miércoles, 1 de noviembre de 2017


This year's Countdown to Lützen will feature a British Victorian woman writer's biography of the Hero King, culminating in the decisive battle on the 6th as usual.
The original one was one long tale, so I have broken it down into six chapters, which shall be given as a feuilleton day by day:
  • I: The Usurper's Heir
  • II: The Gathering Storm
  • III: The Casting of the Dice
  • IV: The Favourite of Victory
  • V: The Return of the Fallen
  • VI: The Costliest of Crowns
Again, it may be at least slightly biased... but if that is that way, it's the author's fault and not mine. However, I have set some of Marjorie Bowen's outdated spellings right (Hapsburg - Habsburg, Leipsic - Leipzig, and so forth), the same going for names of the nobility, which, unlike those of royalty, I have left untranslated -and Bowen had not- (Stephen István Báthory) aside from breaking down this biography into chapters to follow as a feuilleton.
I will correct some archaisms, historical facts, and so forth to make the biography far easier to understand to both newcomers and longtime followers.
This is the fifth time that Gustavus Adolphus Day is celebrated on this blog. Hence why I decided to do something far more ambitious in rescuing the works of a learned lady who has been forgotten for ages... Marjorie Bowen.

"Les hommes sont rien, un homme est tout." —Napoléon I.

"Let us now praise famous men...such as
did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for
their power...leaders of the people by their
counsels and by their knowledge...all these
were honoured in their generations, and were the
glory of their times."
 —Ecclesiasticus, 44.


THE following biographical sketches may find some excuse in the fact that five at least are not well-worn subjects to the English reader, and all deal with characters of singular interest and wide importance in their several times.
The endeavour has been, in each case, to detach the man from these times, a task not always easy: the individual is so apt to be dwarfed and even hidden by the events that surrounded his personality.
For this reason the complications of the Thirty Years' War are dealt with as slightly as is consistent with a coherent relation; details of these and the other historic happenings referred to will be found in the books quoted in the bibliography that follows each subject; these bibliographies, though of course by no means exhaustive, cover a fairly wide range and will afford a comprehensive amount of information.
Leaving the name "Gustav Adolf" in Swedish savoured too obviously of affectation; the usual compromise on this difficult question has therefore been adopted; whatever way is chosen the author generally comes in for criticism, which this explanation is not so hopeful as to expect to disarm.
The portraits of Gustavus Adolphus are abundant and fine; most interesting both as historical documents and as likenesses, though, even here, the beauty of the Hero King is not so apparent as one might have expected.
Many tales have grown up round the fall of Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen.
Was the great Swede treacherously slain in the confusion of the battle?
There seems little evidence for any of these suppositions, yet a doubt will in all the cases continue to linger, until the day when some industrious researcher of archives puts the questions at last beyond dispute.
The author, in dealing with these debatable points, has not followed the romantic tradition of accepting anecdotal tales, which, however often repeated, only rest on dubious evidence and are obviously embellished by fancy, but has tried to keep as near the truth as is possible in following authorities so often conflicting.
It may be noted that many of the terms used, "balance of power," etc., express conceptions of political economy now outworn, but these same conceptions were very powerful in their day and embodied ideas that swayed the statesmen of Europe up to the period of the Congress of Vienna; they have therefore, though obsolete at the present moment, been adopted.

Marjorie Bowen,
London, August 1927.

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