0mihai_eminescu_2 | Poetry

Welcome to

Discovering Eminescu
The Evening Star of the Romanian poetry

by Stefaniada Voichita

Agenda Slide
 Mihai Eminescu Introduction to the life and literary work of the last European romantic  Discovering Eminescu  Eminescu‟s Life  Literary Work  The Poet  The Storyteller  Eminescu within Romanian Culture  Eminescu within Universal Literature  Seen by others  Today - A Romanian Icon

Mihai Eminescu
Introduction to
the life and literary work of the last European romantic


"Days go past and days come still All is old and all is new, What is well and what is ill, You imagine and construe; Do not hope and do not fear, Waves that leap like waves must fall; Should they praise or should they jeer, Look but coldly on it all".

Discovering Eminescu
Eminescu‟s Life
 on 15th of January, in Botosani, a North Eastern town of Romania, the future poet Mihai Eminescu is born as the 7th of 11 children  his parents were small land owners

Mother Raluca Iurascu Father Gheorghe Eminovici

Eminescu’s Life
1850-1857  the future poet spends his childhood in Ipotesti, a village where his parents had a small estate, 8 km away from Botosani  today, here we can find Mihai Eminescu Memorial House

photo from the beginning of the XX-century

Eminescu’s Life
1858-186 0  registered to National School in Cernauti  here he attends the courses of the 3rd and 4th form, and finished 4th grade as the fifth of 82 students 186 0-1863  he attends Gymnasium in Cernauti, courses of the 1st and 2nd form, repeating the latter

Cernauti town center, at the middle of the XIX-century

Eminescu’s Life
1864  he works for a short time as a clerk to Law Court in BotosanI 1865  comes back to Cernauti gymnasium as a private pupil  he takes up lodgings with Aron Pumnul, his gymnasium teacher, a great linguist, philologist and owner of a large library 1866  in January, Aron Pumnul dies

Eminescu’s Life
1867  he joins as a prompter and copyist into a theatre group, with which he travels all over the country 1868  settled in Bucharest, he meets I. L. Caragiale, the greatest Romanian playwright

The make-up box used by the time of theatrical tour

Ion Luca Caragiale 1852-1912

Eminescu’s Life
1869-1872  he registers at the Faculty of Philosophy, Vienna University  here he meets Veronica Micle, a poetess, whom he will have a passionate and troubled relationship with

Veronica Micle 1850-1889

1872-1874  he attends Philosophy, History, Economy and Law courses of Berlin University

Eminescu’s Life
1874  he is appointed director of the Central Library in Iasi 1875  takes good care of the Central Library in Iasi and he is appointed a school inspector  he meets Ion Creanga, whom he advises to write the latter will become one of the greatest Romanian storyteller and his best friend

Eminescu‟s best friend Ion Creanga 1838-1889

Eminescu’s Life
1876  has public lectures at Junimea Society and Literary Talks periodical 1877  continues his journalistic activity with Iasi Messenger, writes theatre chronicles and attends the meetings of Junimea society  in the second half of October, he moves to Bucharest, where he works as an editor to The Time newspaper 1878  works at The Time newspaper

The court yard of the building where the newspaper The Time used to run

Eminescu’s Life
1879-1882  his relationship with Veronica Micle is going to be deteriorated and he gives up the idea of marrying her  continues his work at The Time and at Junimea meetings he reads most of his poems 1883  in August, he shows signs of mental disorder and he is put in a sanatorium  at the end of December, the volume “Poems” is published, the only volume published when still alive  he ceased writing 1884-1888  continues to work, occupying himself with small jobs  his disease recourses 1889  his health is put to serious damage and on 15th of June he dies  he is buried on 17th of June at Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest

Eminescu’s Life

The last photo of the poet, made in 1887

Literary Work
His literary work was a vast work, including several domains, from lyrical poetry to political journalism. The first evidence of Eminescu as a writer is in 1866.  that year, when teacher, Aron Pumnul, dies, his students published a pamphlet, in which appears his 1st poem signed M. Eminoviciu

Eminescu‟s first poem

“At Aron Pumnul's Grave”

 also the periodical The Family in Pest publishes his poem “Had I”  the director of the above mentioned periodical changed his name from Eminovici into Eminescu, a name that the poet adopted for the rest of his life

The Poet
Mihai Eminescu was only 20 when Titu Maiorescu,

the top literary critic in Romania, dubbed him:

The Poet


he would mould himself towards the individual and personal emotions


he would explore the folklore examining existential perceptions

The Poet
Eminescu poems span a large range of themes Nature History Social commentary Existential perceptions such as:

Time Emotion Space Beauty Myth

Love Soul Idealism Realism Spirit

The Poet
Eminescu’s poetry focuses on myths that appear and disappear, in order to reappear, in other poems, with modified connotations

The Poet
1.The myth of the birth and the death of the universe related with the myth of the scholar (the wise man, the magus) who knows to read the signs from the books of the world and defends the old law, that we can find in the works such as:
“Remember You Will Die” “The Twins” “The Prayer of a Dacian” “The First Letter”

The device of the world is approached philosophically, starting with the moment of the genesis and ending with its disappearance

The Poet

“Remember you will die”

The Poet
2. The next one is the myth of history where he explains the evolution of the world highlighting the incompatibility between the plenitude and the wisdom of the past times and the decay of the present times in works as:
“The Imitators” “Emperor and Proletarian” “The Third Letter”

The device of the world is approached, now, in a historic perspective and through ethical criteria

The Poet
3. Eminescu‟s next myth is the erotic myth where nature and love are complimentary in poems like:
“O, remain” “Down Where The Lonely Poplars Grow” “The lake” “And if” “Thinking of you” “The evening star” “Longing” “Blue flower” “What is love”

Suggesting the lust of falling in love, the melancholy, the incompatibility between man and woman, the nostalgia of the failure

Facsímile “The Evening Star”

Image from “The Evening Star”

„The Evening Star‟s” main character By Sabin Balasa

“The Evening Star”
book‟s cover

The Poet
4. The myth of the return to the basic elements, based on the idea of making man live again according to the laws of the cosmos.
“The lake” “Drowsy birds” “Why do you wail, o forest tree” “The tale of the forest”

The wood is a recurrent element in this possible security space. The landscape is not only a state of mind; it is also the place where the Romantic spirit rediscovers the rhythms of the big universe.

“Drowsy birds” book‟s cover

The Poet
5. The following myth is the creator‟s myth, therefore, his existential philosophy too.
“Ode in Ancient Meter” “The Evening Star”
 are typical poems for this category, although their lyrical forms are so different

This myth expresses the position of the creator and his mission in connection with all the other experiences of the spirit.

The Poet
6. The myth of poetry that appears under two aspects:
 the first one is direct, explicit:

 poetry as a reflection subject in the poem the poet is the one who covers "the sad and naked corpse with images clothes" poetry as an expression of a profound inner musicality, a generalized orphism, music impossible to be confounded that becomes the identity sign of Eminescu‟s style

 the second one which is indirect, essential:

direct explicit

indirect essential

The ideas, the states of mind, the visions, the myths, they all appear and disappear in an essentially musical discourse. His poetry is music incorporated in the language.

Painted images from his poems

“Drowsy birds” by Balasa

“The evening star” by S. Bousa

“Mortua Est” by P. Marvi

“The evening star” by A. Murnu

„MIradoniz” by E. Opris

“IV letter” by G. Petrascu “The evening star” by Ciucurencu “Poor Dionis” by M. Dima

“Emperor and proletarian” by Ciucurencu

“Prince charming, the Tear-begotten” by Vulcanescu

“The ghosts” by C. Ressu

“Cezara” by V. Grigore

“Calin” anonymous

The Storyteller
While his literary work encompassed every genre of poetry (love, philosophical, cosmological, historical, socio-satiric, mythological), Eminescu soaked his nib in the dramatic genre writing prose as well.
“Mira” - drama “Prince charming, The Tear-Begotten” “Caesara” “Poor Dionis” “Wasted genius” – novel excerpt where we can find his self-portrait “Icons, old and new” - chronicles

“Prince Charming, The Tear-Begotten” – book cover

“Wasted Genius” – book cover

Eminescu‟s linden tree in park Copou, under which he could easily find his muse to write great poems.

Eminescu within Romanian Culture
The Genius
 A poet , a prose-writer and a playwright , Mihai Eminescu marked in Romanian literature the exceptional moment of the meeting between the genius individual and genius thinking and sensibility.  Time, space, life, death, love, hatred, landscapes , the real and the fantastic, myths, existential adventures, the search for one's own self, the joy of living, the possible and the impossible , the tragic and the comic, setting deeds on a cosmic orbit - are all integrated in his work within a system of obsessions and relations which confers a timbre with polyphonic nuances upon his literary approach, attitude and manner.

The Father of Modern Romanian Language
 Eminescu gave Romanian poetry the dimensions it had not had before him. The world where Eminescu takes us is tremendously vast related to space and time. There, the thinker‟s eye reaches the most hidden recesses of the human soul and rises to the highest concepts of reason. Of course, these features are brought to light by his most typical epithets.  Eminescu - established the future direction of Romanian poetry of the 20th century. His work provided a framework, a real model for future essential Romanian poets such as: Lucian Blaga, George Bacovia, Tudor Arghezi, Ion Pillat, Alexandru Philippide, Emil Botta, Nichita Stanescu so forth.

Eminescu within Romanian Culture
The National Poet
Mihai Eminescu‟s poetry has been passed down through generations to epitomize the essence of Romanian consciousness. Consequently, he is quintessential for the self-definition of Romanian national identity.

Who is Mihai Eminescu?
At this question all Romanians will answer: Our national poet! He represents the Romanian nation in mankind's concert. One of the greatest lyrical poets of world literature, comparable with Byron, Shelley or Lermontov, a revolutionary poet in terms of attitude, and to posterity an inestimable treasure of verse.

Eminescu within Universal Literature
 Eminescu is considered the greatest of the Romantics and the Last one.  Even though he joined the romantics, he belonged to the next generation as well. Not only by poeticizing the noble past, fairy tales, legends and folklore, but because he also had a soft spot for ancient traces surrounding him.  His poems aimed to touch the very core of human soul. And although, he concentrated on the essence of being Romanian, his system of existential perceptions transferred him into a universal context.

His poems were translated in many different languages, incorporating his genius into universal literature.

Mihai Eminescu - Poetry

These pictures illustrate Eminescu‟s evolution from youth to old ages

Seen by others

Mihai Eminescu

I. L. Caragiale <<He was handsome, indeed. He had a classical-featured face, framed by long black locks, a broad serene forehead and big eyes (watching these windows of him, you could certainly see that someone was in there). His smile was mild and deeply melancholic. He had the air of a young saint just descended from an icon; he resembled to a child predestined to suffering, whose face bore the mark of some future pains. “-Allow me to introduce myself: Mihai Eminescu.” This is how I met him. >>

I L Caragiale



"Eminescu is not only the greatest Romanian writer. He is an almost inexplicable occurrence in our literature. In 1870 he simply fell in the middle of our poor national literature like a meteor from some other world. One of the greatest lyrical poets of the 19th century - so rich in poets, maybe the richest - is born by chance right here, in our country...”

“… the greatest poet ever born or likely to be born on Romanian land… Below a lonely star fading in the far-off skies, rivers might run dry and a forest or a fortress might sprout over his tomb, before this land could gather up every drop of sap to make it rise again in the slender stalk of another lily, whose perfume strength could match the poet's own."

Marin Sorescu, dedicated this hymn to the man who equaled the anonymity:

"There was only a fine country On the shore of a sea, Where the waves tie white knots In the uncombed beard of a kingLike waters, like flowing trees In which the moon had its round nest. And more particularly there were some simple people ......................................................... There were moreover deep forests And a youth who would talk with them, Asking them why they swayed without a breath of wind? ........................................................... Also there were some linden-trees, And the young couple who knew How to make their blossoms snow Into a kiss. And some birds or some clouds Which kept floating over them, Like long, soft-moving plains. And since all of these Had to have a name, One name alone, They were named Eminescu.”

his signature

Today - A Romanian Icon
Eminescu is omnipresent in Romania.

His face was depicted on 1000 lei-bill issued in 1998.

And on the new 500-lei bill issued in 2005 as the highest Romanian bill.

Also, many schools and institutions are named after him, and his anniversaries became national celebrations.

His statues are everywhere.


Eminescu is a writer who created for eternity, in perfect synchrony with the great literature of his time, a writer for all ages, times and places.

“Ode in ancient meter”
“Hardly had I thought I should learn to perish; Ever young, enwrapped in my robe I wandered, Raising dreamy eyes to the star styled often Solitude's symbol. ……………………………… May all tempting eyes vanish from my pathway Come back to my breast, you indifferent sorrow! So that I may quietly die, restore me To my own being!”

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful