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NEWS - All Facts and Myths welcome!

September 2022
Those very tolerant people at the History Workshop have agreed to host my lament on the travails of a modern writer. The question of Benyovszky's nationality is a thorny one: was he Hungarian, Polish, Slovak or - perhaps - a citizen of the world? It depends on which century you live in, I suppose... and which country you call home. Click here to read my article, Wikipedia and the Hungarian Pole from Slovakia - and, of course, the many other good essays on history which are hosted on the History Workshop website...

May/June 2022
A film and a talk! Polish film-makers Katarzyna Trzaska and Marek Kucharski are engaged in producing a film reflecting on the life of Benyovszky and his legacy today. It is entitled "Being Benovsky", and although still at a relatively early stage of production, it is moving along nicely. Marek and his film-crew came over from Poland in early May, to conduct an interview with me in Edinburgh. I eagerly await the results!
And on 12 June, the "Polish University Abroad" have organised a virtual symposium, to celebrate 200 years of Polish Romanticism, which - all unknown to himself - Benyovszky inspired (amongst other things, an epic poem on his contribution to the Polish wars, by Julius Słowacki, appeared in 1841). I have been asked to make a small contribution to the day's excitements, in the form of an online interview. We shall see how that goes!

May 2022
I have added some more material to a new web-page, which deals very particularly in Miscellany.
Set out on that page are just a small handful of items, ranging from the ever-popular question 'Was Benyovszky King of Madagascar?' to erroneous reports of his resurrection. And then there is cartography and what it can prove (or not prove). Browse there, read further, and be instructed - or simply outraged.

July 2021
Taiwan celebrates Benyovszky ... sceptically?
The Yilan County Government in Taiwan has announced plans for a special exhibition to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Benovsky’s landing. Titled 1771: Count Benyovsky in Yilan, it will open on May 13 2022 at the Lanyang Museum. The government also announced plans for erecting a statue near the spot where Benyovsky (allegedly) came ashore. Good for them...
But click here to read an article sprinkling a healthy dose of scepticism over Benyovszky's account.

May 2021
Apologies - some corrections...
To those of you who have bought my book - first of all, thanks! Second of all, I have some corrections and minor addenda which you might want to make a note of. Click here to check them out.

February 2020
An evening of Benyovszky
The good people of the British Czech and Slovak Association in London are holding an event on the 26th February 2020, to take a look at Moric Benyovszky. To that end, they have invited me to give a talk on the man. The event is open to all comers, and will be held in the rather grand Slovak Embassy in the heart of Kensington.
Full details are available on the BCSA's website, which you can reach by clicking here.

June 2018
The Star Spangled Banner, anyone?
I am grateful to Mark Pruett, a descendant of the Benyovszky family on his mother's side, for sending me an advert for a performance of the Benyovszky play (probably Benjamin Thomson's translation of Kotzebue's work) in Baltimore in 1814. To see the advert click here. What is significant about this gala performance is that it also included the first public performance of a 'much-admired NEW SONG', The Star-Spangled Banner... Good old Benyovszky!

February 2018
Australian Convicts Escape!
Nick Russell has been investigating the escape of a collection of convicts from Tasmania in 1829. By a happy coincidence, the 'pirate' captain William Swallow and his fellow-escapees on the brig 'Cyprus' ended up on much the same stretch of coast as did Benyovszky and his comrades. Indeed, they further sailed to Canton/Macao in the wake of the St Peter. Although Nick has yet to find hard evidence, he has suggested in correspondence that Captain Swallow made use of Benyovszky's Memoirs as his guide on where to find food and shelter in Japan. Would that it turned out to be true!
You can read all about it here

September 2017
Hungarian-Slovak-Polish Interventionism
In July of 2017, the English-language Wikipedia article on Benyovszky underwent a major revamp, to introduce (a) some proper facts and (b) new material. All went quite well for a few days and then anonymous edits began to appear on the article. Where the original editor (OK: it was me) had used the word 'Hungarian' to describe Benyovszky's nationality (an error of judgement in retrospect!), that adjective was disappearing and being replaced by 'Slovak' or 'Polish' or reverting back to 'Hungarian', on almost a nightly basis. At first, I made the mistake of trying to revert to the original text, and made it quite clear that the word referred to the 18th century Kingdom of Hungary, and not to the present-day nation-state. I even tried pointing out that 'Slovakia' did not actually exist in the 18th century. And that Benyovszky in any case spent the best part of his life in French employment.
Eventually I gave up, and let nature take its course, while puzzling to myself why the Poles, the Hungarians and the Slovaks were fighting over a fraudster. Doubtless, the Wikipedia controversy will continue to rumble on.
It is a blessing that the competing editors never really got past the initial paragraph of the article...

August 2017
New biography published
A new biography of Benyovszky has now been published. I am pleased to be the author (Andy Drummond) and the book's title is The Intriguing Life and Ignominious Death of Maurice Benyovszky. It appears in paperback form - with a satisfying old map on the cover (Jacques-Nicolas Bellin's map of the Kuril Islands, 1750); or in hardback, without. The publisher is Routledge, and you can order the book directly from them, or hope and pray that a local bookshop can get you a copy; or doubtless visit Amazon. If you buy from Routledge, be aware that, until further notice, you can get a 20% discount on an on-line order - click here to see further details.