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Bucharest in Literature

“A city whose age you can feel” “The Village Museum”, poem by Marin Sorescu  The Brancovan Palace of Mogosoaia

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“A city whose age you can feel”

“Along with the trend of Westernisation, [there is] the life of its past and that specific Romanian one, that make the Capital a city whose age you can feel, a city that is not so easy to transform as someone might think, or as it may seem.” 
(Vintila M. Mihailescu, 1915)
“Alaturi de tendinta occidentalizarii, [exista] viata trecutului si cea romaneasca proprie, care fac din Capitala un oras a carui vechime se simte, un oras ce nu e asa usor de transformat pe cat s-ar putea crede sau pe cat ar parea.” 
(Vintila M. Mihailescu, 1915)

Vintila Mihailescu (1890-1978) was a Romanian geographer and professor and a member of the Romanian Academy. In 1915 he published his first work, the PhD thesis “Bucharest in terms of anthropogeography and ethnography”.


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“The Village Museum” by Marin Sorescu

From the life of these people
Are missing several sections,
And others, such as
Material wealth, happiness and luck
In history
Are poorly represented.

You will not find here any coin,
Because, not having gold and silver
The peasants engraved their faces every year
On millet, wheat, corn
Which were not preserved to our days.

Stuffed birds
Could they, rightly, have brought enough,
But they couldn’t kill
The nightingale, the skylark, the blackbird and the cuckoo,
Which sang for them without money all their life,
And all the death.

The primitive,
Ancient, medieval age
Appear as one,
Because, not being educated, the peasants
Haven’t noticed that between those ages
There are fundamental
Differences.

Here the most numerous exhibits
Are the huts.
From working the land
The peasants went straight into the ground,
To rest.

From place to place between huts
Are interspersed uprisings:
Of Doja, Horia, Closca,
and Crisan, and Tudor
This time built on the surface
With an amazing sense of architectural
Symmetry.

Visitors,
Do not touch the poverty and sadness
You will find in the museum.
They are original exhibits
Out of the hand, the soul and the guts of these people
In a moment of tension and spontaneity
Which lasted
2000 years.

“Muzeul Satului” de Marin Sorescu

Din viața acestor oameni
Lipsesc mai multe secții,
Iar altele, cum ar fi
Bunăstarea materială, fericirea și norocul
În istorie,
Sunt slab reprezentate.

Nu întâlnești aici nici o monedă,
Pentru că, neavând aur și argint,
Țăranii și-au gravat anual chipul
Pe boabe de mei, de grâu, de porumb
Care nu ni s-au păstrat.

Păsări împăiate
Ar fi putut ei, ce e drept, aduce destule,
Dar le-a fost milă să ucidă
Privighetoarea, ciocârlia, mierla și cucul,
.
Care le cântau fără bani toată viața,
Și toată moartea.

Era primitivă,
Antică, medievală
Apar ca una singură,
Fiindcă, neștiind carte, țăranii
N-au băgat de seamă că între aceste epoci
Există deosebiri
Fundamentale.

Aici exponatele cele mai numeroase
Sunt bordeiele.
De la munca pământului
Țăranii intrau direct în pământ,
Să se odihnească.

Din loc în loc între bordeie
Sunt intercalate răscoalele:
A lui Doja, a lui Horia, Cloșca
și Crișan, a lui Tudor,
Construite de data asta la suprafață
Cu un uimitor simț al simetriei
Arhitectonice.

Vizitatori,
Nu atingeți sărăcia și tristețea
Aflate-n muzeu.
Sunt exponate originate,
Ieșite din mâna, din sufletul și din rărunchii acestui popor
Într-o clipă de încordare și spontaneitate
Care a durat
2000 de ani.

“Marin Sorescu (1936-1996) was a prolific Romanian poet, playwright, novelist and essayist, an unconformist explorer of existential uncertainties and the absurdity of human condition. Marin Sorescu’s ironic voice emerged in Romanian literature in the 1960s. He became one of the most widely read and translated modern poets of his country. Sorescu was also mentioned as a Nobel Prize candidate in literature.”
Excerpt from author Petri Liukkonen’s biography of Marin Sorescu

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The Brancovan Palace of Mogosoaia

The refined and erudite architect G.M. Cantacuzino, who restored the palace of Mogosoaia during the time of princess Martha Bibescu, describes it as such:

“There are places where (…) time seems to stop in order to materialize itself in harmonious forms. Mogosoaia is such a place, meant to last, detached from the present times in order to present to the fleeting fashions an image of the Romanian permanence.

Mogosoaia is not only a princely residence, a lonely setting of a great ruler. Mogosoaia is a realm, an entire part of a country, a landscape emerged from imagery, founded by the creative endeavour of generations that organized their lives according to their principles and their aspirations…. Mogosoaia is not only the image of the past, but just as well the expression of a live present, and the testimony of a becoming. This is why Mogosoaia occupies such a special place among the historical monuments of Romania”.

“Sunt locuri in care (…) vremea pare a se opri pentru a se concretiza in forme armonioase. Mogosoaia este un astfel de loc, harazit duratei, rupt din actualitatea vremurilor pentru a infatisa efemerelor mode o imagine a permanentei romanesti.

Mogosoaia nu este numai o locuinta domneasca, decor singuratic al unei mari carmuiri. Mogosoaia este un domeniu, un colt intreg de tara, un peisagiu iesit dintr-o evocare, infaptuit prin ravna creatoare a unui sir de generatii care si-au organizat viata in functia principiilor si aspiratiunilor lor… Mogosoaia nu este numai infatisarea unui trecut, dar tot atat si expresia unui prezent viu, marturia unei deveniri. Iata de ce Mogosoaia are un loc aparte printre monumentele istorice ale Romaniei”.


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