Through our Romanian lessons we look to facilitate the cultural integration of the learners, by integrating in the courses not only simple etymologies, but also historical, literary, and cultural arguments.

We cannot let January pass without talking about Mihai Eminescu!

We will start with a short poem:

Each time, my love...Mihai Eminescu - Romanian National Poet
[De câte ori, iubito...] 

Each time, my love, when I remember about us
I see the ocean swelling and making such a fuss…
Up in the whitish sky there is no shining star 
Only the yellow moon that’s watching from afar;
Above the thousand waves the icy ocean brings
A bird is flying high, flapping her weary wings,
Her mate has flown away and headed to the West
Together with the flock that knows which way is best.
In vain she looks for him with pain in her small eyes
She’s neither sad nor happy, because she slowly dies
Just dreaming of her life and how it used to be.
And very far apart we are now, you and me.
Increasingly alone, my soul is dark and bleak
Because you disappeared as quickly as a streak.

✍Poem translated by Octavian Cocos

Mihai Eminescu (15 January 1850 – 15 June 1889) was a Romanian Romantic poet from Moldavia, novelist, and journalist, generally regarded as the most famous and influential Romanian poet. He transformed both the form and content of Romanian poetry, creating a school of poetry that strongly influenced Romanian writers and poets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Eminescu’s poetry has a distinctive simplicity of language, a masterly handling of rhyme and verse form, a profundity of thought, and a plasticity of expression which affected nearly every Romanian writer of his own period and after.

The statue of Mihai Eminescu in Cismigiu garden

Being part of the late Romantic current, his poetry contains notions from metaphysics, mythology, philosophy, and history, while his prose also contains sociological elements. The recurring themes in his work are nature, a theme typical of romanticism, which in Eminescu’s case is viewed through the prism of local folklore, love, sometimes violent, sometimes intimate or unrequited, birth, death, cosmos and the condition of genius. Among his prose writings, apart from many studies and essays, the best-known are the stories “Cezara” and “Sărmanul Dionis” (1872).

Eminescu was born in Botoşani  and grew up in Ipotești . He was educated in the Germano-Romanian cultural centre of Cernăuƫi (now Chernovtsy, Ukraine) and at the universities of Vienna (1869–72) and Berlin (1872–74), where he was influenced by German philosophy and Western literature. In 1874 he was appointed school inspector and librarian at the University of Iaşi but soon resigned to take up the post of editor in chief of the conservative paper „Timpul”.

Eminescu’s talent was first revealed in 1870 by two poems published in Convorbiri literare, the organ of the Junimea society in Iaşi, of which Eminescu was a member. Other poems followed, and he became recognized as the foremost modern Romanian poet. Mystically inclined and of a melancholy disposition, he lived in the glory of the Romanian medieval past and in folklore, on which he based one of his outstanding poems, “Luceafărul” (1883; “The Evening Star”). He published a single antum volume, Poesii, composed of poems published throughout his life in the magazine Convorbiri literare.

Statue of Mihai Eminescu in MoldovaThe love story between Mihai Eminescu and the poet Veronica Micle was his most important and lasted from their first meeting, in 1872 in Vienna, until the end of the two’s lives. It started as a friendship because Micle was married, but then it became a tumultuous relationship. Unable to cope with Eminescu’s death, Micle committed suicide less than two months after the poet’s death.

The cause of Mihai Eminescu’s death is unclear, and several versions continue to circulate, from a disturbing attack to a medical infection or error and even mercury poisoning, Throughout his life, Eminescu suffered several depressive episodes, and some sources even said that there was a diagnosis of syphilis. Eminescu died on June 15, 1889, in Bucharest, at the age of only 39. Eminescu is buried at Bellu cemetery, the final resting place for many other significant personalities of Romania.

The manuscripts of Mihai Eminnescu were included in 46 volumes. Critic Titu Maiorescu entrusted them to the Romanian Academy at the beginning of 1902. Translation of his works are valid in several languages, such as English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian Arabic or Hindi. There is only a complete edition of Eminescuțs works, and this belongs to Romanian literary historian D.P., Perpessicius.


Mihai Eminescu bust in Cișmigiu gardens
Mihai Eminescu bust at Putna Monastery
Mihai Eminescu photo

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