It has long been a custom to prefix to any product of our mind a long (if not altogether endless) list of grateful thanks to the people who have assisted the author in bringing the respective work into the world. However long the list may be, the author is usually careful and cautiously adds that if someone was left out, this was only because of an unexplainable and unpardonable slip of the memory or because, if exhaustive, the list would never end, indeed. Consequently, excuses are made in advance to prevent reactions as that of the evil (because disgruntled) fairy in the famous Sleeping Beauty story. The list is also an opportunity of displaying the numerous intellectual affinities that the authors have and a wonderful occasion of introducing their family to the potential reader, undoubtedly ignorant of the author’s luck of having such unique and wonderful people around. Though my intellectual and emotional debts are as great as any person’s, I would rather not begin by thanking Plato and my great-grandparents for their contribution in shaping my mind or my being. I will mention only three persons to whom I feel immensely indebted not only for their help during the various stages in the composition of this book, but also for the fact that they have always stood by me “in my most need” as Knowledge allegedly stands by Everyman. I am grateful to professor Alexandra Cornilescu for her constant affection, generous friendship and uninterrupted guidance; to professor Ileana Baciu for her friendship, encouragement and advice; and last, but not least, to Andrei A. Avram for being a living proof that selfless friendship, nobility of character and intellectual excellence can coexist in the same person.

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