Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Glogova (glog-AH-vah). Small Hungarian village (now part of Slovakia), between Selmecbánya and Besztercebánya, located in a narrow valley between barren mountain slopes. The stream that flows through the valley, the Biela Voda, can be dangerous when swollen by sudden rain. Glogova has a small thatched schoolhouse, the majority of whose pupils bear a suspicious resemblance to the schoolmaster, who is the only man who remains in the village during the summer months, when other men go down to the plain to work as laborers.

When the village is first described—in advance of the arrival of its new priest, János Bélyi—it is a miserable place, its clay soil being full of pebbles, unable to lend much support to any crops but oats and potatoes. The pale feathergrass that grows in abundance resembles grey hair, giving the impression that the land is old and decrepit. However, giant rocks looming over the valley lend a certain dignity to the peasant hovels. Although no flowers grow there, save mallow in the villagers’ gardens, the air is perfumed by elder and juniper. The village has no proper land registry, having lost its records in a fire, so all the villagers till as much land as they can and leave the remainder to the Church—a circumstance that embodies an allegory of the villagers’ attitude to spiritual matters.

When the new priest arrives, he inherits nothing from his predecessor but a bad dog, but his fortunes are transformed when his orphaned infant sister is brought to him and is saved from exposure to a storm by the unexplained appearance of an umbrella over her basket—the first of several apparent miracles associated with the umbrella.

When the story returns to Glogova in its last chapters, the valley has been transformed by the wealth imported as a consequence of outsiders who come to the village wishing...

(The entire section is 769 words.)

St. Peter's Umbrella Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Reményi, Joseph. “Kálmán Mikszáth: Novelist and Satirist.” Hungarian Writers and Literature. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1964. Pages 154 to 164 introduce Mikszáth’s works. Establishes a context for Mikszáth’s works.

Scheer, Steven C. Kálmán Mikszáth. Boston: Twayne, 1977. A good starting place in the study of Mikszáth’s life and work. Bibliography.