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Romanian Riches

October 2004

At the crossroads between East and West, past and present, brutality and romance, lies the verdant cultural landscape of Romania. Our guest editor Norman Manea has convened a stimulating literary salon, including a startling diversity of styles and themes, ranging from Virgil Duda’s somber account of the Romanian Holocaust to Adrian Otoiu’s antic fantasy of Shakespeare’s computer literacy. Mircea Cartarescu depicts the slippery slope from youthful intellectual pretentiousness into a career in the Securitate. Gabriela Melinescu pens a wry fable of Romanian Jews in Sweden. Memory and loss infuse Gabriela Adamesteanu’s retired shopkeeper’s tram ride into the past and Matei Calinescu’s eulogy for his dead son. In poetry, Mariana Marin, Romania’s Sylvia Plath, confronts her Karenina complex, and Marta Petreu conflates the all-consuming fires of love and death. Translator Julian Semilian deserves special thanks for his work in a language that is among the least-known in the Romance family.

This issue is made possible with a regrant from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.