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NICOLAE IORGA: POEMS BY MIHAI EMINESCU

"As the most genuine representative of Romanian aims entirely identified with his country, Eminescu was both an European of his age. He studied in Vienna and knew several classic languages, even Sanskrit, as well as French and German. In his literary work, some features occur as related to German romantics, beside several poems inspired by lyric doina (a typical Romanian folk song) and some others inspired by the beautiful epic fairy tales of his native country. That blue flower of German romantics, the lime-trees of the land along Rhine, as well as the white cherry-tree flower from Moldavia – the enchanting flower of Romanian painter Grigorescu’s paintings – are permanent themes of Eminescu’s longing love songs. One needs a mere effort to distinguish in his poems some traces of those mocking tears typical to Alfred de Musset or traces of Alfred de Vigny’s rigid and stoic assertions (so daring in his defying attitude towards heaven and despise towards fate). Somehow too unilateral, Eminescu was labeled rather as a Shopenhauer’s follower, but he was able both to take over and create something genuine out of everything was most elevating in German philosophy impetus of his age, so proving this skill related to every other important trend of European conception of that period. There might be some others showing similar features, but no writer of his contemporaries was endowed with that marvelous gift of creating a perfect synthesis, where all influences of his age turn into unique harmony, melting together with his own voice, so strong and pure. Although his entire polemic prose proves a vast erudition, this harmony reveals at no time the deep sources where it comes out from. Complex symphony outlined by countless delicate tinges floats away, sometimes like a song of the shepard roaming with his flock, some other times like a maidenly doina hummed by the edge of a field. He is counted between those rare genius minds seeming not to speak individually, but like all his countrymen’s voices combined and embodied into one."

 

(Translated by Junona Tutunea)

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