European Year for Innovation and Creativity

Eugen Lovinescu or another bridge in the wall



Ion, by Liviu Rebreanu

Eugen Lovinescu (31 October 1881—1943) is a symbol. I will use him as a bridge through the vanguardism and the modernism in Romania. As a bridge, what is more important, the bridge itself or the persons that walk on it? Anyway, he preferred the urban context, the problems of the cities, as a sign of the modern times. His nemesis was Nicolae Iorga, as it can be said so strongly. I will speak about him later.

Is the Ulysees an urban novel? Yes. It’s A la Recherche du temps perdu a urban novel? Or is it a transition between village and city? Only God and Marcel Proust know it. But Lovinescu, around his magazine Sburătorul published works “by a new generation of writers, realists to symbolists to early avant-garde”, according to Wikipedia, my perfect window. Let’s see them:

-Camil Petrescu (April 22, 1894-May 14, 1957): The king, according to Joaquín Garrigós (an important Romanian-Spanish translator and ex director of the Cervantes Institute in Bucharest). The Romanian novel obtains his first great opera with his book Patul lui Procust ("Procrustes' Bed", 1933). Petrescu, friend of the Iron Guard (and, on the contrary, friend of Mihail Sebastian!), not so sharply as Céline, contradictory, finishes his life singing hallelujahs to communism. For instance, like Jean Paul Sartre.

-Liviu Rebreanu (November 27, 1885—September 1, 1944). If Petrescu is the son, the final state, of the novel of avant-garde, Rebreanu is the author of a novel really well-known, at least in Covasint (two volumes, maybe more, in the library of the school):His novel Ion , considered “the first modern Romanian novel” (1920; thanks, Wikipedia, you are better than a rocket). Rebreanu had a stable life: Between 1928 and 1930 he was chairman of the National Theatre of Bucharest and from 1940 to 1944 he was President of the Romanian Writers' Society, until 1944, date in which he shot himself in his mouth: He was brave, but a cancer can kills all the giants and he decided to do it by his own.

-Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu (December 8, 1876- March 5, 1955): According again to Joaquín Garrigós, her novel The music concert of Bach (1927), part of the Ciclul Hallipilor or serie of four novels that tell the story of a family, can be compared also  (maybe lightly?) with Proust.

-Ion Barbu (18 March 1895–11 August 1961): I only knew about him that he was a poet and a mathematician. So poet, that was an important part of the avant-garde. So mathematic, that his job was teaching this subject and he gave many knowledges to that cience. What can I say about him? You (we) should read this poet who wrote Joc Secund (Second game), because maybe the post of the post movements in the XXI century imitate him, with that desire of joining arts and science. Although George Calinescu (the Enciclopedy Man of the Romanian Literature) says that Joc Secund is only hermetic in the language, poets like Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Valéry or Vicente Huidobro are are in his style. Perhaps Barbu is a little more panteist (and scientist, of course). I will translate directly from the spanish Wikipedia page of him (by the way, I would like to know who wrote the article in spanish, it's really complete. The mistery of the anonymous writers, sinister swans, as Borges said in other context): "Para mi la poesía es un prolongamiento de la geometría, así que, siguiendo siendo [two gerunds? Gottseidank) poeta, nunca abandoné el dominio divino de la geometría":

For me, the poetry is a prolongation of geometry, so, according to be poet, I never abandoned the divine sphere of geometry.

Or, in other words:

La poesía es el mundo purificado a través de un espejo.

He means:

Poetry is the purified world through the mirror.

-Benjamin Fondane. He was born in November 14, 1898, in Iasi. The tragedy came in the disjuntive: he died 2 or 3, 1944, in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poet, jew, Auschwitz, the words are worn-out, but the fact was that he was absorbed for that machine of evil. He was friend, so he was the door to vanguardists in many fields, like Marcel Iancu , M.H.Maxy, or Sasa Pana. Or he mantained contacts with Victoria Ocampo, that woman who could it everything. Besides that, he introduced in Romania Lev Chestov. Ce sa mai zic? Nimic!

-Ilarie Voronca (December 31, 1903—April 8, 1946). You have the minimum in Wikipedia. I only will select that: 

"He never finished his Manuel du parfait bonheur ("Manual for Perfect Happiness"), committing suicide later in the same year".

What about the Lovinescu's Nemesis? It was a tragic Nemesis. Nicolae Iorga, (January 17, 1871– November 27, 1940) the defenssor or a view more classical, more traditional, around the Sămănătorul, the man of the 1 leu notes, had a terrible destiny. Politician and historician, poet and propagandist, aromanian, lived bad times for his work-in-progress spirit and his compromise with Romania (with dark sides, of course: ultranationalism, antisemitism): just hours after the Jilava Massacre, he was murdered.