Romania and Eminescu
Petru Dumitru

           For the first time, in 1930, Sylvia Pankhurst and I. O. Stefanovici gave voice in English to the verse of our greatest poet, Mihai Eminescu. The volume was prefaced by two titans of the time: Nicolae Iorga and George Bernard
Shaw. 

          One of the most recent anthologies of Romanian poetry, apart from the present one was issued in London, edited and translated by Roy MacGregor- Hastie, in 1969. In his “Introduction” the author also refers to Romania:  “Tourists and businessmen have discovered not only a country of great beauty, but also a modern state with flourishing agriculture and industry. It has come as a great surprise to some to discover that Bucharest had petrol- vapour street lighting as long ago as 1861, is a city which in springtime is as invigorating as Paris and is alive and full of bustle, of theatres, art galleries, libraries and concert halls…The Romans settled in Dacia, and gave the country as a whole its language, still the nearest and the eldest sister of Latin… Ovid, exiled to the Black Sea coast, noted, could not defeat the women of the country who married centurions and legionaries alike. One way or another, Ovid said, a man who comes here is destined to die here, and die happy even against his will.” 

            Romania’s greatest romantic poet, Mihai Eminescu, was born at Ipotesti, Botosani. He attended elementary and secondary school in Cernãuti. He travelled all over Romania, in 1867, when he was employed as an actor and
prompter in Iorgu Caragiale’s theatrical company. He attended lectures on philosophy, history, law, political economy and philology at Vienna University. There be was among the founders of “Romania Juna”, a society of the Romanian students. He made his literary debut in “Familia”. In 1872, the poet enrolled as a student at the University of Berlin; he wrote such famous poems: “Emperor and Proletarian”, “Angel and Demon”. Once back in Iasi, the poet became director of the Central Library. Towards the end of 1877, Eminescu went to Bucharest upon accepting Titu Maiorescu’s invitation to work for “The Time” and publishes “Luceafarul”, his masterpiece. 

           The only volume of poems printed during his lifetime appeared in the same year, 1883.  

 
Petru Dumitru
Project's coordinator
School No. 10, Focsani, Romania
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