The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #3 May / June 2013
Word on the Streets
Romanian Poets
by Sofia Ozols
May / June 2013 | 

The streets of Parleremo are named after famous writers for the language of each quarter. This is where we take a quick look at why they famous.
Bulevardul Mihai Eminescu

Mihai Eminescu
15 January 1850 – 15 June 1889

Mihai Eminescu is considered the greatest Romanian poet of the 19th century, and some would say he is the best known Romanian poet of all time. He was a Romantic poet, novelist and journalist who introduced a new spirit into Romanian poetry. Drawing heavily on mystical and historical subjects, his writings glorified the Romanian past while criticising the society of contemporary Romania, both directly and through satire. But he was also a melancholy person, and much of his poetry has a feeling of sadness and impending doom.

Eminescu was born on January 15, 1850, although some records, including his own claims, have the date as December 20th, 1849. He was born in Ipateshti, near Botoshani, in the north of Moldavia. His surname was originally Emin, but this was changed to Eminovici (his farther was Gheorghe Eminovici) and finally to the Romanian Eminescu. The last change was chosen by publisher Iosif Vulcan when he started publishing the boy's work, for Vulcan disliked the Slavic suffix "-ici" of the young poet's last name and wanted it to be "more Romanian".

He attended school in Czernowitz, spent some time the civil service, then returned to studying in Transylvania in 1864. In January of 1866, Romanian teacher Aron Pumnul died and his students published a pamphlet, Lăcrămioarele învăţăceilor gimnaziaşti (Tears of the Gymnasium Students), in his memory. In this was published many pieces by the students, including the poem La mormântul lui Aron Pumnul (At the Grave of Aron Pumnul) by then 16 year old Eminescu. This was the start of his poetry writing.

While in Transylvania, he joined a theatrical company where he worked at the various positions of actor, prompter and stage manager for a few years. During this time, he continued to write and publish poems and worked on a novel Geniu pustiu (Wasted Genius).

He went to Vienna at the age of 19 in 1869 to study and remained there until 1872. There he attended many lectures, especially on philosophy, and had a very active student life. He became a contributor to Convorbiri literare (Literary Conversations) and, in 1870, he wrote three articles (under the pseudonym "Varro") in Federaţiunea, on the situation of Romanians and other minorities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He later became a journalist for the newspaper Albina (The Bee). From 1872 to 1874 he was a student in Berlin, with the help of a stipend offered by Junimea, the Romanian literary society that edited Federaţiunea.

Thanks to his friendship with Titu Maiorescu, the leader of Junimea, Eminescu worked as the director of the Central Library in Iaşi, a substitute teacher and editor of the newspaper Curierul de Iaşi (The Courier of Iaşi) from 1874 to 1877. After that, he moved to Bucharest where he worked as a journalist and then editor-in-chief of the newspaper Timpul (The Time). He continued his own writings all through this, including Scrisorile and Luceafărul.

Eminescu fell seriously ill In June of 1883 and entered the hospital of Dr. Şuţu. During his last years, he suffered from manic-depressive psychosis, a hereditary disease of his family, and he finally died in the hospital on June 15, 1889. He was buried in Bucharest at Bellu Cemetery.

Eminescu's presence is found extensively throughout modern Romania. Statues of him are everywhere and he even appeared on the 1000-lei banknote issued in 1998 and is on the new 500-lei banknote issued in 2005. There are many schools and institutions which are named after him, and the anniversaries of both his birth and death are celebrated each year in many Romanian cities.

Most Famous
• Lacul, 1876 [The Lake]
• Luceafărul, 1883 [The Vesper]
• Mai am un singur dor, 1883 [I Have Yet One Desire]
• Odă (în metru antic), 1883 [Ode (in Ancient Meter]
• Şi dacă, 1883 [And if...]
• Doina, 1884
• Dorinţa, 1884 [Desire]
• Epigonii, 1884 [Epigones]
• Floare albastră, 1884 [Blue Flower]
• O, rămii, 1884 [Oh, Linger On]
• Sara pe deal, 1885 [Evening on the Hill]
• La Steaua,1886 [At Star]
• Scrisori [Letters or "Epistles-Satires"]

• Adio [Farewell]
• Atit de frageda [So delicate]
• Calin (file din poveste) [Calin (pages from a tale)]
• Ce e amorul? [What is love...]
• Ce te legeni codrule [Why do you wail, o forest trees]
• Cezara (Caesara)
• Cind amintirile [When memory]
• Craiasa din povesti [Legendary queen]
• Criticilor mei [To the critics]
• Cu maine zilele-ti adaogi... [With life's tomorrow time you grasp]
• Dalila (Scrisoarea V) [Delilah (satire v)]
• De ce nu-mi vii? [Why don't you come?]
• De cite ori, iubito [How many a time, beloved]
• De-or trece anii [Although the world]
• Departe sunt de tine [Now far i am from you]
• Despartire [Separation]
• Diana [Diana]
• Din valurile vremii [The waves of time]
• Dintre sute de catarge [Of all the ships]
• Dupa ce atita vreme [So long, dear one, since you departed]
• Egipetul [Egypt]
• Făt-Frumos din lacrimă [The Tear Drop Prince]
• Freamat de codru [The murmur of the forest]
• Geniu pustiu [Empty Genius]
• Glosa [Gloss]
• Imparat si proletar [Emperor and proletarian]
• Inger de paza [Guardian angel]
• Inger si demon [Angel and demon]
• Kamadeva [Kamadeva]
• La mijloc de codru [Midst the dense old forest stout]
• Lasa-ti lumea... [Come dear, set your world apart]
• Melancolie [Melancholy]
• Mortua est [Mortua est]
• Nu ma intelegi [You never knew my soul]
• O, mama [O, mother...]
• Oricite stele... [How many a star burns...]
• Pajul Cupidon... [Cupid]
• Pe aceeasi ulicioara... [Beats the moon upon my window ]
• Pe linga plopii fara sot... [Down where the lonely poplars grow]
• Peste virfuri [O'er the woods]
• Povestea codrului [The tale of the forest]
• Revedere [Return]
• Rugaciunea unui dac [A Dacian's prayer]
• Sărmanul Dionis [Wretched Dionis]
• S-a dus amorul [Fair love, our mutual friend]
• Scrisoarea I [Satire I]
• Scrisoarea II [Satire II]
• Scrisoarea III [Satire III]
• Scrisoarea IV [Satire IV]
• Se bate miezul noptii [The brazen bells of midnight...]
• Singuratate [Solitude]
• Somnoroase pasarele [Drowsy birds]
• Sonet I [Sonnet I]
• Sonet II [Sonnet II]
• Sonet III [Sonnet III]
• Sonet IV [Sonnet IV]
• Sonet V [Sonnet V]
• Sonet VI [Sonnet VI]
• Stelele-n cer [High o'er the main]
• Strigoii [Ghosts]
• Te duci [You go]
• Venere si Madona [Venus and Madonna]

Some of Eminescu's works online

Strada Vasile Alecsandri

Vasile Alecsandri
21 July 1821 – 22 August 1890

Vasile Alecsandri was one of the leading Romanian poets, playwrights, political and diplomatic figures of the 19th century. His works inspired and influenced other Romanian writers during his time and long after his death. He collected Romanian folksongs and poetry and his own poetry and heroic dramas were highly successful.

Alecsandri was born in the Moldavian town of Bacău and was one of three surviving children out of seven. He was educated privately at the Victor Cuenim "pensionnat", an elite boarding school for boys in Iaşi, until the age of 13, when he was sent to Paris. There he studied law, literature and medicine. But his only true love was for literature, and he wrote his first essays in 1838 in French.

In 1839, Alecsandri returned to Iaşi and started working in the Treasury of Moldova. During this time, he published and promoted, along with several other young intellectuals, the idea of rebellion against the administration imposed by Imperial Russian authorities upon Moldova. While working with the underground, he frequently visited the Costache Negri estate, which was a center for Muntenian and Moldovan reformers.

It was there that he fell in love with the 21-year old and recently divorced Elena Negri, sister of Costache. Elena returned his affections and Alecsandri began writing love poems to her. A sudden illness forced Elena to head abroad to Venice, however, and Alecsandri met her there. They became lovers and traveled around to Austria, Germany and France before Elena's chest illness became more aggravated, forcing them to return home in 1847. Before they arrived, Elena died on the ship in Alecsandri's arms. Alecsandri was devastated, but channeled his mourning into a poem, Steluţa (Little Star). He also later dedicated his Lăcrimioare (Little Tears) collection of poems to her.

The political situation in Moldova continued to escalate and 1848, Prince Mihail Sturdza invited some of the young idealists, including Alecsandri, to a meeting to present their complaints. In response, Alecsandri co-wrote a manifesto, Dorinţele partidei naţionale din Moldova (Wishes of the National Party of Moldavia), for the revolutionaries, promoting the ideas of union and liberty. He also wrote his poem-manifesto Desteptarea Romaniei (Romania's Awakening), urging the public to join in the cause. Despite all this, the revolution failed, and Alecsandri fled to Transylvania to avoid arrest.

He continued writing his politically charged poetry and became even more of a unionist, pushing for the union of Moldavia and Wallachia. A few months later, he moved to the Hurmuzakis in Cernauti and became the secretary of the Moldovan revolutionary committee. From that position, he issued the "Proclamation of the National Party of Moldova to All Romanians,". In September, the revolutionaries sent him to Paris to be both diplomat and propagandist, informing Europe of the Romanian national cause. He was also sent to Constantinople, Hungary and Transylvania to promote the ideas, and settled in Paris.

When the liberal unionist Prince Grigore Ghica replaced Prince Mihail Sturdza in 1849, he invited Alecsandri back to Moldova and made him State Archivist. Among his nationalist and unionist activities, Alecsandri published the journal Romania Literara in 1855, his Hora Unirii in 1856, and he eventually became one of his key advisers to newly elected Alexandru Ioan Cuza in 1859.

During this time, Alecsandri also found love again with Paulina Lucasievici, the daughter of an innkeeper. They moved in together at Alecsandri's estate at Mirceşti and their daughter Maria was born in 1857. When the two Romanian provinces were finally united, he was appointed minister of External Affairs and toured the West, pleading for acknowledgement of the newly formed nation and support its emergence. However, after a few years the touring tired him and in 1860 he settled in Mirceşti. He married Paulina in 1876.

In the years between 1862 and 1875, Alecsandri was prolific and wrote 40 lyrical poems. He also tried writing epic poems and published them as a collection "Legende". He even dedicated a series of poems to the soldiers who had participated in the Romanian War of Independence. He received the award of the Romanian Academy for his drama Despot-Vodă in 1879 and in 1881 he wrote Trăiască Regele (Long Live the King), which became the national anthem of the Kingdom of Romania. Alecsandri finally died in 1890 at his estate in Mirceşti after a long battle with cancer.

Partial Bibliography
Doine (1842-1852)
• Doina
• Strunga
• Andrii-Popa
• Baba Cloanţa
• Hora
• Groza
• Cinel-cinel
• Dorul româncei
• Cântec ostăşesc

Lăcrimioare [Tears]
• Steluţa
• Gondoleta
• Pe mare
• Adio
• Lăcrimioare

Suvenire [Souvenirs]
• Pe un album
• Adio Moldovei

Mărgăritarele (1852-1862) [Pearls]
• Hora unirii
• Deşteptarea României
• Sentinela română
• Muntele de foc
• Înşiră te, mărgărite
• Stelele

Pasteluri (1862-187...) [Pastels]
• Miezul iernii
• Gerul
• Bradul
• Sania
• La gura sobei
• Noaptea
• Dimineaţa
• Fântâna
• Malul Siretului

Varia [Various]
• Soarele, vântul şi gerul
• Imn lui Ştefan cel Mare
• Ştefan Vodă şi codru
• Ştefan şi Dunărea

Legende [Legends]
• Cuza Vodă
• Dan, căpitan de plai
• Legenda rândunicăi
• Legenda ciocârliei
• Legenda lăcrimioarei

Ostaşii noştri [Our soldiers]
• Peneş Curcanul
• Sergentul
• Oda ostaşilor români
• Hora de la Plevna

Din periodice [Of the period]
• 15 mai 1848
• Ţara

Postume [Posthumously]
• Fluierul
• Romanţa de toamnă

Some of Alecsandri's works online

Word on the Streets - Romanian Poets
Writer: Sofia Ozols
Petey: Romanian street, Eminescu, Alecsandri
• "Mihai Eminescu" Wikipedia <>
• "Mihai Eminescu" NNDB <>
• "Mihai Eminescu" Polymer Notes <>
• "Vasile Alecsandri" Wikipedia <>
• "Vasile Alecsandri" Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions <>

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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