Iasi, October 15/27, 1877
It is a terrible impoliteness of my part not answering your cable by now. Please, be so kind and do not take it amiss. Actually, this is my way of expressing an awful hesitation that I keep on feeling. Slavici had written to Jacques that things are not quite all right with Timpul (The Time). He had not been receiving his salary for months, so his letter got me confused, although leaving Iasi would have been really welcomed for me. That is because nothing could possibly surpass that provincial limitation of Iasi, the usual cavils at Junimea, the pompous style of talking which this honourable society goes on discussing about any kind of work for some time. On the other hand, we still must consider that this society is indeed the only one showing some skill in judging literary productions. However, for some time this ability has become very philistine, while critical judgement has got a character that is not stimulating in any of its three forms. Rather petty bourgeois and typical to Jacque, Gane and some others, the first form is simply paralyzing. The second, a skeptical one, is always meant to be superior, thinking about Carp (Pogor is often rude), so it gets depressing. Finally, the third one is superficial and belongs to Naum, Virgolici and so on (this attitude is rather close to misunderstanding). As far as I am concerned, I think I have made some further steps, while Junimea has stated that I retrogressed. However, right or wrong, this critical evaluation is hardly to find somewhere else. In Bucharest, it seems that politics (raised to a spiritual activity level) has thrown literature into shade for a long time from now on. Anyway, that narrow-mindedness featuring human conscience is barely able to comprise two directions at once - the political and the literary one. Within the same conscience, their simultaneous co-existence damages at least one of the two fields, if not both of them. So, I noticed that Slavici has really started to write worse from the literary point of view, but better from the political one. His good article concerning radicalism is really good.
Incidit in Seyllam qui vult pitare Charybdin.
As you can see, I really had some reasons to hesitate for a while, although my situation here is bad and I should have accepted the proposal, because primum vivere, deinde philosophari. In other words, even if I had been really willing, my journey could not have been fulfilled, as if I had not had (and I have not gotten yet) the financial means.
The question raised here is if in Bucharest I could find more quietness, more space for what is rather quarrelsome in my nature. Or would I be there also huffed as I am here? However, what is the use of these questions? I am going to come over there, as soon as I can, maybe even next days. I gathered many ragged manuscripts and old Romanian printings, which I would dearly like to take them with me. This will make my journey even more expensive, but in the same time, I could have the necessary material at hand, so to be able to keep on building up words and phrases, in my spare time. It seems obvious to me that Romanian language is really rich and endowed with a lot of active suffixes. In some old books I found out many charming syntactical forms, several grammar tenses forgotten nowadays, as well as conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs. Moreover, I discovered two ancient verbal patterns, although rather defective. There could be put together some contributions to Romanian syntax. We need only time and peace. Oh, if someone could really have these both!
The clue for Romanian phonology looks also solved to me. Our phonetic rules are the old Slavonic patterns, that prove unusually, quite surprisingly close to the romantic ones, so that their becoming one with Romanian language was as natural as it could possibly be. Reading Columna (The Column) I was clearly shown again that Mr. Hasdeu is gifted with practical knowledge of Paleoslavonic language. But regarding phonetics, he commits several elementary errors. This seemed strange to me, because, if he had been familiar to Slavonic phonology, it would have been very easy to him in teaching the etymologists their proper place and solving once forever the orthography matter. Indeed, the man knows multa sed non multum.
I found out that you are to come soon to Iasi, ad majorem Junimae gloriam. Therefore, if I am still here by then, there could be settled many problems.
Best wishes and friendly shaking hands"
(Translated by Junona Tutunea)
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