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Lily Batthyany

Lilly Batthyany was the wife of the Hungarian aristocrat Count Ervin Batthyany, a friend of Edward Carpenter’s who first stayed at Millthorpe in 1901. According to Rowbotham, after this visit Count Batthyany took a copy of Carpenter’s Towards Democracy back to Hungary with him and began to translate it into German with the help of a friend, Lilly Nadler-Nuellens; “In the process the couple fell in love.” (Rowbotham 2008: 345). When Count Batthyany tried to set up schools and workshops for the peasants living on his family estates, his appalled family placed him in an asylum. Lilly Nadler-Nuellens campaigned for his release and the couple eventually moved to Britain, where, after a protracted legal battle, Batthyany’s inheritance was eventually restored. The Batthyanys became close friends of Carpenter’s, and Olive Schreiner stayed in their London home Alexi in Hampstead for some months in 1916 while they were away. It is likely that some letters were exchanged between Schreiner and the Batthyanys, although none have been traced. Schreiner shared the Batthyanys’ pacifist ideals, and in a letter to Betty Molteno she referred to “my dear friend the Countess Batthyany”, suggesting that a friendship had developed between them independent of their mutual connection with Edward Carpenter.

For further information see:
Sheila Rowbotham (2008) Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love London: Verso
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