Karl May (1842 - 1912) was a tremendously popular German writer, noted mainly for adventure novels set in the American Old West. Young boys, from Einstein to Hitler, were taken with his stories. May promoted the idea that his stories were based on actual exploits, in fact, his own exploits, although he never visited the Old West that he wrote so much about. At right he poses as his character “Old Shatterhand”. Karl May Festivals are still held in Germany.
Galicia was part of the Habsburg Empire located in eastern Central Europe. The area is currently divided between Poland and Ukraine.
Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) was noted for composing Lieder/songs, but he was determined to compose something major: an opera. Der Corregidor, a story about an adulterous love triangle, was met with initial success but the libretto was considered a major weakness and it was thereafter rarely staged. His depressive nature combined with the effects of syphilis drove Wolf to bouts of insanity and finally death.
Lueger’s Gretls: “ ‘Gretl’ was the idealized Teutonic woman . . Believed to embody the essence of . . . domestic virtues . . . At the time of Lueger’s death, one of his oldest and most implacable journalistic enemies, the Wiener Sonn- und Montags-Zeitung, attributed his success without qualification to [his Amazons/Gretls] . . . ‘It was they who decided the men to side with Lueger, it was they who became the prophets of der schöne Karl. Never has a tribune fought with more clever means. The Christian Social Women’s League, scorned by their opponents, penetrated the families, moved from home to home, and through their words he became a brilliant leader’.” - from Karl Lueger by Richard S. Gheer
Valerie Gréy (1845 - 1934) was an author, playwright, actress, and the artistic director of her own theater in the First District. Lueger first met her in 1881 when he became legal counsel for her theater. There is no definite proof if she and Lueger shared more than a very close friendship or if she were Jewish, although the closeness ended in the late 1880’s as Lueger ran for parliament and became openly anti-Semitic. Gréy continued to write and act into her 80’s
Marianne Beskiba’s relationship with Lueger lasted from 1894 - 1909. The Viennese public knew nothing about her until a year after Lueger’s death when Beskiba self-published a tell-all book, “My Memories of Dr. Karl Lueger” which included facsimiles of highly personal and erotic love letters from "Handsome Karl", causing a bit of a scandal. She died, in poverty, in Vienna in 1934. At left is her portrait of Lueger as described in the book.