Album of the National Guards of 1848

Album of the National Guards of 1848

Album of the National Guards of 1848
Edited by Viktor Szokoly

Facsimile edition
NSZL–Kossuth Publishing House, Budapest, 2018., 82 pages
ISBN 978 963 099 171 1

5 990,- Ft

The facsimile edition of the beautiful album published in 1868 for the 20th anniversary of the revolution and freedom fight of 1848, includes writings of Mór Jókai, Mihály Tompa, Frigyes Podmaniczky, Dániel Irányi and the General of the National Guard Lajos Asbóth, with woodcut illustrations after the paintings of Gyula Benczúr, János Jankó, Sándor Liezen-Mayer, Mihály Munkácsy, Pál Szinyei Merse and Sándor Wágner in memory of the events, battles and heroes.

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 made possible the presentation of the events also in Hungary, although great part of the contemporaneous works was a mere collection of unorganized data rather than a result of systematic research. In any case, the public was happy to see the stories that surrounded the glorious past in the mist of legends. Most memoirs were published in newspapers, periodicals and anthologies. The present Album of the National Guards edited by Viktor Szokoly belongs to that sort of works and what makes it special is the quality and execution of the illustrations rather than the value of the information added. The editor encouraged artists at the beginning of their career to submit quality illustrations, and later these artists would become leading figures of the fine arts of the 19th century.

Also the literary content can be interesting for the reader: the story of the duel between Richárd Baradlay and Ottó Pallvitz that later would be included in Mór Jókai’s novel [The Heartless Man's Sons], was first published here by the author. Jókai also writes about the heroic deeds of his former schoolmate Alajos Gózon in Zsolca, on 25 July 1849. Károly P. Szathmáry and Károly Ábrai remember Captain Domokos Zeyk who died in the battle of Segesvár on 31 July. The album includes an excerpt of the memoir of General Lajos Asbóth published in 1862 on the battle of Pered, and an excerpt of the memoir of Baron Frigyes Podmaniczky Frigyes, Hussar Captain of the National Guard.

The album is a historical document and a source in one. Apart from the personal accounts, it offers a comprehensive view of the revolution and freedom fight what makes it an important piece of the making of a legend. 250 years after its first publication, it is worthy to become available again for the readers.

(Following the preface by Róbert Hermann.)