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Title:

Lucian Blaga in the Shadows: English Translations of the Poet’s Work

Author:
Publication: Philologica Jassyensia, VIII (2), p. 205-209
p-ISSN:1841-5377
e-ISSN:2247-8353
Publisher:Institutul de Filologie Română „A. Philippide”
Place:Iaşi
Year:
Abstract:Lucian Blaga’s poetry, which places him in the main current of post-Symbolism, is no less significant a body of work than that of Rainer Maria Rilke or Boris Pasternak, yet Blaga remains virtually unknown to Anglophone readers. There are two interlinked reasons behind this prolonged invisibility. First, unlike his better-known countryman, who made their careers in emigration as members of international literary movements, Blaga – despite his wide-ranging philosophical concerns and profound interest in the broader Western poetic tradition – remained steeped in Romanian culture. This, in turn, made his work more challenging for English-speaking translators, as well as less marketable to an audience who had come to associate Romanian authors with the avant-garde. Two volumes of translations published in Bucharest in 1975 did not make a big impact abroad, and are now very scarce. However, since 1989, awareness of Blaga’s work has begun to spread, thanks to two volumes of skillful translations that offer Anglophone readers a chance to assess the poet’s achievement over the course of his career. Andrei Codrescu’s At the Court of Yearning (1989) and Brenda Walker’s Complete Poetical Works of Lucian Blaga, 1895–1961 (2001) were both important in bringing Blaga out of the shadows, but Walker’s collection is ultimately more representative of the full range of the poet’s work – of his evolving themes and formal techniques.
Key words:Lucian Blaga, Romanian poetry, translation, post-Symbolism, post-Symbolist poetics, Andrei Codrescu, Brenda Walker, mioritic
Language: English
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