The Hotel Transylvania is my third novel set in the eighteenth century. Together with Child of Europe and An Outsider Among the Thespians, they form a trio. I propose to call it The Enlightenment Trilogy. I first became interested in the person of Franois II Rkczi, Prince of Transylvania, when I read Gyula Szckfs 1909 monograph, The Exiled Rkczi. (See the appendix.) I was very impressed with Szekfs unmatched scholarship (Sz. was an archivist in Vienna and had unlimited access to the primary sources.) Equally, I was captivated by the novelistic possibilities. The juxtaposition of Rkczi, the Jansenist recluse, and the gambling house at the Hotel fascinated me. However, I sensed that Szekf had an ideological bias with which I disagreed. This book is neither an historical nor political treatise but a novel, that is, largely fiction. Ive perused a great deal of material in English, Hungarian, and French, etc., while doing research for the novel. And, I have returned to both Hungary and Paris to take a personal look at the scenes. I have had gracious help wherever I went and explained the project. Where I could identify the exact date of a book or quote, I did so. Otherwise, I gave the authors name and years. I have slightly modified a short French poem by Dorothy L. Sayers, and used Richard Wilburs excellent translations from Racine and Molire. The other translations, unless otherwise noted, are mine. I would like to thank my sister, Mrs. Sirtin Gyepes Judit not only for her literary review, but also for many of the sources. My niece, Ms. Barbara Gyepes Giammona did the editing work, and Ms. Evelyne Pnia Fodor thoroughly reviewed and edited all the French aspects. Finally, my sincere thanks to Ms. Adele Katz, who valiantly struggled through the handwritten manuscript and the many subsequent drafts. To all of them: MERCI!! thank you!
"Outsider Amongst the Thespians" derived from two sources. First, my 25-year-long commuting career in Los Angeles provided me with approximately 5,000-6,000 hours of uninterrupted music listening. Second, my love for Haydn eventually pointed towards a book of some sort. The combination of these two impetus (?impeti) resulted in the present novel. Since this is a work of fiction, I took liberties with some dates, such as the original performances of Mozart's three great Italian operas, as well as with a few details in Luigia Polzelli's adventurous life. For the purposes of the story, I'd also simplified the complexities of the then existing London theater companies. (Anyone interested in all the arcane details is hereby referred to the Theatre Museum and Library in Covent Garden!) I've also conjured up Lorenzo da Ponte for a brief, cameo appearance. And, "Wien, Wien nur Du allein" was written about 100+ years after these events. Otherwise, I tried to be as accurate as I knew how. Le Matin, Le Midi and Le Soir refer, of course, to three early Haydn symphonies by those names. The three books which helped me most were: 1) Karl Geiringer: Haydn, A Creative Life in Music, U. of California Press, Revised 1982 (Originally published in English in 1946). 2) H.C.C. Taylor: Goldoni: A Biography, (London, 1914). 3) M. Dorothy George: London Life in the Eighteenth Century, Academy Chicago Publishers, 1984. (First published in London in 1925) Visits to Drottningholm, Eisenstadt and Eszterhaza were of paramount importance; my last theatrical journey to London cemented in earlier impressions. The two final Haydn operas were revelations, in spite of their poor librettos. Regardless of the circumstances, Haydn, a consummate professional, always did his best. * I would like to express my deepest thanks to my sister, Mrs. Sioretine Gyepes Judit for her detailed editorial comments, and to Dr. Linda Schubert for her advice on the musical aspects of this book.
Everything in this novel is fiction, except the “stage” upon which it is set, i.e., the mid-18th century. There were no Hungarian Jesuits in Antigua California, and Carlos Galante, S.J., aka Charles Galántay, exists only in my imagination. However, the fact remains that many of the California Jesuit Missionaries were Central Europeans by birth and education. Not wishing to step on any national toes, I found it best to invent a Jesuit for the purposes of this novel. A biography of Fr. F. Consag would have been my preferred vehicle, since he was born in Varazdin on the Croatian-Hungarian border, and taught for a year or so in Budapest at my old school, the former Jesuit College. But the Croatians’ jealously guarded him, so I decided to abandon that idea. The purpose of this novel was not to slavishly copy the style of the 18th-century letters, and thereby attempt to create an artistic forgery. Instead, I meant to pay homage to the period and the people; in a minor key Serge Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony was my unattainable model. Everything in this novel is invented, including F.X. Allegre and Professor T. Szegépy, whose name is simply a modified anagram of my own. Yes, the Professor missed the fact that Lt. Matthew Galántay was killed in the early part of the Seven Year War. This was understandable, if a little careless. Unlike writers of fiction, who can invent to their heart’s delight, historians are supposed to check all their facts. Perhaps he couldn’t conceive of such sustained duplicity on the part of a Jesuit, i.e., to keep writing to a woman (!) all those years. Even to an educated and worldly woman like Mathilda (Math) Galantay, Matthew’s (Matt) twin sister. And, of course, in 18th century florid handwriting (it is easy to overlook the difference between “Matt” and “Math.” Those who read the novel in manuscript, at least some of them, expressed concern and dissatisfaction regarding the rather abrupt ending of the story. But for once, I stuck close to the truth, the “returnees,” i.e., the repatriated Jesuit missionaries generally faded into the background, and thereafter, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars closed the curtain on the 18th century. As far as “criticizing” some of these eighteenth-century Jesuits for harboring far too modern views—I categorically disagree. Jesuits were often the conduit of advanced ideas into New Spain. Although I became very attached to Charles Galántay and his tough and determined “Cousinne,” I had to let them go off without prying into their affairs any further. Anything else would have required a second novel. And finally, I must apologize to the real Esterházy family for placing the protagonists of the novel in their ancient seat of Galánta. In order to prevent any confusion, I spelled our family’s name without the aristocratic th, i.e., “Galántha,” as the Esterházys do.
Experience the adventures of the eighteenth century as The Fur-Lined Crypt takes you into the harsh and unforgiving lifestyle of the men who spent their very souls in the early North American fur trade. These men of grit and courage unveiled the mysteries of the hinterland and its uncharted rivers, forests, and plains, thus opening the way for civilization and settlement of a new continent. The Hudson’s Bay Company and its various forts and trading centers provided a vital service and offered a unique entrance into the continent’s heartland. Frequently it was their employees who were among the first Europeans to discover and enter what was not always a friendly land. These fur traders surveyed, mapped rivers, and discovered previously unknown peoples. In the end, they lifted the veil of distance and found ways to overcome the inhospitable climate that hid the land’s wealth and potential. They forged the requisite alliances with the native peoples who, perhaps unwittingly, provided the fuel that kindled the commerce of the day. A window into this lawless society reveals cruelty mixed with compassion, love overcoming hate, and survival in a dangerous world. This historically accurate chronicle threads an intriguing yarn of human perseverance through the pain and anguish of living in isolation far from loved ones.
In Goth's Dark Empire cultural historian Carol Siegel provides a fascinating look at Goth, a subculture among Western youth. It came to prominence with punk performers such as Marilyn Manson and was made infamous when it was linked (erroneously) to the Columbine High School murders. While the fortunes of Goth culture form a portion of this book's story, Carol Siegel is more interested in pursuing Goth as a means of resisting regimes of sexual normalcy, especially in its celebration of sadomasochism (S/M). The world of Goth can appear wide-ranging: from films such as Edward Scissorhands and The Crow to popular fiction such as Anne Rice's "vampire" novels to rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails. But for Siegel, Goth appears as a mode of being sexually undead -- and loving it. What was Goth and what happened to it? In this book, Siegel tracks Goth down, reveals the sources of its darkness, and shows that Goth as a response to the modern world has not disappeared but only escaped underground.