The Life and Times of Karola Szilvássy, Transylvanian Aristocrat and Modern Woman


  • Réka M. Cristian



Karola Szilvássy, Miklós Bánffy, János Kemény, Zoltán Óváry, Transylvanian aristocracy, modern woman, suffrage, polyglot, cosmopolitan, Erdélyi Helikon


In this study Cristian surveys the life and work of Baroness Elemérné Bornemissza, née Karola Szilvássy (1876 – 1948), an internationalist Transylvanian aristocrat, primarily known as the famous literary patron of Erdélyi Helikon and lifelong muse of Count Miklós Bánffy de Losoncz, who immortalized her through the character of Adrienne Milóth in his Erdélyi trilógia [‘The Transylvanian Trilogy’]. Research on Karola Szilvássy is still scarce with little known about the life of this maverick woman, who did not comply with the norms of her society. She was an actress and film director during the silent film era, courageous nurse in the World War I, as well as unusual fashion trendsetter, gourmet cookbook writer, Africa traveler—in short, a source of inspiration for many women of her time, and after.






Thematic Cluster: On Hungarian Historical, Literary and Filmic Constructions of Gender. Guest Editor: Enikő Bollobás