Literature of Romania

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Romanian literature is literature written by Romanian authors, although the term may also be used to refer to all literature written in the Romanian language.




The earliest document surviving in Romanian is a 1521 letter, sent by Neacşu of Câmpulung to the jude (judge and mayor) of Braşov, Hans Benkner.

The culture of Romania was heavily influenced by Byzantine Orthodoxy, which was brought via the Slavs, so the earliest traslations into Romanian were from Slavonic religious texts of the 15th century. The Psalter of Scheia (Psaltirea Scheiană) of 1482 and the Voroneţ Codex (Codicele Voroneţean') are religious texts that were written in Maramureş, probably with the help of the Hussite movement.

The first book that was printed was a 1508 Slavonic religious book, and the first one in Romanian was a catechism of Coresi in 1559. Other translations from Greek and Slavonic books were printed in the 16th century. Dosoftei, a Moldavian published in Poland in 1673, was the first Romanian metrical psalter, producing the earliest known poetry written in Romanian.

The Bible was not published in Romanian until the end of the 17th century, when monks at the monastery of Snagov, near Bucharest, translated and printed a Romanian Bible in 1688 ("Biblia de la Bucureşti - The Bucharest Bible).

European humanism came to Moldavia in the 17th century via Poland with its great representative, Miron Costin, writing a chronicle on the history of Moldavia. Another humanist was Dimitrie Cantemir, who wrote histories of Romania and Moldavia.

Ottoman decadence and phanariotes

The 18th century in the Romanian lands was dominated by the Ottoman Empire, which decided not to allow Romanian rulers in Wallachia and Moldavia and to use Greek merchants of Istanbul, called phanariotes.

Thus, Greek culture influenced the developments of Romanian literature. For example, one of the greatest poets of this century was Alecu Văcărescu, who wrote love songs in the tradition of ancient Greek poet Anacreon. His father, Ienăchiţă, was a poet as well, but he also wrote the first Romanian grammar and his son, Iancu, was probably one of the greatest poets of his generation. A human comedy was developed in the anecdotes of Anton Pann, who tried to illustrate a bit of the Balkanic spirit and folklore which was brought by the Ottomans in the Romanian lands.

However, the next generation of Romanian writers headed toward European Illuminism for inspiration, among them Gheorghe Asachi, Ion Budai Deleanu and Dinicu Golescu.

National awakening

As the revolutionary ideas of Nationalism spread in Europe, they were also used by the Romanians, who desired their own national state, but were living under foreign rule. Many Romanian writers of the time were also part of the national movement and participated in the revolutions of 1821 and 1848. The Origin of the Romanians began to be discussed and in Transylvania, a Latinist movement Şcoala Ardeleană emerged, producing filological studies about the Romanic origin of Romanian and opening Romanian language schools.

Romanians who studies in France, Italy and Germany, and German philosophy and French culture were integrated into modern Romanian literature, lessening the influence of Ancient Greece and the Orient over time. In Wallachia an important figure of the time was Ion Heliade Rădulescu, who founded the first Romanian-language journal and the Philharmonic Society, which later created the National Theatre of Bucharest.

The most important writers of the second half of the century were Vasile Alecsandri and later Mihai Eminescu. Alecsandri was a prolific writer, contributing to the Romanian literature with poetry, prose, several plays, and collections of Romanian folklore. Eminescu is considered by most critics to be the most important and influential Romanian poet. His lyric poetry had many of its roots in Romanian traditions, but was also influenced by German philosophy and Hindu traditions.

Titu Maiorescu's Junimea literary circle, founded in 1863 and frequented by many Romanian writers, played an important role in Romanian literature. Many outstanding Romanian writers, including Ion Luca Caragiale, who wrote some of the best Romanian comedies, Ion Creangă, who wrote traditional Romanian stories and Barbu Ştefănescu, published their works during this time.

Interbellum literature

After the achieving national unity in 1918, Romanian literature entered what can be called a golden age, characterized by the development of the Romanian novel. Traditional society and recent political events influenced works such as Liviu Rebreanu's Răscoala (The Uprising), which was published in 1932 and inspired by the 1907 Peasants' Revolts and Pădurea Spânzuraţilor (The Forest of the Hanged), published in 1922 and inspired by Romanian participation in World War I.

An important realist writer was Mihail Sadoveanu, who wrote mainly novels which took place at various times in the History of Moldova. Among his most famous works are Baltagul (The Hatchet) in 1930, Hanul Ancuţei (Ancuţa's Inn) and Fraţii Jderi (The Marten Brothers).

Communist era

(to be written)

Contemporany literature

(to be written)

Fine examples include

See also


  • George Călinescu - Istoria Literaturii Române ("The History of Romanian Literature"), 1945
  • Nicolae Iorga - Istoria Literaturii Româneşti ("The History of Romanian Literature"), 1929

External links


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