Personal Adventures During the Late War of Independence in Hungary

Wilhelmine BECK

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“I AM OF THE MAGYAR RACE, AND MY HEART THROBS WITH PRIDE AT THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE SPLENDID LAND OF OUR INHERITANCE: I CANNOT FOREGO THE HOPE THAT IT WILL ONE DAY BE AS FREE AS IT IS BEAUTIFUL”

BECK, Wilhelmine. Personal Adventures During the Late War of Independence in Hungary. London: Richard Bentley, 1851. Octavo, contemporary full brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, black morocco spine label, marbled endpapers and edges.

Second edition of this autobiographic account of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution by the notorious Baroness von Beck, who was posthumously subjected to a trial for fraud in Great Britain and accused of being a spy and imposter before the Court called a halt to the proceedings, handsomely bound by Bickers & Son.

This work was written by Wilhelmine Beck, better known as the Baroness von Beck, who found herself exiled to Great Britain following the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Indeed, 1848 was a tumultuous year across Europe as the working class, middle class, and a rag-tag group of reformers rose up and threatened to overthrow various despotic governments. Over 50 countries were affected and the Habsburgs were hit particularly hard. In a surge of nationalism and pro-modern sentiment, Hungary rose up and tried to break away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. According to her memoir, Beck was caught in the middle of the conflict. Ultimately, the Hungarians proved no match for the strength of the Austrian Imperial forces, backed by their Russian allies. Beck found herself in exile. Yet the British were suspicious of foreigners and believed that many of the new Hungarian residents were Austrian spies. Beck was accused of being an imposter and evidence was presented that there was no Baroness von Beck. Beck died while in custody awaiting trial for financial misdealings and fraud. The trial proceeded posthumously until it was put to a stop. This work remains the main evidence of her innocence and true participation in the war. The first edition was published in 1850. Contemporary owner gift inscription.

Faint foxing to preliminary and concluding pages, calf quite lovely. A handsome, near-fine copy.

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