Romania Literature

By | December 23, 2021

A popular literature substantially similar to the present one must have existed in Romania well before the century. XV, when the first documents of cultured literature begin to appear. The very name of Cântece b ă trânesti (Songs of the old) shows how the Romanian people are aware of the antiquity of their popular narrative poetry. These are songs that tell us in a particular melodic form ancient legends around the Romanian voivodes (historical and legendary), struggles against the Tartars or the Turks, between shepherds from different provinces, and above all the deeds of those popular brigands avengers of abuses, who are the haiduci. Masterpieces of this kind of epic-lyric ballads are the very delicate Miori ţ a(Agnellina), in which the most affectionate of sheep reveals to the shepherd, who accepts her with moving serenity, her imminent death at the hands of three rival shepherds, and the dramatic Legenda Mân ă stirei Arge ş ului (Legend of the Argeş Monastery ), in which a legendary architect, Mastro Manole, induces the woman he loved to build alive in the new factory to break the spell that weighed on his work. Another form of the Romanian folk epic is the Plugusor (Aratrino), which is sung by peasants on the eve or morning of the New Year when they come to town with oxen and plow. A third form of(stories), which correspond in a certain way to our popular short stories and whose obligatory protagonists are the Smuel (species of dragon), F ă t – Frumos (the king) and Ileana Cozinzean ă (the queen). For Romania 2011, please check internetsailors.com.

Popular lyric poetry takes the forms of doina (poems of love and distance); delle hore (dance songs), cântece de lume (worldly songs), bocete (funeral lullabies), colinde (Christmas carols), cântece de stea (songs of the star), which are also sung on the occasion of Christmas, and of snoave (popular satire).

The Romanian popular dramatic country (Vicleimul), very similar to that of the French mysteries and Italian sacred representations, is represented by the Irozi, whose main characters are Herod and the Magi and deal with the massacre of the innocents and the nativity of the Lord. Another form is offered to us by the ora ţ ii de nunt ă (wedding prayers), which are sung, often in a dialogue form, by young people who go to ask for the hand of a girl from the future husband. There is also a kind of popular literature teaching, represented by proverbe (proverbs), from ghicitori or cimilituri (riddles) and from descântece(exorcise).

Cultured literature, at first, takes place almost exclusively in the shadow of monasteries, which, even in Romania, were the oldest hearths of culture and the first to have schools and printing houses. The most ancient documents of it are translations from Paleoslav of ecclesiastical books, determined by the heretical movement of the Hussites, who, in order to better spread their doctrines, were the first to write in the language spoken by the people. Thus we have the Psaltirea Scheian ţ, the Psaltirea Vorone ţ ean ă and the Codicele Vorone ţ eancontaining translations from the Paleoslavian of the Psalter and of the Acts of the Apostles made in the century. XV in the Transylvanian monasteries of Scheia and Voronei, but which we possess only in later copies of the second half of the century. XVI. These translations were printed somewhat later, when, towards the end of the century. XVI, the deacon Coresi arrived in Braşov (Transylvania) who brought with him Cyrillic typefaces and who replaced in the texts he published the dialectal forms of Transylvania with those of the Wallachian dialect, which was to become the national language. However, the wars that desolated the Romanian principalities during the first decades of the following century interrupted this literary activity and only at theNoul Testament dela B ă lgrad) and a Cazanie (Collection of sermons) from Greek, Paleoslav and Latin ecclesiastical texts. The first truly literary work is represented by the Psaltirea în versuri (Versified Psalter) by Metropolitan Dosoftei (1624-1696). In the Romanian style of Dosoftei we find a very visible influence of popular poetry and perhaps for this reason many verses of his psalter have become part of the colinde and cântece de stea. The first complete translation of the Bible dates back to 1688, which, from the name of Prince Şerban Basarab, under whose auspices it was completed, takes the name of Biblia lui Ş erban. This translation represents one of the most important literary documents of ancient Romanian literature and often has the flavor of the best Tuscan writings of the fourteenth century.

During the heyday of the Romanian civilization, which corresponds to the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714), it happens, mainly thanks to Metropolitan Antim Ivireanu (who died in 1716), who was one of the most cultured prelates that Romania had, the complete substitution of the national language for the Paleoslavian one which has now become unintelligible to the clergy. Of him we have a series of Didahii (Sermons), written with a lot of artistic sense, and countless translations of liturgical books. Around this time several profane works were translated, again from Slavic or Byzantine texts, such as, p. e.g., Alexandria (Alexander’s Romance), R ă zboiul Troadei (Trojan Romance), Varlaam şthe Iosafat, the Sindipa (Romanzo dei Sette Savî), the fables of Aesop and a number of apocryphal legends about the descent of the Mother of God into hell, the fight of San Sisinnio with the devil, the Apocalypse of Saint Paul, a cycle of legends about Adam and Eve, the Antichrist, the Last Judgment, the legend of the tree of the Cross, as well as many descriptions of the journey of souls through the twenty-four customs of the afterlife or V ă mile vazduhului. But the literary revival in the ancient era of Romanian literature is mainly linked to the work of the chronicles(reporters). This kind of literature also originates from the monasteries (especially of Bistriţa and Putna), where, out of gratitude towards the principles that founded them (editors), the obituaries soon turned into obituaries (pomelnice) and then into annals. Continued by the monks of the Neamţu monastery with the biographies of contemporary princes, these annals soon turned into real chronicles. All this literature on encomiastic, biographical and annalistic subjects, however, was written in Paleoslav. The first chronicles written in Romanian (Letopise ţ i) we owe them to the Italian Renaissance, which had a great diffusion in Poland, from which it greatly influenced the oldest Moldovan chroniclers Grigore Ureche (1590-1647) and Miron Costin (1633-1691), who were the first to draw from the classical culture received the first glimpses of national consciousness and to affirm the Latin origin of their people. “We come from Rome and our language is mixed with Roman words” writes Ureche in his main work, entitled Domnii T ă rü Moldovii ş i via ţ a lor (The princes of Moldova and their life), and his idea will be developed by Miron Costin in his Letopisetul T ă rii Moldovii dela Aron Vod ă, which continues the work of Ureche from 1594 to 1661. Costin also wrote a Cartea pentru descalecatul dintâiu a Ţ ă rii Moldovii ş i a neamului moldovenesc (Book of the first descent into Moldova of the Moldovan people) and other works of a historical nature in Polish. Expanded (especially as regards the origins of the Romanian people) by his son Niculae Costin (died 1712), the Letopise ţ ul Ţ ă rii Moldovii was then continued until 1743 by Ioan Neculcea (1672-1745?) In his Letopise ţ ul T ă rii Moldovii dela Dabija – Voevod pân ăla domnia lui Ion Mavrocordat (Chronicle of Moldavia from the reign of the Dabija voivode to that of Ion Maurocordato). But the culminating point in the evolution of Moldovan historiography is represented by Dimitrie Cantemir (1674-1723) who, noble by birth, very learned not only in classical languages ​​but also in Slavic and oriental languages, wrote in Latin a Historia incrementorum atque decrementorum aulae othomanicae (1715-1716), which was translated into French (1743), German (1745) and English (1756). On behalf of the Berlin academy, of which he was a member, he wrote the Descriptio Moldaviae (1716), which, first published in German, then in Romanian, under the title of Scrisoarea Moldovei(Letter on Moldova), is also today one of the most precious sources for the history of Moldovan costume. His Hronicul Româno – Moldo – Vlahilor (Chronicle of the Romanian-Moldo-Wallachians), published in 1718, represents one of the most important historical works owned by Romania and his Historia Hieroglific ă (1704-1705), an imitation of the History of Ethiopia by Eliodoro, is a tasty historical-social satire in the form of fights between animals, which in a certain way recalls Casti’s talking animals.

In Wallachia historiography probably had an origin not different from that of Moldova, but no document remains from this phase. We have received only large compilations in support of the claims of the various families of Boers fighting each other. If, for this reason, the chronicles of Mihail Moxa (1620), Stoica Ludescu (1688) and Constantin Capitanul Filipescu (1696) are not very reliable, that of Constantin Stolnicul Cantacuzino (1650-1716), who made in Padua his studies in law and philosophy, he was adviser to the unhappy and magnanimous Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, who used him to introduce to his court the elegance of Italian life and art; and whose Istoria Ţ ă rii Române şti is a work of great value both for its perfect information and for the critical acumen with which events are judged. With the second half of the century. XVIII, begins a new period in the history of Romanian literature: contacts with the West (Rome and Paris) multiply, and this serves to reawaken in the masses, enlightened by the writings of historians and philologists, the national consciousness. The union took place (1700) with the name of Biserica unit ăpart of the Orthodox of Transylvania with the Catholic Church allowed some young Romanian ecclesiastics to do their studies in the Catholic universities of Vienna and Rome, where they listened to the voice of the ancient mother of all neo-Latin peoples. That sense of Romanity that had never been extinguished through the darkest centuries of the Middle Ages, and of which the words addressed by Innocent III in his letter to Kalojan (Ioanniţu) czar of the Bulgars and Wallachians (Populus terrae tuae, qui de Romanorum sanguine se asserit descendisse), reinforced by the historical works of Moldovan chroniclers, then became national consciousness, a guiding idea of ​​Romanian culture. Samuil Micu, also called Klein (1774-1806), Gheorghe Şincai (1753-1816), Petru Maior (1755-1821), returned to their homeland, take up the thesis of the Roman origin of the Romanian people and fight the theories of German historians and Hungarians who denied the continuity and persistence of the Roman element on the left bank of the Danube. With the Elementa linguae daco – romanicae sive valachicae (Buda 1780) by Samuil Micu and Gheorghe Şincai, the Orthographia romana sive latino – valachica (Buda 1819), the Istoria pentru începutul Românilor în Dachia (Buda 1812) and theLexicon românesc, latinesc ş i unguresc (Buda 1785) by Petru Maior, the activity of that Latin school beginsof Transylvania, which, with numerous brochures published in Blaj, the citadel of Romanian Catholicism, proposed the abolition of the Cyrillic alphabet and the replacement of words of Slavic origin with as many of Latin origin. Affirmed more and more in Transylvania through the writings of Simion Bărnu ţiu (1808-1874), Gheorghe Bariţ (1812-1893), Andrei Mureşanu (1816-1863) and Timotei Cipariu (1805-1887) and in Bucovina with Aron Pumnul (1818 -1866), the Latin school passed into Romania proper with Gheorghe Lazăr (1779-1823) and August Treboniu Laurian (1810-1881), who, in collaboration with Ioan Maxim, published the first Dec ţ ionarul on behalf of the Romanian Academy Limbii Române(1871 and 1876) in vols. 2, in which, consequently with the philological theories he followed, all the Slavic words are replaced with as many of Latin origin, often grotesquely invented. At the Latin school he followed the Italian school of Ion Heliade-Rădulescu (1802-1872) and Gheorghe Asachi (1788-1869), who, respectively in Wallachia and Moldavia, introduced the influence of the Italian language and literature. However, while Asachi kept close to the more strictly literary field, I. Heliade-Rădulescu, alongside an intense activity as a critic and translator, also carried out a philological of Slavic origin with as many derived from Italian and transforming, especially in the second period of his activity as a philologist, the Romanian language in a Romanian-Italian comic jargon, to the point of provoking a violent reaction, by which almost all the proscribed Slavic words resumed their place in the language. The most important of his philological writings is theParallelism între dialectul italian ş i român (1841), in which Romanian is considered as a dialect of Italian; but his literary work is very varied: he founded (1829) the first Wallachian political newspaper: Curierul Românesc and, in 1836, the first literary magazine: Curierul de Ambe Sexe (Corriere d’ambo i sessi); it laid the foundations of a Societate Filarmonică, which constituted the first germ of the current Teatrul Naţional. The organ of this society was the Gazeta Teatrului, which was the first Romanian newspaper of theatrical criticism, also founded by the Heliade. In addition to an epic poem on the deeds of Michael the Bravo entitled Mihaida, in which the influence of the Jerusalem Liberated is often felt, and several original lyric poems, including the one entitled Sbur ă torul (The Vampire) deserves to be remembered for the ease and fluency of the verse and for the delicacy of some natural descriptions, he translated from Italian the first five cantos of the Divina Comedy, several songs from Gerusalemme Liberata, a few octaves from Orlando Furioso, poems by Rolli, Vittorelli, Pindemonte.

Gheorghe Asachi was to Moldavia what Heliade-Rădulescu was to Wallachia. The most salient episode of his life was the love for Bianca Milesi, the well-known admirer of Alfieri and one of the most active “gardener” of our Risorgimento. He met her in Rome in Canova’s studio that they both frequented and wrote for her about a “Roman literary society”, of which we no longer know anything, and first published in the columns of a literary journal entitled Il Campidoglio, which apparently was the organ of said society, then in a volume of Poezii, accompanying them with a translation into Romanian verses. Returning to his homeland, he founded the Albina Româneasc ă (The Romanian Ape), whose motto recalls the well-known verses of the Meli and that,Curierul de Ambe Sexe by Heliade-Rădulescu, abounds with articles referring to Italy. Full of heartfelt admiration is his Oda la Italia, although Asachi’s Italy was only the usual “land of sounds, songs, poems” dear to the romantics, not the one that at the time he lived in Rome, already sharpened in the shadows the swords that would soon shine in the sun of the battles of the Risorgimento.

We can reconnect the literary activity of the Transylvanian Ioan Budai-Deleanu (1764-1820) to the Latinist and Italianist current who, in addition to a Romanian grammar in Latin and other philological writings still unpublished at the Romanian Academy Library, wrote a interesting heroic- comic poem in imitation of Tassoni ‘s Secchia rapita entitled Ţ iganitada, and, in Romania proper, that of Ienăchiţă Văcărescu (1740-1798), author of short poems, in which, as in those of Costache Conachi (1777-1849) and Costache Stamati (1777-1868), one also feels the influence of the anacreontic poetry of the neo-Hellenic poet A. Christópoulos. His sons Alecu and Niculae and his nephew Iancu, translator of Attilio Regoloof Metastasio, but also of classical French tragedies, together with Alecu Beldiman (1760-1826), underwent all the influences (Latinist, Italianist, Neo-Hellenic and French) of their time, and can therefore only be placed in a separate group, which could be defined as “transitional”.

It will now be necessary to go back a little to grasp the first signs of that French influence which over time had to assume such proportions as to provoke the protests of the Iorga in the first years of its political activity and also recently lively reactions, especially in the columns of the Vremea magazine.. The first germs of this culture were brought to Moldavia and Wallachia by the Phanariot princes (v.), Who called to their court French secretaries and tutors, who contributed a lot to the spread of the language, and with the language, of the French culture. But there were also other concomitant causes, such as, p. e.g., the Russian occupation of Moldova, which brought the elegant world into contact with Russian officers (almost all of French culture) and determined, with the abandonment of caftans and enormous hats (islic) of oriental type, the fashion of travels to Paris and of the French language as a parlor language and elegant meeting places. Then there was the French Revolution which forced many intellectuals to emigrate and earn their living by teaching their language. The pupils of these tutors, often highly educated, naturally preferred the university of Paris to the Italian, German and Polish ones they had attended until then and French culture became more and more that essential historical reasons had eliminated, it represented Latin culture for Romania alive in its most assimilable modern form and was fertile in artistic and literary results.

This French influence, whose true representative is Alexandrescu, was tempered in the others by a new tendency of an eminently national character, which began to appear after 1840 and aims to react against the exaggerations of the Latinist and Italianist schools.. Drawing her inspiration from popular and national traditions, she managed to merge the Wallachian literary movement with the Moldovan one. The main representative of this new current was Mihail Kogălniceanu (1817-1891), scholar and politician, who had made his studies in France and Germany at the time of the Junges Deutschland, to whose tendencies he adhered, and who, in his Dacia magazine Literar ăhe advocated the unification of the Romanian nation by means of culture. Then the ancient chronicles and popular songs began to be published and the Romanian language was enriched with a large quantity of words and literary expressions caught on the lips of the people. From the theoretical point of view, the most active collaborators of the Kogălniceanu were Niculae Bălcescu (1819-1852) and Alecu Russo (1819-1859), the first of whom wrote in the purest and most elegant Romanian language, which had never been used before him, his Istoria Românilor sub Mihai – Vod ă Viteazul (History of the Romanians under Michael the Bravo), the other a poem in biblical verses entitled Cântarea României(Canticle of Romania), which was probably inspired by him, rather than by the Paroles d’un croyant of Lamennais, with which he has nothing in common but the biblical form, from the pages of Mazzini Ai Giovani d’Italia. But, among the followers of the literary theories of the Kogălniceanu, the most important from the literary point of view is without any doubt Costache Negruzzi (1808-1868), who, in addition to a poem entitled Aprodul Purice (The page is taken from an episode of the ancient Romanian chronicles, he is known above all as a short story writer and author of that true masterpiece which is Alexandru L ă pu ş neanu, a vigorous historical story also taken from an episode in the life of this ferocious Romanian prince. Although, as adherent to the program of the Kogălniceanu, Negruzzi is inspired by preference from the ancient chronicles, at the same time he is affected by the French literary influence above all of Mérimée, from whom he translated, locating it in Romania with the title of Toderic ă, the novella Federigo.
If, on the one hand, as collector and first publisher (1866) of Romanian folk songs (Poezii populare ale Românilor) also Vasile Alecsandri (1819-1890) must be considered closely linked to the literary movement of the Dacia Literar ă, on the other hand as poet, prose writer and above all as a playwright and playwright, he appears to us under a preponderant French influence. After the death of his mother, he retired to his estate in Mirceşti and there he composed original poems of popular movement which he collected under the title of Doine and which aroused great admiration. The pain of the loss of his beloved woman, who died of consumption while returning with the poet from a trip to Italy, inspired the verses, collected under the title L ăcrimioare, which means in Romanian “lilies of the valley” but also “tears” (famous, among other poems, Stelut ă, “Stellina”); but his fame is recommended above all to Pastele (Pastelli), short poems in which landscapes and rural scenes are described. As a dramatic writer Alecsandri as well as some vaudevilles in prose and verse, such as, p. eg, Coana Chirita la Ia ş i (The sora Chirita in Iaşi), wrote some plays of great value such as Ovidiu, Fântâna Blandusiei, Lipitorile satelor (The leeches of the villages), Barbu L ă utarul, etc. In prose he wrote travel descriptions, reports of his diplomatic missions and a short story (Buchetiera din Floren ţ ă) on Italian subjects.

Representative of the current of Dacia Literar ă (but more in name than in fact, since his literary work appears entirely under the influence of French literature), was Grigore Alexandrescu (1812-1885) who in satires, in his fables and above all in his Elegii, which are considered to be the most beautiful of Romanian literature, he was influenced by the Méditations of Lamartine, the Ruines del Volney, the Satires and the Art poétique del Boileau, and the fables of Lafontaine.

The French influence is also affected by Dimitrie Bolintineanu (1819-1872) of Macedo-Romanian origin, who published his Brises d’Orient in French and, from Andrea Chénier’s Captive, drew inspiration for his elegy O fat ă tân ă r ă pe patul mor ţ ii (A girl on her deathbed). Extremely fruitful, colorful, often elegant, harmonious and varied in meters, the Bolintineanu is an unequal and often verbose poet. In almost all of his lyrics there are beautiful stanzas, but he doesn’t know how to stop in time and the lyrical intuition is too often drowned in too many words. He collected his lyrics in several volumes entitled: Legende istorice,Florile Bosforului, Basme, Macedonèle (Poems of Macedonia), Reverii.

With Tito Maiorescu (1840-1917) and the literary society he founded Junimea(Youth) the French influence suffers a momentary interruption. He was one of the most important spiritual leaders of modern Romania, initiator of a movement of reform not only critical and literary, but also political and, in a certain sense, human, as he proposed to replace the ancient with a new ideal of life., consisting of a harmonious fusion of all the different activities of the spirit in a unity of aristocratic, albeit a bit cold, mannered and academic balance. Introducer of German philosophy in Romania, especially Kantian and Schopenhauerian, he was the first to affirm the need for Romanian culture to free itself from any political and national preoccupation, following the scientific method of research and study of sources. All ‘ Rampant French influence tried to replace that of German thought and culture, successfully opposed the carelessness of the writers of the time and waged relentless war on the exaggerations of both Latinists and Italianists. Organ of theJunimea was a magazine entitled Convorbiri Literare (Literary Conversations) and the actual direction was entrusted to the storyteller Iacob Negruzzi, who died in 1933 after having been secretary and then president of the Romanian Academy. Maiorescu left three volumes of Critice (Critical essays), among which interesting even today are those on the personality and poetry of Mihail Eminescu, the article entitled Directia nou ă (The new current) and an essay full of insight and common sense against the empty and bombastic style, true Be ţ ia de cuvinte (Intoxication of words), of many contemporary writers.
At Maiorescu, at Convorbiri Literareand to its director Iacob Negruzzi we owe the discovery of the greatest poetic genius that Romania ever had: Mihail Eminescu, who still today exerts his influence on the new generation, oriented towards new artistic purposes, and who, in any case, is always I live in the conscience and sensitivity of the readers. First imitator of the Alecsandri and the varied and sonorous meters of the Bolintineanu, Eminescu affirmed his powerful poetic personality at a very young age with a new, very sweet and serene harmony that he knew how to impress on Romanian poetry. A profound connoisseur of German poetry, very few influences can be seen in his verses of the poems of Goethe, Schiller, Heine and Lenau, who were his favorite poets. Pessimistic and fed by Schopenhauer’s philosophy, with sporadic influences of Buddhism, he is distinguished by his particular vision of life; for a fresh, deep, intimate sense of nature, for which he represents the most sincere and indigenous interpreter of the Romanian landscape; for his constant enthusiasm for history, traditions and above all for Romanian folk poetry; finally for a certain serenity of his in the pain that makes him look down on human passions. But what distinguishes Eminescu from any other Romanian poet is his musicality; profoundly and intimately Romanian musicality like that of the finally for a certain serenity of his in the pain that makes him look down on human passions. But what distinguishes Eminescu from any other Romanian poet is his musicality; profoundly and intimately Romanian musicality like that of the finally for a certain serenity of his in the pain that makes him look down on human passions. But what distinguishes Eminescu from any other Romanian poet is his musicality; profoundly and intimately Romanian musicality like that of thedoina, the sweet song of love and pain characteristic of the Romanian people. Eminescu also wrote in prose: a novel Geniu pustiu (Barren Genius), three short stories: S ă rmanul Dionis (Poor Dionysius), La aniversar ă (An anniversary), Cezar ă (Cesira) and a lovely folk-style fairy tale entitled: F ă t – Frumos din lacrim ă (The Reuccio son of a tear) and numerous political and social articles, many of which are true masterpieces of common sense, of an exact vision of reality, of historical and social insights.

Of Eminescu’s followers, Alexandru Vlahuļă (1858-1919) certainly deserves to be noted for a certain originality of his attitudes in the best poems. Pessimistic by nature, however, Vlahuţă finds refuge in religion and several of the poems inspired by this sentiment are worthy of attention. He also cultivated social poetry by inveighing against the so-called injustices and faults of bourgeois society with accents of a vague, superficial and tearful socialism. In prose he wrote a novel: Dan, the life of the great painter Grigorescu, his friend and a kind of guide to the Romanian landscape entitled România pitoreasc ă (Picturesque Romania).

A frequenter of the meetings of the Convorbiri and very dear to the Maiorescu was another poet of predominantly German culture: Gheorghe Coşbuc (1866-1918), who translated the Divine Comedy into magnificent triplets. As a local technique and color, the lyrics of Coşbuc are sometimes superior to those of Eminescu himself, of which however he does not reach the depth of thought. Poet of the peasants; as he liked to call himself, he sang not only the material aspirations to possess the land in the poem entitled: Noi vrem p ă mânt (We want the land), but the uses, customs and legends with a delicacy of touches, reminiscent of the harmonious colors of embroideries and popular carpets, reaching in two of his poems:Mortea lui Fulger (The death of Thunderbolt) and Nunta Zamfirei (The wedding of Zanfira), such perfection of inspiration and form, to make them two true masterpieces of the genre. In addition to the volumes of verses entitled Balade ş i Idile (Ballads and Idillî), Feri de tort (Twisted threads) and Ziarul unui pierde – var ă (Notebook d’un perdigiorni), Coşbuc wrote in prose Povestea unei Coroane de o ţ el (Tale of a Steel Crown), which contains a short history of the Romanian national revival and many translations from classical and modern languages ​​and even Sanskrit (Sacuntala), not always performed directly, but with the help of German translations.

Ion Creangă (1837-1889), who, of his kind, can be considered one of the greatest Romanian writers, also belonged to the cenacle of Junimea, where he had Eminescu as an introducer. Son of wealthy peasants, he took the cassock as a young man, which he soon abandoned, however, not fitting his free and unscrupulous nature. He was very friendly with Eminescu, and, like him, in love with popular art. Of him there remain the delightful Amintiri de copil ă rie (Childhood memories) and many fables and legends written in the language of the Romanian peasants, but cleaned up and brought by him to the maximum of elegance and art. Among these fables and legends we will mention as the most characteristic: Capra cu trei iezi (The goat with three kids),Soacra cu trei nurori (The mother-in-law with three daughters-in-law), Pungu ţ a cu trei bani (The bag with three pennies), Harap alb (The white moor) and Mo ş Nichifor co ţ carul (Uncle Niceforo the mischievous).

A writer who of the cult of form, understood not as a stylistic artifice, but as a restraint and laborious search for the clearest and most concise expression was Ion Luca Carageale (1852-1912), above all a drama author, but also short story writer of the greatest of the most great that Romania has had. Witty and mocking spirit, intolerant of adaptations, he spent his life in continuous attempts to earn his bread while remaining as free and independent as possible. In 1888 he was director of the National Theater of Bucharest, on the stages of which he performed the comedies O noapte furtunoas ă (A devilish night), Conu Leonida fa ţ ă cu reac ṭ iunea (Sor Leonidas struggling with reaction),U scrisoare pierdut ă (A lost letter), De ale Carnavalului (Things that happen during Carnival) and the powerful drama N ă pasta (The misfortune). His most famous short stories are: O f ă clie de Pa ş ti (An Easter candle), P ă cat (Sin), La hanul lui Mânjoal ă (At the Mânjoală tavern); but also among his humorous sketches, gathered under the title of: Momente, schi ţ e, amintiri (Moments, sketches and memories) there are very original and hilarious ones.

Alexandru odobescu (1834-1895) in addition to being a valuable archaeologist and historian, is especially interesting as a storyteller (Doamna Chiajna, Mihnea – Vod ă – cel – R ă u) and as the author of that very original libretto which is the Pseudokineghetikòs ( Pseudo-treatise on hunting), in which, under the color of wanting to compose a treatise on kinegetics, he talks about the most varied issues in a playful style, but full of attractions also for the varied and profound culture from which everything is pervaded.

Elegant novelist was also Niculae Gane (1835-1916), who also belonged to the Junimea and translated the Inferno into irregular triplets, too often moving away from the Dante text.
Ion Ghica (1816-1897), in his interesting Writers c ă three Vasile Alecsandri (Letters to Vasile Alecsandri), containing an infinity of information on the men and things of ancient Romania, reveals himself to be an elegant and witty writer, so that his prose, in addition to documentary importance, acquires artistic and literary importance.

Thus we come to Delavrancea Barbu (1858-1918), novelist, playwright, orator and politician, whose dramatic trilogy Apus de soare (Sunset), Viforul (the turbines) and Luceaf ă rul (Morning Star), though the affected double influence of Shakespeare and D’Annunzio, it represents something new in Romanian dramatic literature, which, up to him, with the exception of N ă pasta di Carageale, had not risen too boldly. Among his short stories, Sultanica and Hagi Tudose are among the best in Romanian fiction literature. In 1907 he commemorated Giosue Carducci at the Romanian Athenaeum with a warm and noble prayer.

In love with the beauty of the Italian landscape, art and literature was also Duiliu Zamfirescu (1858-1922), who translated many of Leopardi’s poems and was inspired by Carducci’s Barbarian Odes. He spent several years in Rome as a legation secretary. The classicism of Zamfirescu’s poems consists, however, more than in the imitation of the classics, in a certain tendency towards purity of line and harmony of composition. His short stories on Italian subject and the novel Lydda are unsuccessful attempts, but his passion for beauty shines through all his letters from Rome to friends. The masterpiece of this aristocrat, albeit a bit mannered, artist figure,tilor (The Comăneşti family) entitled Via ţ a la ţ ar ă (Life in the countryside) which can be considered the first Romanian novel to match those of the West. Above all the type of the protagonist, the unforgettable Sascia, inspired by a very delicate female soul known when he was legation secretary in Brussels, and the poetry of the family life of the ancient families of boers who still lived on their lands, in contrast with the coarseness of the enriched peasants who, little by little, were taking their place, make this delicate novel a jewel of Romanian fiction literature. The others that followed: Tanase Scatiu ; În r ăsboiu (At war); Anna, sau ceeace nu se poate (Anna, or what is not possible), despite being rich in many qualities, do not reach the height of the first.

The storytellers Ion Slavici (1848-1925) also belonged to the Junimea current, an attentive observer and happy descriptor of the small primitive, industrious and patriarchal world of the villages of Transylvania; Ioan Popovici Bănăţeanu (1868-1893) who, in the volume entitled Din via ţ a meseria ş ilor, describes the life of the Romanian workers in Banat; and above all Ion Brătescu-Voineşti (born in 1868) who, in the volumes În lumea Drept ă ţ ii (In the world of Justice), Intuneric ş i lumin ă (Darkness and light), R ă t ă cire (Traviamento),Firimituri (Briciole), turns out to be a delicate writer, an engraver full of grace, impeccable in the cutting of the story, a poet of the weak and vanquished, a singer of pure and healthy family joys. An exquisite, though not very fruitful, narrator, he is, with Sădoveanu, one of the masters of Romanian short story.

At this point the literary movement intervenes which was said of the “Sămănătorul” (The sower) by the magazine of this name, founded towards the end of 1881, probably with other intentions than those it later had, from Coşbuc and Vlahuţă, but which, through the work of his critic Niculae Iorga (born in 1871) is linked to the trend, already advocated by Kogălniceanu in his Dacia Literar ă, towards a literature inspired by the sound national tradition. A highly cultivated man, founder, leader and theorist of the Romanian nationalist party, the Iorga, who is also a literate and writer of much merit, poet and dramatic author, illustrious historian, vigorous journalist and orator of the greatest that Romania has ever had, not he advocated a sterile literary nationalism in the magazine of which he soon assumed the effective direction, but decidedly took sides against the exclusive influence of this or that foreign literature. The pages of S ă m ă n ă torul, like those of the other literary newspapers and magazines he founded and later directed (Floarea D ă rurilor, Drum drept, R ă muri, etc.), are full of very successful translations from the most varied foreign literatures that he knows perfectly, but they mainly host original prose and poems inspired by Romanian national life (rural in its essence), whose most brilliant interpreter, Mihail Sădoveanu, he was the first to discover and encourage by welcoming the first still uncertain sages in S ă m ă n ă torul. The scientific and literary work of the Iorga is so vast that it is difficult to talk about it briefly. We will therefore only recall the more literary volumes, that is, the one entitled O lupt ă literar ă(A literary struggle) in which he collected the critical articles published by him in S ă m ă n ă torul, the one that includes the collection of his poems (Opera poetic ă), some of his most successful plays: Un Domn pribeag (A prince in exile), Doamna lui Ieremie (Prince Jeremiah’s wife), Cleopatra, Sfântu Francisc, his delightful volumes of travels through the different provinces of Romania, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc., his History Romînilor în chipuri ş i icoane(History of Romania in portraits and icons), his very erudite Istoria Literaturii Romîne in five large volumes, and the most recent autobiographical essays: Memorii, Subt trei Regi (Under three kings), Via ţ a unui om (The life of a man).

Reviews full of common sense and fighting spirit also wrote the Transylvanian critic Ilarie Chendi (1872-1913) in S ă m ă n ă torul. In addition to Sadoveanu, took part in the movement of the S ă m ă n ă Torul the storytellers Emil Gârleanu (1878-1914), rievocatore the patriarchal and Eastern limply life of the ancient boyars in the volume entitled B ă trânii (Old) and that of animals in Din lumea celor ce nu cuvânt ă (In the world of those who do not speak); Callistrăt Hogaş (1847-1916), who, in the two volumes Pe drumuri de munte(For alpine trails) and In mun ţ ii Neam ţ ului(Among the mountains of Neamt), he describes his delightful wanderings in a style, vaguely reminiscent of that of Panzini; Ion Agârbiceanu (born in 1882) author of novels with a somewhat preaching tendency on the life of the Transylvanian bourgeoisie; Gala Galaction (born in 1879), whose mysticism, often tainted with sensualism, is of interest for a powerful note of sincerity, which reveals an ardent soul and perpetual conflict with itself; Ion Drăgoslav (died 1928), who, in his short stories and popular legends, shows himself to be a follower of Creangă; Ştefan Octavian Iosif (1875-1913), elegiac poet; Dimitrie Anghel (1872-1914), refined poet, who, in a certain sense, anticipates symbolism and wrote in collaboration with the Iosif most of his poems (powerful the one entitled Vezuviul); Panait Cerna (1881-1913), who, in his philosophical poems, took up the tradition of Eminescu; Octavian Goga (born in 1879), who, in melancholy notes, sings the suffering of the Romanians of Transylvania under foreign oppression and internal strife, for which he wishes he had never left the plow for the pen.
To “seminatism” and to that subsequent variety which was called poporanism and had its critic in Garabet Ibrăileanu (Spiritul critic în cultura româneasc ă ; Writers ş i curente ; Roman writers ş i str ă ini ; Note ţ i Impresi ; Studii Literare) and his magazine Via ţ a Romaneasc ă(Romanian life), some poets opposed at first, such as Zamfirescu, whose inaugural speech at the Romanian Academy was all a deep charge against popular poetry; Alexandru Macedonski (1854-1920), whose two volumes of poems: Flori Sacre (Sacred flowers) and Cartea nestematelor (The book of jewels) anticipate symbolism; until Ovid Densusianu, professor of Romance philology at the University of Bucharest and a delicate poet himself under the pseudonym of Ervin, with a fiercely fought struggle for twenty years in a row in his Way ; ta Nou ă(Vita Nuova), affirmed the rights of the new symbolist school, followed later by Eugen Lovinescu, pupil of Faguet and first impressionist, then decidedly “modernist” (vol. 12 of Critice ; Istoria civilizatiei Române Moderne, in vol. 3; Istoria Literaturii Ronlâne Contimporane, in vol. 4), who, in his review Sbur ă torul and with the cenacle of the same name, is also now the leader of avant-garde Romanian literature.

Here we mention the social criticism of C. Dobrogeanu-Gherea (1852-1920) and that of Mihail Dragomirescu, professor of literary aesthetics at the University of Bucharest (Stiin ţ a Literaturii ; Critica ş tiin ţ ific ă ş i Eminesm ; Dela misticism la ra ţ ionalism), who broke away at a certain point from the Convorbiri Literare, founded and directed the Convorbiri Critice, inaugurating his own critical system based on the theory of the masterpiece, with a perhaps overwhelming tendency to systematize and classify works of art with somewhat artificial distinctions of plasticity, tonality, emotionality, etc., but which discovered many talents of prose writers, poets and dramatic authors, who later developed independent of each school and are today among the best representatives of contemporary Romanian literature. Among the very young critics we must mention Ion Trivale, follower of Dragomirescu and died fighting for his homeland; Pompiliu Costantinescu, a follower of Lovinescu, and above all Gheorghe Calinescu, whose very recent Via ţ a lui Eminescu is a true masterpiece of scientific seriousness and good taste.

Romania Literature