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GARABET IBRAILEANU: LITERARY STUDIES

"Eminescu is not only the greatest Romanian writer. He is an almost inexplicable occurrence in our literature. In 1870 he simply fell in the middle of our poor national literature like a meteor from some other world. One of the greatest lyrical poets of the 19th century - so rich in poets, maybe the richest - is born by chance right here, in our country, in a remote corner of Moldavia.

Therefore - if we consider the purity and profundity of his lyricism; if we think of Eminescu’s occurrence within a settled literature; if we also give a thought to his struggle with poverty, illness, narrow-mindedness and people's wickedness and we add to these the fact that, although written in very difficult circumstances, his work had been completed before he turned thirty-three (an age when a poet of such intensity of thought is just beginning to become what he is meant to be) -, we might be right in asserting that Eminescu was an offspring of nature, which embodied in him the most brilliant modern poet, but then, jealous of its own work, nature really enjoyed crushing so early the wonderful mirror where it found a charming reflection of itself.

I think that the special features of his poetry, which I shall try to define in the following sentences, might explain the matchless impression imprinted by Eminescu on the reader.

We have noticed on previous occasions that Eminescu’s lyrical poems have no ‘subject matter’ and, besides, Eminescu did not write occasional lyrics (which amounts to the same thing).

Eminescu does not celebrate the incidents of a love story, but love itself; he never praises the charms of a certain woman, but womanhood itself; he does not tell us about separate fragments of nature, corners of landscapes, but about what nature generally means. It goes without saying that he uses peculiar colours to render the general frame. However, what he really wants to give us is a general pattern - love, woman and nature."

 

(Translated by Junona Tutunea)

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