My Dear Imre! My Sweet Márikó!

My Dear Imre! My Sweet Márikó!

Édes Imrém! Lelkem, Márikóm! Gróf Mikó Imre és felesége, Rhédey Mária grófnő leveleskönyve 1848–1849-ből [My Dear Imre! My Sweet Márikó! Letterbook of Count Imre Mikó and his wife, Countess Mária Rhédey from 1848–1849]
Edited by: Endre Lipthay and Gréta Somogyi
National Széchényi Library – Covasna County Cultural Center – Transylvanian Museum Association
Budapest – Sfântu Gheorghe – Cluj-Napoca, 2021., 344 pages
ISBN 978 963 200 715 1

3 800,- Ft

Count Imre Mikó, the newly appointed Transylvanian treasurer, wrote the first letter to his wife, Countess Mária Rhédey, who had remained in Kolozsvár [today Cluj-Napoca], on 13 January 1848, after arriving in Nagyszeben [today Sibiu], his new post. The consequence of this significant change of lifestyle was the intimate conjugal correspondence that we now publish in this volume. The letters shed light not only on the intimate relationship between the spouses, but also on the reasons for and circumstances of their correspondence. Imre Mikó was in Nagyszeben, the seat of the Transylvanian Treasury, from January 1848. In May, following the events of the Revolution in March, he travelled to Buda for negotiations, from there to Vienna and then, following the Emperor, to Innsbruck. He returned to Transylvania in June 1848, followed by another official trip to Vienna in the winter.

The manuscript is fascinating in several aspects, as it was written between 1848 and 1849, one of the most significant and exciting two years in Hungarian history, and Count Imre Mikó, who was already referred to as the “Széchenyi of Transylvania” by his contemporaries for his versatile social and cultural activities, appears in the writings and reflects on the events both as a public figure and private person.

The letters, moving in themselves, were not waiting to be discovered among the dusty files of an archive, but were elegantly bound and available on the bookshelves of castles for descendants for a hundred years, at least until 1945. This book of letters contains the writings of a couple with several children, written to each other, convey passionate love, true human compassion, faith in God, sometimes deep sorrow, sometimes playful humour and banter. In this publication we have undertaken to publish this correspondence, which is unique in many ways. The booklet, which contains the original letters from the National Széchényi Library’s Manuscript Collection, contains the couple’s letters written between 13 January 1848 and 30 January 1849, i.e. over the course of a year. It also contains Mária Rhédey’s prayer Könyörgés férjemért [Supplication for my husband] after December 1848 and her testamentary letters to her husband, entitled Hagyatkozó búcsúlevél [Testamentary farewell letter], written to him on 15 February 1849, almost a month before the birth of their fourth child.

This volume of correspondence with illustrations, annotations and bibliography was edited by Endre Lipthay and Gréta Somogyi.