Volume 8 Issue 4 2019

Volume 7 Issue 4

Stepfamilies across Ethnicities

Gabriella Erdélyi Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Contents

Introduction

Gabriella Erdélyi
Differences between Western and East Central European Patterns of Remarriage and Their Consequences for Children Living in Stepfamilies 657
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Articles

Almut Bues
Dynasty as a Patchwork House, or the (Evil) Stepmother: The Example of Zofia Jagiellonka 669

Abstract

Abstract

The significant age difference between Princess Zofia Jagiellonka and her husband had as one advantage for the princess that she had no competitors within her age group (e.g. a stepmother). Moreover, her stepdaughters were approximately the same age and, after her husband’s death, she found herself in similar circumstances to the as a widow. Zofia Jagiellonka eventually resolved the long-standing relationship between her husband and his mistress, knowing in this regard how to defend her social position. She consciously took up the role of mediator among the relatives, and she had a mitigating effect on the tensions between father and son. Her social consciousness included providing for the welfare of the new family by meeting the expectations placed on her with regards to her stepchildren. Her life was not that of the stereotypical “evil stepmother.” Rather, she was someone from whom her stepchildren and others repeatedly sought counsel. Through her royal birth, she was (with regard to her social status) superior to her Guelph relatives, and she had the king—her brother—as her protector. In terms of her relationship to her stepchildren, it was perhaps a great advantage that she herself bore no children, and thus there was no competitive milieu at the court in Wolfenbüttel.
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Andrea Fehér
Noble Lineage as Stepfamily Network: An Eighteenth-Century Noble Autobiography from the Principality of Transylvania 695

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay, I examine how an eighteenth-century Transylvanian nobleman constructed the meanings of kinship and family relations. The investigation primarily draws on the autobiographical work of László Székely (1716–1772), an educated and sensitive Transylvanian nobleman, who recorded the brief history of his family and himself. Being orphaned at a young age the author made his way out in life without the help of his biological parents, with the advice and support of his extended family: guardians, blood relatives, brothers-in-law; and other personal connections, such as servants, former colleagues, and friends. Due to the detailed description of his lineage and his constant preoccupation to record the major family events the present article offers an exhaustive study of the emotional bonds and kinship ties between some of the most important noble families from Transylvania.
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Kinga Papp
Dávid Rozsnyai’s “Orphans”: A Stepfamily through Divorce in Seventeenth-Century Transylvania 726

Abstract

Abstract

My paper examines the documents pertaining to the life of a stepfamily made through divorce in seventeenth-century Transylvania. The focus is on the interfamilial relationships before and after the divorce. I examine the ways in which the attitude of the father, Dávid Rozsnyai, toward his first wife and children changed during the divorce and after formation of a new family. I also consider how the appearance of the new family members (second wife, half-siblings) affected the equilibrium within the family. My analysis shows that in Early Modern Transylvania there were social and personal customs involving the assignment of social positions to both adult and child members of a family broken by divorce, which facilitated the integration of these families into the community. The scattered family documents and witness hearings show that the divorced father ensured, through his testament and other documents, that the two sons from the two different marriages would share inherited wealth equally. In their turn, the stepbrothers worked together to pay off their father’s debts.
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Katalin Simon
Remarriage Patterns and Stepfamily Formation in a German-speaking Market Town in Eighteenth-Century Hungary 757

Abstract

Abstract

First, this study addresses issues related to the gendered patterns of remarriage in an eighteenth-century market town. Second, it investigates interpersonal relationships in the new family formations, including stepparents and stepchildren. When and why did widows and widowers choose to remarry? How did new marriages effect the lives of children born into earlier marriages? Drawing on several kinds of archival sources, such as marriage contracts, council protocols, court and parish records, the paper provides an in-depth case study, which by tracking multiple marriages and children of both spouses shows the complexity of the blended families which came into existence through the remarriage of spouses.
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Eleonóra Géra
“Mulier Imperiosa”: The Stepfamilies of Eva Elisabetha in Buda in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century 789

Abstract

Abstract

This article offers a case study based on examination of legal documents concerning the marital conflicts which arose in the three consecutive marriages of a wealthy burgher woman. It situates this specific case in the context of Early Modern gendered marriage patterns. The documents which were produced in the course of the judicial dissolution of the first marriage described the young wife as a slave to her elderly, tyrannical husband. Other sources, however, including documents pertaining to her second two marriages, suggest that it would be misleading to argue, on the basis of the documents generated in the course of her divorce, the wife completely adapted herself to the patriarchal norms of her age. As her later marriages and economic successes show, she was not at all a helpless woman, though she could pretend to be one when this role served her interests. Her case suggests that the patriarchal model transmitted by the normative literature of the age could be successfully challenged, and ambitious, capable women, who had good financial and family backgrounds, had were able at least to some extent to negotiate relationships actively and challenge cultural norms. The documents concerning her second and third marriages add novel information to the study of the relationships between stepsiblings and halfsiblings. This case study highlights, moreover, the ways wedded women and widows could rely at times on the support of their families of origin
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Sándor Nagy
Family Formation, Ethnicity, Divorce, and Marriage Law: Jewish Divorces in Hungary, 1786–1914 812

Abstract

Abstract

The role of broken marriages in the formation of “modern” patchwork families is well known, but if one tries to examine its historical roots, one encounters the problem of defining divorce and–despite the expansion of civil law–the differences in perceptions of divorce according to Church denominations. This study aims to consider the above mentioned difficulties in light of the development of Hungarian marriage law and the problem of Jewish divorces.
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Book Reviews

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The Economy of Medieval Hungary. Edited by József Laszlovszky, Balázs Nagy, Péter Szabó, and András Vadas. East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 450–1450 49. Reviewed by Christoph Sonnlechner 843

Das Wiener Fürstentreffen von 1515: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Habsburgisch-Jagiellonischen Doppelvermählung. Edited by Bogusław Dybaś and István Tringli. Reviewed by Katarzyna Niemczyk 846

Život u srednjovjekovnom Splitu: Svakodnevica obrtnika u 14. i 15. stoljeću [Life in Medieval Split: Everyday Life of Craftsmen in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries]. By Tonija Andrić. Biblioteka Hrvatska povjesnica, Monografije i studije, III/79. Reviewed by Zrinka Nikolić Jakus 849

Erdélyi országgyűlések a 16–17. században [Transylvanian Assemblies in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries]. By Teréz Oborni. Reviewed by János Nagy 853

Házasság Budán: Családtörténetek a török kiűzése után újjászülető (fő)városból 1686–1726 [Marriage in Buda: Family Histories in the (Capital) City Reborn After the Expulsion of the Turks]. By Eleonóra Géra. Reviewed by Lilla Krász 857

Egy tudós hazafi Bécsben: Görög Demeter és könyvtára [A Learned Patriot in Vienna: Demeter Görög and His Library]. By Edina Zvara. Reviewed by Attila Verók 861

Landscapes of Disease: Malaria in Modern Greece. By Katerina Gardikas. Reviewed by Róbert Balogh 864

A Contested Borderland: Competing Russian and Romanian Visions of Bessarabia in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century. By Andrei Cuşco. Reviewed by Ágoston Berecz 867

Embers of Empire: Continuity and Rupture in the Habsburg Successor States after 1918. Edited by Paul Miller and Claire Morelon. Reviewed by Florian Kührer-Wielach 870

Social Sciences in the Other Europe Since 1945. Edited by Adela Hîncu and Victor Karady. Reviewed by Réka Krizmanics 874

Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party. By A. James McAdams. Reviewed by Tom Junes 878

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