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Poetry in Translation (LXXXI): Lucian Blaga (1922-1985) – “To my Readers” (CĂTRE CITITORI)

March 30th, 2011 · No Comments · PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Lucian Blaga (1895-1961), Romanian Philosopher, Poet, Diplomat

Lucian Blaga (1895-1961) Diplomat, Philosopher, Poet,

Playwright, Political Prisoner,

In Marea Trecere – The Great Passage (1924)

1924
MOTTO (In Marea Trecere): Opreste trecerea. Ştiu că unde nu e moarte nu e nici iubire – ,şi totuşi to rog: opreste, Doamne, ceasornicul cu care ne măsuri destrămarea.

* CĂTRE CITITORI  (TO MY READERS)

Aici e casa mea. Dincolo soarele şi grădina cu stupi. Voi treceţi pe drum, vă uitaţi printre gratii de poartă şi aşteptaţi să vorbesc. – De unde să-ncep? Credeţi-mă, credeţi-mă, despre orişice poţi să vorbeşti cât vrei: despre soartă şi despre şarpele binelui, despre arhanghelii cari ară cu plugul grădinile omului, despre cerul spre care creştem, despre ură şi cădere, tristeţe şi răstigniri şi înainte de toate despre marea trecere. Dar cuvintele sunt lacrimile celor ce ar fi voit aşa de mult să plângă şi n-au putut. Amare foarte sunt toate cuvintele, de-aceea – lăsaţi-mă să umblu mut printre voi, să vă ies în cale cu ochii închişi.

1924

Motto

The Great Passage:

Halt the Great Passge. I know, Mylord, there is no Love without Death. And yet, Mylord, please stop the clock with which you measure our decay.

TO MY READERS

This is my Home.

Beyond it is the sun and the garden with beehives.

You are passing bye, stranger,

Glancing through the fence, waiting for me to speak:

But where shall I start?

Believe me, believe me one could speak endlessly about anything:

About Fate and the well-wishing Snake

About Archangels ploughing the Garden of Man

About the Sky which we hope to reach,

About Hatred and Fall, Sadness and Crucifixion…

But above all, about the Great Passage.

Yet words are nothing else than the tears

Of those who wished so much to cry, but couldn’t.

Bitter, so bitter are all words

And therefore

Let me walk in silence amongst you

Cross your way

Eyes-closed.”

(Rendered in English by Constantin ROMAN)

Copyright Constantin Roman, 2011

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Lucian Blaga (1895, Lancram, Romania-Lancram,Romania1961),

Poet, Philosopher, Political Prisoner

Culture:

“A major Culture is not a multiple of a minor Culture – it is its sublimate .”

(Lucian Blaga, (1895-1961), Philosopher and Poet)

(Reception Speech to the Romanian Academy, 5 June 1937)

Genius:

“It is an accepted fact that the most important and the highest poetical, artistic or philosophical oeuvres of Western Europe do not necessarily belong, from the spiritual point of view, to the most gifted nations. The Germans who produced Goethe or Kant or the English with the genius of Shakespeare do not reach the average level of aptitudes of the French or Italians. From the point of view of a normal spiritual average such comparison would not favour the English or the Germans. The mystery of the birth of such geniuses as Goethe or Shakespeare, within the framework of a spiritual average of little imposing relevance could be possibly explained rather from a stylistic perspective. It follows then, without any doubt that the complexity and the stylistic means of the English and the Germans are superior to those of other peoples, who are perhaps gifted with a greater intelligence, talent and even life environment .”

(Lucian Blaga, (1895-1961), Philosopher and Poet)

(Reception Speech to the Romanian Academy, 5 June 1937)

BIOGRAPHY

If Cioran is considered the contemporary extension of Nietsche, and his thoughts written in French are translated in many languages, Lucian’s Blaga’s works remain highly mystical, close to the primeval myth and to his village roots and sadly very little translated in foreign languages. He is famous for the philosophical concept of the “Mioritic Space” according to which the Romanian psyche is determined by the land of rolling hills and valleys.

Blaga was born the son of an Orthodox priest in a small village of Transylvania. By the time of his maturity his contribution was acknowledged by being elected a Fellow of the Romanian Academy, just before the Second World War. With the advent of Communism in Romania the last two decades of his life were spent in obscurity, interspersed with time in the Communist prisons, where he was reduced to silence and physical incapacity.

Between 1943 and 1946 Blaga published some of his major philosophical works; the “Trilogy of Knowledge,” “The Trilogy of Culture” and the “Trilogy of Values”. Two further titles – the “Cosmogonic Trilogy” and the “Pragmatic Trilogy” respectively had their publication barred by the advent of the Marxist dictatorship. The philosopher was made to renounce, his ideas, under duress. He was dismissed from his Chair of Philosophy at the University of Cluj and compelled to take up a job as librarian. But soon he was forced to renounce even this modest position, as he spent frequent spells in jail as political prisoner.

Lucian Blaga died in 1961, only a few years after he was released from prison.

(Constantin ROMAN: “Voices and Shadows of the Carpathians – An Anthology of Romanian Thought”

copyright 2011 Constantin ROMAN

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