemesi uralmat s a jobbágyságot. Erre aztán roppant lázadás tört ki. A felkelők az általuk először használt léggömbök segélyével porrá zúzták a Kremlt, a bennszorult nemesi hadakkal együtt; hová lett Mihály cár, azt ma sem tudja senki. Szentpétervárott most gonoszabbul megy a dolog, mint Párizsban 1792-ben. A rémuralom kormányát egy nő ragadta magához, kinek neve Alekszandra, de akit népszerűen csak Saszának neveznek, s ez egy valóságos női Robespierre, egy démon, egy szörnyeteg, kinek véres szeszélyei rettegésben tartják Európát, aki hadat készít minden ellen, ami még fennáll; trón, oltár, nászágy, s ha rémuralmával rendet lesz képes odahaza csinálni, rövid időn, mint az Apokalipszis hétszarvú sárkánya fog lerohanni Európa többi országaira. A letett cár, Constantin pedig ide menekült Magyarországra, s itt oltalmat talált. Felséges urunk nem tagadhatá azt meg tőle, ki halálos betegen jött ide; még kevésbé leányától. Most a vendégszeretet által először is kellemetlenül lett érintve a német udvar, mellyel Constantin ellenséges viszonyokat tartott fenn; másodszor ránk idézte veszedelmes figyelmét a rettenetes szörnyetegnek asszonyi alakban ott a Néva mellett. Ez a szoknyás Dzsingisz kán nem átallotta nyíltan kihíresztelni, hogy amelyik európai uralkodó vagy annak bármelyik ivadéka nőül meri venni a cár leányát, azt ő rögtön haddal támadja meg, s nem nyugszik, míg a koronás férj és feleség mint fogoly kezei közt nem lesz. Ez a mi siralmas állapotunk. – És íme, most őfelsége saját koronás uralkodónk ábrándozik a veszedelmes szép ábrázatról. Jó szerencse, hogy Hermione Peleia hercegasszony, ismerve a fölöttünk lebegő veszélyt, rendületlenül áll azon elhatározása mellett, hogy zárdába menjen, s miután ő anyja után római katolika, egy katolikus kolostort készül alapítani.”
"When Tsar Constantin, the father of Princess Hermione Peleia, rose to the throne, he pursued radically different politics from his predecessor. He gave up the German friendship, rid his court of German statesmen, and began to pursue Russian national politics instead, also wishing to make his people accustomed to constitutional governing. By this, he achieved three things; one was that he turned German diplomacy altogether away from himself, the other one was that he turned the highest Russian nobles into his mortal enemies; and the third was that as soon as the Russian thede got some constitutional air it turned Jacobine. (The constitution is this dangerous a thing!) Then eventually the highest Russian nobles conspired with the Tsar's uncle, Michail; and lowered Constantin, exiled him along with his family, and under Michail restored the old rule of the nobility and serfdom. This produced a great uprising. Those that revolted had for the first time used balloons, and thus they utterly destroyed the Kerml with all the nobility, its forces; nobody knows what had happened to Tsar Michail. Today things are in a more evil state at St. Petersburg than they were in Paris in 1792. A woman rose to power in this rule of terror, whose name is Alexandra, but who is popularly just called Shasa. She is a female Robespierre, a demon, a monster, whose bloody fancies keep Europe in terror, who prepares for war against all that still stands; throne, altar, marital bed, and if her rule of terror manages to restore order at home, soon she will charge at the rest of Europe's countries like the Apocalyptic seven-horned dragon. The lower Tsar, Constantin, chose to flee to Hungary, and found protection here. Our Majesty could not deny that from him, who came here mortally ill; much less from his daughter. Now due to this hospitality, the German court was displeased, as Constantin had formerly treated it as an enemy; secondly, it drew toward us the dangerous attention of the dangerous beast that assumed the shape of a woman beside the Neva. This skirt-wearing Djingis Khan did not waste time to spread the news that she would attack with great force any country whose crowned head or prince would presume to marry the Tsar's daughter, and would not rest until both the crowned husband and the wife are prisoners in her hands. This is our pitiful state. And behold, now His Majesty, our own crowned head, daydreams of this dangerous beauty. It is fortunate that Princess Hermione Peleia, knowing the danger floating over us, has firmly decided that she will enter a convent, and as her mother is a Roman Catholic, she plans to found a Catholic convent of her own."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part I, Chapter 1

THE ETERNAL FIGHT: A King, who earns his bread

This chapter primarily deals with the King's activities on his name day, and descriptions as well as excerpted events meant to illustrate his quotidian life. The below translated excerpts, as elsewhere, do not give a complete account of the chapter but instead highlight portions that I perceive to be significant.

Százegy ágyúlövés a gellérthegyi fellegvárból jelenté Habsburgi Árpád legmagasabb névnapjának megvirradtát.
Hundred-and-one canon shots from the Gellért mountain citadel signal the sunrise of Habsburgi Árpád's most high name day.
"Habsburgi" is the Hungarian adjectival form of "Habsburg", functionally equivalent to the German "von Habsburg". While even in Jókai's time the King's name would have had localized forms in all his subjects' languages, his consistently being referred to by this name (paired with his portrayal as an unabashed hungarophile) suggests that the Hungarian form of his name is preferred by the King above the Austrian (and all other) versions. Be aware that Hungarian name order places the family name first, and given names last.

Habsburgi Árpád Magyarországnak ez idő szerint dicsőségesen uralkodó királya, nemkülönben a Magyarországgal szövetséges országoknak császárja, királya, nagyfejedelme, őrgrófja és a többi.
Habsburgi Árpád is at this time Hungary's gloriously ruling King, additional also being Kaiser, King, Chief Prince, Archduke, et cetera of the countries in union with Hungary.
Austria appears to be explicitly omitted and grouped in with all other countries in union with Hungary--further indication of the King's partiality toward Hungary. It is interesting, though perhaps politically not otherwise feasible, that Jókai, writing mere decades after Hungary's second uprising against the Habsburgs, imagines a future Hungary still under a Habsburg but with the sort of favoured status Austria previously enjoyed. Albeit it may simply be a case of Jókai being among those who saw the Ausgleich as being a positive step in the right direction.

Huszonhét év előtt – tehát 1925-ben – a római szent Kúria által „honalapító” Árpád a szentek közé emelteték.
Twenty-seven years ago--therefore in 1925--the Roman Holy Curia raised "the homeland-founder" Árpád to sainthood.
While I am not certain whether "Roman Holy Curia" is the correct translation, it is unambiguous in the original that the Catholic Church is meant.

It should be pointed out that Habsburgi Árpád is the King of Hungary, Kaiser of Austria, et cetera... in other words, the Ruler of Austria-Hungary and all its holdings in the novel's time frame, circa 1952. Whereas Árpád (the first, or "the homeland-founder") is the "Fejedelem" (Grand Patriarch) of the Hungarian tribes moving in to Europe and conquering much of historical Hungary, circa the 890's.

Oka volt a kanonizációnak azon körülmény, miszerint a legmagasabb királyi anya újszülött fiát egyenesen e névre óhajtá kereszteltetni, leghívebb népe iránti rokonszenvének tanújeléül.
One reason for the canonization was the circumstance, according to which the most high Queen mother desired specifically to name her newborn son with this name, as a sign of her affections for her most loyal thede.
I use the (I believe Middle English) word "thede" to mean "people" as an abstract grouping of people who are ethnoculturally linked. Basically equivalent to the Greek "demos". I do this in order to avoid an ambiguity between "people" as in "multiple individuals" and "people" as in "a mass of individuals treated as a collective singular", since such an ambiguity does not exist in the Hungarian. It is also interesting that Hungarians are characterized as "most loyal", again, as at the time of the novel's writing the second Hungarian uprising is still fairly recent history.

De mindenekfölött erős védok volt Árpád kanonizáltatására az a nevezetes történelmi adat, mely az első magyar fejedelem fehéregyházai sírjának fölfedeztetése alkalmával jött napfényre.


De legnevezetesebb volt a cölöpkriptában talált aranylánc, mely éppen a sisakos koponyát köríté, s melyhez egy hármas arany kereszt volt foglalva (a minőt manapság is használnak Dél-Oroszországban a raszkolnik szektáriusok). Ezzel be lett bizonyítva, hogy Árpád fejedelem már a honfoglaláskor, ha konfirmálva nem volt is, de formaszerint keresztyénnek állítható: ami annak az okát is kideríti, hogy miért viselt a nyelvrokon kazár fejedelem Mén Marót ellen oly hosszan tartó hadjáratot, aki ugyanis soknejű volt, tehát Mahomed-hitű.

But above all else a strong defense/reason for Árpád's canonization was the notable historical detail that came to light upon the discovery of Hungary's first Grand Patriarch's grave at Fehéregyháza.


But most remarkable was the golden chain (necklace) found within the wooden crypt, surrounding the hatted skull('s neck), and to which a triple cross was attached (such as the raskolniki sectarians still wear in Southern Russia). With this it was proved that by the time of the Conquest Grand Patriarch Árpád was, even if unconfirmed, basically a Christian: which also explains why he long waged war upon the Khazar Grand Patriarch Menumorut, who was a linguistic kin, who of course was a polygamist and therefore of Mohamed's faith.
Be aware that many cities mentioned in the book that may today be outside of Hungary are very likely considered/treated by the novel to be Hungarian cities, albeit doubtless many with significant non-Hungarian minorities or even local or regional non-Hungarian majorities.

The triple cross is doubtless the Eastern Orthodox cross with the crooked crossbar toward the bottom.

In contrast with the accepted practice, I translate "Fejedelem" (whose most direct [albeit not literal] translation would be something like "Great Head [of the Nation]") neither as "Chieftain" nor as "Grand Prince", since the title sound as (if not more) majestic in Hungarian as the Hungarian words for "King" (Király) or "Emperor" (Császár). Also, the authority of the Fejedelem was not meaningfully lesser than that of the King, despite definitely being both different and different in scope in some ways. I view the translations "Chieftain" and "Grand Prince" as historically rooted (and doubtless altogether subconscious) attempts to deemphasize the prestige/significance/legitimacy of non-Christian/non-European rulers. In light of all this, I find "Grand Patriarch" to be the most satisfactory translation and will consistently use it instead of the aforementioned alternatives.

Kánoni indoka volt e kanonizációnak az, hogy Árpád, ki egy egész népet kihozott a pogányságnak világrészéből, Ázsiából, s azt a keresztyénség keblébe átvezérelte, méltán sorozható a „hittérítők” legnagyobbjai közé,
The canonical justification for the canonization was that Árpád, having lead an entire thede out of the pagan part of the world that is Asia right into the bosom of christendom, can rightly be considered among the greatest "evangelists",
Méltó oka volt a kanonizációnak pedig az, hogy a szomorú korszakban oly balcsillagzatok jártak Európa fölött, melyeknek befolyása alatt a még mindig rómainak nevezett, de Rómát elhagyni kényszerült egyházi fejedelmi kúria koronás fejével együtt legbiztosabb menedékét találta a „négyfolyamú” országban ... a pápa Pozsony városát választá lakhelyéül,
A worthy reason for the canonization was that, influenced by the unfortunate stars of a sad era in Europe, the Church Curia still calling itself Roman was forced to leave Rome and with its crowned head found safest refuge in the "four rivered" country ... the Pope chose the city of Pozsony as his place of residence,
Pozsony despite it being Slovakia's capital as Bratislava in our present day, should be imagined as a Hungarian/Austro-Hungarian city, having been home to Hungary's parliament just a few decades before the writing of this novel.

Tehát 1952. július 15-én százegy ágyúlövés hirdeté Szent Árpád napjának megvirradtát.
So on July 15th of 1952, hundred-and-one canon shots announce the beginning of Saint Árpád's day.
Thus Jókai's book begins about 80 or so years in the future (counting from its 1872 publication).

kétszáznegyven léggömb emelkedik ki ... mik ezer mérte (mètre) hosszaságú köteleken tartva s egymáshoz fűzve, az új stratégia vívmányát mutatják fel; amikből az ostromló sereg fejére trinitrin, durranilin, dinamit, nitromannit és pyroxilin lövegeket lehet hajigálni, anélkül, hogy az röppentyűivel a mennyei tűzaknákat elérhetné; legfőbb rendeltetésük levén pedig az ostromló léggömbök hasonértékű ellensúlyozása.
two-hundred-and-forty hot-air balloons rise up ... which are both tied to the ground and to each other by thousand meter long ropes, showcasing the new advances in strategy; from them "trinitrin" (Nitroglycerin?), "durranilin" (?), dynamite, "nitromannit" (Mannitol hexanitrate?) and "pyroxilin" (pyroxile?) shells can be dumped onto the heads of the besieging troops, without their bullets (?) in-turn being able to reach these heavenly fire-mines; though their primary purpose being the countering of likewise besieging hot-air balloons.
This is extrapolation from the existing use of non-steerable balloons used in warfare by the time of the writing of this book.

S mind a kétszáznegyven hadi léggömb körös-körül fel van lobogózva őfelsége minden országainak színeit képviselő zászlókkal, ... s egy villanyütésre legöngyölődik ... a Duna fölött huszonhárom zászló, őfelsége valamennyi országainak címereivel.
And all the two-hundred-and-forty martial hot-air balloons are surrounded by flags representing all of His Majesty's country's colours, ... and from an electric signal (?) roll down ... over the Danube twenty-three flags, with all of His Majesty's countries' coats of arms.
More emphasis on cultural pluralism.

Az az ing egy páncéling.

Húsz rét tafota erősen összevissza varrva selyemmel képezi ezt a páncélt. Feltalálója, ki ezt felajánlá, saját testén állta ki a próbát, puskagolyóval húsz lépésről, revolverrel közvetlen közelből engedve magára lövöldöztetni, a páncélt nem bírta a golyó átszakítani. E páncél neve „gambisson”.
That shirt is an armour-shirt.

Twenty rét (altogether 4200 sq. m - 17460 sq. m) tafota (?) strongly sewed back and forth with silk forms this armour. Its inventor, who had offered it up, tested it upon his own body, allowing himself to be shot at with a gun from twenty steps' distance, and with a revolver from point-blank range. The bullet could in neither case rip through the armour. This armour is called "gambisson".
Unfortunately I am uncertain of the meaning of the word "tafota", though it might mean something like "sheet" or "contiguous length of fabric". The point seems to be that a lot of fabric is layered... which, while may sound rather like a kevlar bullet-proof vest, also has earlier analogues.

– Felség, azt fel kell venni. Az olasz király őfelségére kétszer lőttek rá, a francia köztársaság elnökére háromszor, az angol király őfelségére négyszer, a spanyol királyra csak egyszer, de nyolc fegyverből, a szerb királyt el is találták, az orosz cárt nem is említve, .. a Mahmud szultán őfelsége ellen utóbbi időkben merényeltetett.
- Your Majesty, you must wear it. The Italian King was shot at twice, the French Republic's President thrice, the English King four times, the Spanish King just once but from eight different weapons, and the Serb King was actually hit too, not to mention the Russian Czar, ... recently did Sultan Mahmud experience an attempt on his life.
A list that gives an idea about the sort of international political circumstances envisioned by Jókai at the time of the beginning of his novel.

pápa elhagyta Rómát, később Avignont is; s egy ideig Máltában időzve, végre Pozsonyba menekült, s erős ellentétben volt a világi kormányokkal. Azonkívül Magyarországra menekültek az európai államoknak változás következtében eltávozott fejedelmei, volt itt nápolyi és spanyol Bourbon-, Welf-, Bonaparte- és Orléans-, Romanov-, Chambord-, Coburg- és Karagyorgyevics-dinasztia: s azoknak a monarchia mind menedékjoggal és protekcióval tartozott, úgyhogy egy időben kétféle teljes diplomatiai corps működött az udvarnál, egyik a legitim, de elűzött praetendenseké, másik az illegitim, de tettleges hatalomé. ... mindenkinek a saját nyelvén kellett válaszolnia, azon időben a francia nyelv diplomáciai általánossága a nemzetiségi elv érvényre jutása által meg levén szüntetve: tehát spanyolul, angolul, franciául, németül, románul, olaszul, szerbül, görögül és törökül (az orosz nincs közötte, hogy miért nincs, azt majd megtudjuk később)
the Pope left Rome, then later Avignon too; and spent some time in Malta, finally fleeing to Pozsony, being in strong opposition to the worldly governments. Furthermore to Hungary did flee the former leaders of European countries where changes had manage to unseat them. There were Napolitans and Spanish Bourbon, Welf, Bonaparte and Orléans, Romanov, Chambord, Coburg and Karadyordyevich dynasties: and to all of them the Monarchy owed refuge and protection, so that at any given time, there were two full diplomatic corps at the court, one belonging to the legitimate but exiled pretenders, the others to the illegitimate but de facto powers. ... everybody had to be answered in their own language, by that time the general use of French as the language of diplomacy having been ceased under the aegis of nationalism: therefore the answers had to come in Spanish, English, French, German, Romanian, Italian, Serbian, Greek, and Turkish (Russian not being on the list for reasons that will become clear later)
More insight into the political state of Europe.

Végre a légen keresztül röpült fel őfelsége a királyi vár erkélyeig, egy óriási léggömb csónakjában, a léggömb tetején ülő aeronautának hűségére volt bízva az alatta lebegők élete: egy meggyújtott gyufa elég az egész léggömböt egyszerre fellobbantani, s az aeronauták mind internacionalisták.
Finally His Majesty flew through the air all the way to the Royal Castle's terrace, in his gigantic hot-air balloon boat, trusting the lives of those floating thus to the aeronaut sitting atop the hot-air balloon: for a single lit match could explode the entire hot-air balloon in an instant, and all the aeronauts are internationalists.
I chose this excerpt primarily for the vague political implication about aeronauts therein.

Átellenben a királlyal ül az észak-amerikai államok követe, s a menü hátlapjára jegyezget valamit.
Across from the King sits the ambassador of the north-american states, and he is scribling something onto the back of his menu.
The phrase "north-american states" is very close to the colloquial Hungarian name for the United States of America (i.e.: "Amerikai államok" which would translate to "American States"). It is not clear at this point in the book whether the suggestion is that the United States and Canada (and perhaps Mexico?) merged into a single Union, or whether despite being separate countries they opt to present joint diplomatic representation abroad.

Őfelsége nemcsak a misén jelenik meg a Szent Árpád-székesegyházban, hanem az egész délelőttöt arra fordítja, hogy a protestánsok, óhitűek és héber vallásúak templomaiban is fölkeresse a szent szertartásokat, nehogy valamelyik hitfelekezet háttérbe téve érezze magát, s emiatt zúgolódjék.
His Majesty does not only show up at the mass held at Saint Árpád church, but spends the entire morning seeking out the holy rituals in the temples of the Protestants, Old-Faithers and those of the Hebrew religion, lest one of the faith-groups feel ignored and become discontent.
More cultural pluralism. I am not certain what "Old-Faithers" refers to... but it is conceivable that the idea is that this is a faith-group that (believes itself to have) revived the pre-Christian Hungarian pagan religion... or perhaps started a uniquely Hungarian flavour of Christianity supposedly based on pre-European-contact Christianity of the Hungarians. (Such notions were entertained and even popular at one time, but by now and have long been discredited.)

A simpler explanation might be "Old-Faithers" referring to Orthodox Christians... but this is the first time I have encountered the term, so I cannot meaningfully connect it to either the former or the latter theory conclusively.

Ő tudja, hogy Oroszországban mi történik. Az orosz respublika borzasztóan fegyverkezik. A roppant néptömegek, mik a nemesség ellen fellázadtak, foglalkozást keresnek, s valami nagy organizáló talentum alakítja át a hadsereget. Észak-amerikai kéz dolgozik benne. A hadi léggömböket, miket eddig csak várostromokhoz használtak megdöbbentő sikerrel, most újabban csatatéri működésre alkalmazták, melyben a lovasság is szerepet játszik.
He knows what is happening in Russia. The Russian Republic is arming itself at an alarming rate. The great masses of people, that had rebelled against the nobility, now seek professions, and some great organizing talent is reshaping the army. North-America has a hand in this. The martial hot-air balloons, that until then had only been used for castle sieges, and with great success too, they now have started to employ for use on the battle-field, in a way incorporating the cavalry too.
There will be more about Russia in chapter 2.


{The below is the full translation of Jókai's "Foreword" to "The Novel of Next Century".}

This work makes no demand to be considered one among the many so-called "state novels", like Thomas Moor's well known "Utopia" that attempts, through worthy fancies, the [development|bringing about] of mankind's state of artless perfection on a [barren|mere] island; Holberg's "Niels Klim's Underground Travels"; Swift's masterwork of "Gulliver's Travels" that draw a picture through satire of the travestied relations of familiar states; or Campanella's "Civitas Solis"; or Cabet's "Voyage en. Icarie" that was created primarily in the service of party ideologies; or Terrason's "Sethos" that was supposedly compiled in the tradition of Egyptian hieroglyphs; or Fénelon's "Telamach"; or the imaginative and mythical descriptions of the mysterious Kingdom of "Ophir", and the countries and islands of "Scydromedia", "Dimocala", "Ajaoja", "Nova Atlantis", and "La Basiliade de Bilpai"; or the satire of "Eldorado" that mocks the other ideal state novels.

Other novels are called to present a tale, born only of the imagination, in a way that convinces the reader that it could really have happened; this novel will present a historical event that has not "yet" happened, and will grapple with the difficult task, to present the facts and the characters, the future age's inner and outer world, in such a way so as to make the reader say: this might yet happen!

There will not be in this novel Utopian states, Icarian people; its scenes will not be yet to be discovered islands; the story, throughout, takes place in the known world, and develops from situations that exist today, from notions that impact the world today.

I summoned for the task understanding, faith, and imagination.

I studied to understand the historical world: the reasons and phases behind the evolution, development, dissolution, and rebirth of states; I came to admire and envy the civilization-spreading nation gians, and amidst this awe I also felt love, concern, and an inspiring thirst for life toward my own small and backward nation and homeland.

I followed the great [ideas|paradigms] {of the age/ages}, that strive to remake the world in a new mold, and their great struggles with opposing notions. I saw titanic battles amidst armed millions in the wake of these [ideas|paradigms]: for human rights in America, for spiritual freedom and national unity in Italy, for national revival in Poland, for religious superstition in East India, for European power-balance in Crimea, for pride in France, and for an abstract state-concept between Austria and Prussia, and then for a societal principle in Paris. These were battles that consumed millions and an ocean of blood, and their [ideas|paradigms] whether victorious or defeated, continue to live.

And I had to also discover amidst the great struggles, the separate battles of smaller groupings of human interests, in which many small interests continuously boil and chafe against one another, only occasionally calmed by a national catastrophe, but sometimes downright validated thereby: racism, national hatred and an instinct for self-preservation; the inability of political parties to find common ground, the open parliamentary fights, traditions and innovation, the insidious leagues; holy and not holy, and not holy only because of holy unions, on political, social, and religious grounds; Jesuitism, Internationale, Nihilism; among them the Mohamedan fatalism, which impacts world history through its immovability, and the individual interest that stalks beneath great struggles to personalize for the inheritors of royal aspirations: the families that sleep-walk amidst royal dreams, the adventurers that hunt for crowns, and other hunters who make sport against crowned heads.

Behold the building blocks of the eternal war.

And this eternal war demands [general|contiuous] armament. The whole male gender--from childhood unto old age--armed, and the weapons always changing, continuously perfected, surpassing one another with new advantages, the art of war raised to the level of mastery and science.

The continuous arms race binds terrible sums of money: in machines that provide no utility; in constructions that provide no benefit; and in human masses that do no work. The states' debts, on this account, grow to mythical sizes, and the greater they become, the heavier the taxes, the more difficult the life of the worker, the industrialist, and the land owner; while the [flighty-minded] entrepreneurs, the [money chasers] can all the more easily acquire easily-gotten wealth. The war wages on between capital and labour.

And the more easily money is accumulated at the top levels of society's hierarchy, the easier they collapse into society's boglands. The Kings, high priests, ministers, bankers, lords, generals, and people's representatives also have parasites, many of them in fact: men who can be bought, patented cheats, thieves of public property, mercenaries, flatterers, idle men, writers-for-hire, [gatherers], [compromisers|appeasers], transporters, sinecurists, stewards, [concessioners], campaigners, and thirsty, hungry masses of people. The flow of gold will be swallowed by sand, and it will become a swamp. And if the character of men is submerged by the flow of gold, what is woman to do? The people of Phaeax takes payment for all things, and gives all things for payment. Love, art, music, sculpting, painting, and literature all yield to serve the hedonist whose wealth was gained with ease. The war wages on between the moral foundations of life and societal decay.

And as family life grows looser, so will the old world's population grow, and the more people there are, the less bread there is. Slowly every forest is cut down, to plow the land left in its stead, every valley is dug up, to force it to yield its store of coal; but the gifts of nature are not endless, the way old tales reckon; the blackmailed earth will give way to year after year of poorer and poorer yield of crops and produce, the [sky] itself shall turn hostile due to the violent deforestation, and the price of coal shall in a hundred years grow fourfold. The man of the old world is hungry and cold. The war wages on between man and the earth.

And this shall end with the defeat of the former. The overpopulated old world will spill forth foam at its edges. And all that it expells, will hurry to the new world. Therein there is space enough still. The Jesuit and the philosopher, the lot of those who lost their crowns, and the exiled rebels; the aspiring industrialist, and the wandering fraudster, the martyrs of liberal thinking, and the charlatans, the inventors, and the believers of all folly, the German and Russian cosmopolitans, and the smaller ethnicities' unsatisfied members will find enough space for both clever and foolish ideas, for the founding of both praiseworthy and condemnable companies. And the overabundance of these elements will change America's present character. The legions of expatriates will demand influence over Europe's affairs. And that will be easy for North America. The perfection of transportation will bring the old world close to it. It will need no large army, for in its half of the world it shall have no neighbour all, once it absorbs Canada and Mexico as well; its financial sources are limitless, its lands are rich, and its income exceeds its expenses twenty-fold. It also has no responsibility toward anyone in the old world, not from interest, not from friendship, not from alliance, not from debt, not from linguistic kinship, not from religious brotherhood, not from national admiration, nor by its past or its future. It will take full advantage of its position too, and will freely press upon Europe with the whole of its influence. The war wages on between the old world and the new world.

And let us now add that a hundred years from now there will still be people -- many of them -- who love their homelands, who will strive to alleviate humanity's great ills, who ennoble peasant morality, who spread enlightenment, who create something from nothing by striving to raise manpower into god{like}power; the guard of the public good will continue to be "legion!", but in opposition to these shall stand another giant, whose name is Nihil, Nothingness, who believes in nothing, not in God, not in the homeland, not in the nation, not in an afterlife, not in the state, not in human laws, not in family, not in honour, not in poetry; those who deny the past and cares not for the future, those who have no other goal than today, no other ruler than "I", no other law than to do as he pleases.

The war wages on between "God" and "animal" -- both appearing in human form.

Is this not what must come to pass in the next hundred years?

This is no fantasy, no prophecy, this is knowledge! understanding! And does a faith not naturally follow this knowledge, that it cannot forever continue that way?

Upon this faith stands the work that I am writing. My novel has two parts, one is called "the eternal war", until it becomes impossible; the other is called "the eternal peace", once it becomes a necessity and is realised.

But, the whole things is built upon a hypothesis. Upon an invention, that will change the world.

I know, because of this, I will be declared a "madman". However I shall be in good company, with Fulton who in 1805 was called a "madman" by the Parisian Academy of Sciences, because he claimed that steam could power ships. Grey, on account of his notion of railroads, was called a "madman" in 1815 by the Edinburgh Review. S Stephenson, on account of his steam-train, was nearly committed to the madhouse by the members of the English parliament in 1825.

Therefore I believe in the realisation of an invention, that has been sought by so many from Daedalus to Coxwel and Lamountain, in search of the solution to the mystery of the sky, who entered its domain, but could not find what they sought. Somebody will find it one day.

And this will set the limit of the eternal war.

It will force disarmament onto millions prepared to genocide one another, sending cannons and guns back to the smeltery, to create machines of labour from them; the gunpowder will instead be used to avert natural disasters, the soldier along with his horse will be sent home to plow the land instead.

It will turn those demanding thrones into peaceful citizens.

It will put an end to the insanity of racism, and will show the brother in the former enemy. It will put an end to diplomatic scheming.

It will free the slaves, and will make voluntary service a sweet labour.

It will open new avenues for those who yearn for praise and glory; it will spread enlightenment to every part of the world, becoming victorious over blind faith and all its fake apostols.

It will put an end to taxing by the state, to customs duties, monopolies, and will still bring wealth to the governments.

It will bring correct ratios into commerce and monetary circulation, and will divide the income according to intelligence and talent, designating the place of the scientist, the poet, the artist and the {agricultural} day-worker, and will make each satisfied with his lot. It will put an end to mindless behavior and corruption.

It will place societal morals onto stable ground, and will resanctify the altars of family life, love, and ideals.

It will put an end to the death penalty and to jails; and will find for the enemies of civilized society punishment that will fix them and be a blessing unto the whole of humanity. It will correct the imbalance between the old world and the new world.

It will help make victorious the humanitarians, and will force the surrender of the enemies of humanity, some of whom wear masks and some of whom do not.

It will bring back the Siberian exiles to their rejuvenated homelands.

It will exert influence over the weather, and will penetrate the secrets of nature.

It will lighten the impact of epidemics, and will restore man's machinery of life to its ancient state of perfection.

It will dry out the Ganges and La Plata's morasses, terrible hotbeds of cholera and yellow fever, and will liberate three parts of the world from their ravaging plagues.

It will enhance technology with new materials, that will be useful to all, and which will be more noble than gold, but cheaper than iron.

It will take out of ocean water a billion tonne's worth of silver, and will put it into circulation.

It will have one continent's plentitude [exchanged|traded] with that of another.

It will drive extinct ravaging beasts in their jungles and grasslands.

It will take civilization amidst wild peoples, and will bring light to those of other colours, and will give opportunity to every ethnicity to rise gradually; it will turn every man human.

It will populate the great wastelands. It will guide rivers through the Sahara, and will populate the inlands of Africa and Australia, so that humanity's one-time cradle, that is a desert today, can become a paradise once more.

It will take away the ocean's fearsomeness, and will make shipwrecking and the loss of sent goods impossible.

It will put an end to vows of celibacy, and will return priests to family life.

It will give woman an honoured standing in society, it will consider children a treasure of the state and will care for them accordingly.

It will give existence only to a single party, whose motto shall be: patriotism through labour.

It will build churches only for one religion, whose dogma is: clear-headed humanitarianism.

It will lengthen the day for man, and shorten the work therein.

It will raise the word of honour as strong as law, and make conscience the first {or primal?} judge and arbiter.

It will ease traveling, and will make the whole of the earth known to man.

And it will help discover even the nook of land, where {other descendents of} the Magyars ancestors live, cut off form the outside world, and will make them into a kindred nation.

These are the creative [ideals|ideas] of my work.

If knowledge and imagination were as strong as my faith!

Because my faith is strong in that humanity is moved forward by great ideas in each age, which permits no falling back.

The classical age raised man higher through poetry. The Hebrew age by familiarizing man with moral laws. The teachings of Jesus brought salvation through the religion of love. But still remains the honour that raises man to the highest state of perfection -- and that {honour} is [knowledge|understanding].

The triumph of [knowledge|understanding] will be when the mortal who says of himself, "I am God!" puts down his crown before the mortal, who says, "I am Man!"

And then it is possible -- for there is no impossibility in the universe -- that the creator will even indulge the now perfect mankind by correcting the fault in the earth that is primary cause of weather irregularities, namely the tilt of the earth's axis.

It is with this that my novel shall end.

About this blog

The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness about Jókai Mór's relatively unknown early science fiction novel "A jövő század regénye" (The Novel of Next Century) from 1872.

Wikipedia writes: "this monumental two-volume novel includes some acute observations and almost prophetic visions, such as the prediction of a revolution in Russia and the establishment of a totalitarian state there, or the arrival of aviation."

As of the creation of this blog, plans are to offer translated excerpts and chapter summaries, though in the future both the scope and the focus may shift to accommodate either me, the blog author, or the readership if and when one forms.

Please be aware that until further notice, any translation that appears strives primarily for fidelity to the original text, not literary eloquence in English. Be accordingly kind in both your expectations and criticism.

Note: due to lack of time, most chapters will only have italicized summaries/explanations of the chapters, with translated excerpts being added later as time permits.

- István