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George Bacovia

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George Bacovia

Alley of Classics, Chiinu


September 17, 1881

Bacu, Romania


May 22, 1957 (aged 75)

Bucharest, Romania



Literary movement


George Bacovia (Romanian pronunciation:

ovi ; the pen
name of George Vasiliu; September 17 [O.S. September 4] 1881May 22, 1957)
was a Romanian symbolist poet. While he initially belonged to the local Symbolist
movement, his poetry came to be seen as a precursor of Romanian Modernism and
eventually established him in critical esteem alongside Tudor Arghezi, Lucian
Blaga and Ion Barbu as one of the most important interwar Romanian poets.

1 Biography
o 1.1 Childhood
o 1.2 Studies


1.3 Between the wars

1.4 After the war
2 Critical reception
3 Selected critical bibliography
4 Further reading
5 External links

Bacovia was born George Andone Vasiliu in B cu, the son of a merchant,
Dimitri V siliu, n his wif Zo "Zoi " V siliu ( orn L ng ) At only six y rs of
age he began his study of German. Between 1889 and 1890 he started his
schooling t n c
my in B cu, for r gist ring in 1891 t th "Domn sc"
Primary School in the same city. In June 1893, he finished his primary schooling and
ft rw r
g n stu i s t th Gimn ziul F r in n , lso in B cu On utumn
night, an oversight by the sexton led to his being locked overnight in the tower of the
Precista church, an experience which would later inspire his first major poem,
1899's Amurg violet (Purple Twilight). He exhibited a talent for drawing and
developed into an excellent violinist in the school orchestra, which he directed. He
also distinguished himself in gymnastics.
In 1899, he received the national first prize in the contest "Tinerimii romne" for
"artistic drawings of nature." His poem i toate - written a year earlier under the
name of "V. George" - was published in the magazine Literatorul on 30 March,
launching his literary career.

In 1900, Bacovia matriculated at the Military Academy in I i, but dropped out during
his second semester, unable to bear military discipline. In 1901 he began studies at
th Lic ul F r in n in B cu, from which h gr u t in 1903 H wrot th
poem Liceu (High School) in response to a Ministry of Education questionnaire sent
to graduates in the course of Spiru Haret's educational reforms. He matriculated at
the Faculty of Law in Bucharest and soon became a fixture in the city's literary life;
an early reading of his poem Plumb (Lead) at Alexandru Macedonski's salon
produced a powerful impression.
He continued reading his poems at Macedonski's salon, and in 1904 his Nervi de
toamn (Autumn nerves) obtained the same success. Helped by his growing
reputation, he gained a position at the review Art
l I i and was able to stop his
law studies. After two years in Bucharest with his brother Eugen, he returned to
B cu for m tricul ting t th Univ rsity of I i's F culty of L w; despite his
previous studies in Bucharest, he started as a first-year student. Until 1909 he
r m in in I i, ssisting I M R scu with his r vi w Versuri, later Versuri i proz.
B tw n 1909 n 1910 h c m to I i for x min tions ut liv in B cu; on
o t ining his l w gr in 1911, h qu lifi for th
r in B cu, ut spit
paying dues for ten years, never practiced law. Instead, he spent his time working
with Constantin Al. Ionescu-Caion on the Romnul Literar, with other figures
on Flacra, working as a copyist at the Prefecture, and helping at the Prefectural
accounting office. In 1913-1914, his health deteriorated and he was eventually
forced to relinquish his post.

Between the wars[edit]

In 1914, B covi w s int rn
t th s nitorium of Dr Mrgrit scu in Buch r st,
from where he published poems in the literary supplement of the
newspaper Seara and sentPlumb out for publication. In 1915, after leaving
Bucharest, he became co-editor of the review Orizonturi noi and continued to
publish poetry, prose, and book reviews under a multitude of pseudonyms. He
rekindled his friendship with Alexandru Macedonski.
In 1916, he became a secretary at the Directory of Secondary and Superior
Education in the Ministry of Instruction, and was in Bucharest when Plumb first
appeared in July. In October, however, the vagaries of war forced him to flee the
thr t n Buch r st to I i with th rchiv s of his p rtm nt
Bacovia returned to Bucharest in 1917, resuming his post as a functionary. In 1920,
he became a Chief of Office, Third Class, in the Ministry of Labor; in 1921 he was
promoted to Chief of Office, First Class in the same ministry. However, he
immediately fell ill with a lung condition and was forced to resign before returning, a
y r l t r, to B cu
In 1924, the second edition of Plumb w s pu lish in Rmnicu Sr t M nwhil ,
Bacovia found work as a teacher of drawing and calligraphy at the Boys'
Comm rci l School in B cu By 1925, how v r, he had become the primary
director of the review Ateneu cultural, and published his book of poetry Scntei
galbene (Yellow sparks) at his own expense. In the same year Buci de
noapte (Night fragments) appeared in an edition edited by the poet Agatha
Grigorescu. In 1926 he returned to the Boys' Commercial School and continued to
teach drawing and calligraphy.

House of George and Agatha Bacovia in Bucharest, today a museum

In 1928, Bacovia married Agatha Grigorescu, editor of Buci de noapte, and settled
in Bucharest, where his wife was a teacher. In 1929, he
republished Plumb and Scntei galbene in a single edition, entitled Poezii and
produced by Editura Ancora; soon after, the dormant reviewOrizonturi noi resumed
publication under his direction. He gained a post as an inspector at the Ministry of
Popular Education, but after the publication of his collection Cu voi (With you), he
r turn with his wif to B cu, wh r h sp nt thr y rs un mploy
In 1931,
Agatha gave birth to Bacovia's only son, Gabriel; in 1932, the Romanian Society of
Writers approved a monthly pension of 1000 lei.
The family returned to Bucharest permanently in 1933, never to move away again.
In 1934, Bacovia published an anthology of his poems entitled Poezii; in 1940, his
pension increased to 2000 lei per month. He then founded the House of Pensions
for Writers, from which he subsequently drew a 10.000-lei monthly pension. In 1944

his Opere (Works) appeared, a collection including all of his previously published

After the war[edit]

In 1945, Bacovia was named librarian of the Ministry of Mines and Oil. He continued
to write, and in 1946 published the volume Stane burgheze (Bourgeois positions),
which led to his hiring by the Ministry of the Arts. In 1956 he published his final
volume of Poezii before dying on the afternoon of 22 May 1957 in his Bucharest

Critical reception[edit]
Literary critics initially classified Bacovia as a Symbolist, but later criticism has
argued that he transcended his milieu to form a part of modern Romanian poetry.
Even if his first volume of poetry, Plumb (1916), was heavily marked by the influence
of the Symbolists, his subsequent volumes, such as Scntei galbene, show his
discovery of a more modern poetic concept, closer to the prose-poem than to the
classic verse forms of the 19th century. Interwar critics saw in Bacovia either a
N osym olist (G org Clin scu) or minor po t with insuffici nt m t ri l (E
Lovinescu). Just after the Second World War, however, Bacovia's poetry began to
be linked to newer currents of thought, being linked with and compared to
the theatre of the absurd (M. Petroveanu), poetic modernism, surrealism, automatic
writing, imagism, expressionism, and even philosophic movements
likeexistentialism (Ion Caraion). Bacovia thus succeeded in becoming recognized as
one of the most important Romanian poets, an author who executed a vast
canonical leap from minor poet to enduring classic of Romanian literature.

Selected critical bibliography[edit]

Agatha Grigorescu-Bacovia, Bacovia (viaa poetului),

Buch r st, E itur p ntru Lit r tur, 1962
Mihail Petroveanu, George Bacovia, Bucharest, Editura
p ntru Lit r tur, 1969
Gheorghe Grigurcu, Bacovia, un antisentimental,
Bucharest, Editura Albatros, 1974.
Ion Caraion, Bacovia. Sfritul continuu, Bucharest,
Editura Eminescu, 1975; Second Edition, Bucharest,
E itur C rt Romn sc, 1979
Dinu Flamnd, Introducere n opera lui G. Bacovia,
Bucharest, Editura Minerva, 1979.
Daniel Dimitriu, Bacovia, I i, E itur Junim , 1981
Al x n r In ri , Alternative bacoviene, Bucharest,
Editura Minerva, 1984.
Mircea Scarlat, George Bacovia - nuanri, Bucharest,
E itur C rt Romn sc, 1987
Vasile Fanache, Bacovia. Ruptura de utopia romantic,
Cluj, Editura Dacia, 1994 (reed. 2000).
Radu Petrescu, G. Bacovia, Pit ti, E itur P r l l 45,
1999 (reed. 2002).

Ion Bogdan Lefter, Bacovia - un model al tranziiei,

Pit ti, E itur P r l l 45, 2001
Constantin Trandafir, Poezia lui Bacovia, Bucharest,
Saeculum, 2001.
Mihai Cimpoi, Secolul Bacovia, Bucharest, Editura
Fun i i Cultur l I
Europ n, 2005
Dicionarul scriitorilor romni, coordonatori Mircea Zaciu,
Marian Papahagi, Aurel Sasu, A-C, Bucharest, Editura
Fun i i Cultur l Romn , 1995
Dicionarul esenial al scriitorilor romni, Bucharest,
Editura Albatros, 2000.
Dicionarul general al literaturii romne, coordonator
general Eugen Simion, A-B, Bucharest, Editura Univers
Enciclopedic, 2004.

Further reading[edit]

Complete Poetical Works and Selected Prose of George

Bacovia, 2007, Forest Books, Bucharest, London,
Chester Springs. ISBN 978-1-85610-047-2. New English
translations, with no Romanian language texts except

External links[edit]
Romanian Wikisource has
original text related to this
George Bacovia (original
works in Romanian)

Authority control

Romanian site dedicated to Bacovia

Poems by George Bacovia
George Bacovia Memorial House - Bucharest
George Bacovia on (Romanian)

VIAF: 68971532
LCCN: n50019198
ISNI: 0000 0001 0912 0736
GND: 118651609
SELIBR: 176519
SUDOC: 030308569
BNF: cb121751089(data)
NLA: 35691542
NKC: jn20020909039
BNE: XX1215717


Romanian poets

Symbolist poets
P opl from B cu
Burials at Bellu
1881 births
1957 deaths

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