Letter from Robert William Seton-Watson to Svetozar Hurban-Vajanský, 1908


Shown here is a letter dated June 15, 1908, from British historian and journalist R.W. [Robert William] Seton-Watson (1879‒1951) to Svetozár Hurban-Vajanský (1847‒1916), a Slovak writer, journalist, literary critic, and politician. Seton-Watson took a great interest in, and wrote widely on, the history of the Slavic peoples and the ethnic situation in Hungary. He was particularly concerned about the status of the Slovaks in Hungary. Over time he became a sympathizer with, and friend of, the Slovaks and wrote articles about ethnic conflicts in Hungary. He visited the territory of present-day Slovakia (then part of Hungary) several times before World War I, where he developed contacts with Slovak politicians and Slovak cultural personalities. The letter concerns Racial Problems in Hungary, which Seton-Watson published in 1908 under the pseudonym Scotus Viator. The book is a detailed study, running to more than 500 pages, of Hungary and its history, particularly as it related to the situation of the Slovak minority. Seton-Watson wrote almost the entire book, but three chapters on Slovak popular culture were contributed by Slovak authors. Hurban-Vajanský wrote the chapter entitled “Slovak Popular Poetry.” In the letter, which is in German, Seton-Watson implores his collaborator to send his chapter immediately, so that Seton-Watson can translate it and send it to the publisher and the book can be printed by the end of September.

Last updated: March 3, 2016