The face of a woman who killed more than 100 young girls.


A fascination with language can lead to writing about language itself of course, but can also prompt excursions into subjects, themes and real places that are all but inaccessible for Anglophone monoglots. In 1997 I wrote Countess Dracula, the life of the 17th century Hungarian Countess Elisabeth Bathory. The evidence in this sensational and controversial story of serial murder, such as it is, exists only in Hungarian, Latin, Slovak and German. The verdicts arrived at at the time are still being questioned centuries later and the whole affair is periodically revived in novels, film, opera and in rival biographies and press articles. I plan to revisit the haunts of the Countess in Austria, Slovakia and Hungary soon, to search for the new information that I am sure awaits discovery there. In the meantime, here is an article from 2008 marking one such celebration of her infamy…

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