Carmen Sylva’s autobiographical adaptation of the Balkan folktale of “The Walled-up Wife” as the drama Meister Manole (1892) projects a political sensibility about women’s lives in the nineteenth century. Well known as a writer, but also as Queen Elisabeth of Romania (1843–1916), Sylva inserts the topic of her own infertility into the story of a pregnant woman immured as a construction sacrifice. The body sacrificed for the common good in the tale parallels Sylva’s own experience when a courtly scandal results in her exile. In drawing on these experiences and using the “trivial” folkloric foundation for her drama, Sylva’s female characters speak out in a way they were unable to in real life.
Muellner, Beth Ann. "The Walled-up Wife Speaks Out: The Balkan “Legend of the Walled-up Wife” and Carmen Sylva’s Meister Manole." Marvels & Tales 32.2 (2019). Web. <https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol32/iss2/4>.