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By Gábor Kármán

In A Seventeenth-Century Odyssey Gábor Kármán reconstructs the existence tale of a lesser-known Hungarian orientalist, Jakab Harsányi Nagy. The dialogue of his actions as a faculty instructor in Transylvania, as a diplomat and interpreter on the elegant Porte, as a secretary of a Moldavian voivode in exile, in addition to a court docket councillor of Friedrich Wilhelm, the nice Elector of Brandenburg not just sheds gentle upon the terribly flexible profession of this person, but in addition at the number of circles within which he lived. Gábor Kármán additionally provides the 1st old research of Harsányi’s contribution to Turkish stories, the Colloquia Familiaria Turcico-latina (1672).

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Extra info for A Seventeenth-century Odyssey in East Central Europe: The Life of Jakab Harsányi Nagy

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Edinburgh, [1642]). György Gömöri, “Magyar peregrinusok a XVII. századi Cambridge-ben” [Hungarian students in 17th-century Cambridge], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 79 (1985): 196; Gömöri, Magyarországi diákok, 51. Keith L. Sprunger, Dutch Puritanism: A History of English and Scottish Churches of the Netherlands in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Leiden, 1982), 123–141. Szepsi Csombor, Europica varietas, 192–193. 79 We know of some occasions on which he was visited by students from Hungary and Transylvania, and it is very likely that he became acquainted with others and helped them during their stays in London.

István Tolnai, minister of 34 35 36 Miklós Bethlen, “Élete leírása magától” [A description of his life from himself], in Kemény János és Bethlen Miklós művei, ed. Éva V. Windisch (Budapest, 1980), 663. , Erdélyi országgyűlési emlékek történeti bevezetésekkel [Documents of the diets of Transylvania, with a historical introduction], vol. 15, 1669–1674 (Budapest, 1892), 270 (in the following: EOE XV). This, however, is less surprising since Miklós Bethlen claims in his memoirs that the letter was written by him in the name of the prince (see the page cited above).

There are some known cases when students changed colleges, which could lengthen the study years – Apáczai, for instance, visited Gyulafehérvár after the first years in Kolozsvár – but in Harsányi’s case we have no information about his studies anywhere else. The most obvious interpretation would therefore be that he also had to teach some years in an elementary school before getting a scholarship to begin his peregrination. Getting a scholarship was the last important step to take, as the talented student also had to have a patron who would finance his university studies.

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