Opera tends to be an international art. The national operas that emerged towards the middle of the nineteenth century represent
a deviation, because they made use of librettos in the vernacular and often employed elements of a native musical tradition.
More often than not, they thematized events from the national past in order to strengthen the nation's sense of identity.
I argue that national operas ought to be seen as an important element of the national awakening that took place in Europe,
especially in its Eastern and Southern parts, and relate its textual, musical, and institutional dimensions to the linguistic
and literary awakenings. Yet, paradoxically, national awakenings and national operas often relied on foreign ideas and artistic
currents. Ivan Zajc's Croatian national opera, Nikola Šubih Zrinski (1876), for instance, is based on Theodor Krner's anti-Napoleonic German play Zriny (1812), which, in turn, was inspired by Friedrich Schlegel's Vienna lectures on literary history and Hungarian historical
materials. By means of this case study I show that, contrary to their explicit ideology, national awakenings and national
operas seized whatever came their way, often reductively adopting hybrid or foreign materials for national purposes.
Towards the end of his life Jules Verne wrote four novels that involve the Danube basin:Mathias Sandorf (1885),Le château des Carpathes (1892),Le secret de Wilhelm Storitz (1910), andLe beau Danube jaune (written in 1901; first published 1988). Neither the Danube itself, nor a new preoccupation with women or death can be said
to link all four of them. Alternatively, one may consider these texts as parts of an unintended “roman du fleuve,” a cycle
ofFamilienromane in Freud’s sense, in which the plot is based on conflicts among family members. Seen this way, Verne’s narrators portray
clashes among siblings in the “Danubian family,” sympathizing now with this now with that nation. The main characters of these
novels are not, however, defined by their ethnic affiliations.
Le pilote du Danube (1908), a radically revised version ofLe beau Danube jaune by Verne’s son Jules, may be linked to Péter Esterházy’s work, both for being mentioned inHahn-Hahn grófnő pillantása — lefelé a Dunán (1991) and for representing a rewriting of the father.