Tudor Arghezi

From Academic Kids

Tudor Arghezi (May 21, 1880-1967) was a notable Romanian poet and children's author. He was born Ion N. Theodorescu in Bucharest, capital of Romania. He later explains that his pen name, Arghezi, is related to Argesis, the ancient name of the river Arges.

Missing image
Tudor Arghezi - Selfportrait

He graduated from Saint Sava High School in 1891 and made his literary debut in 1896 in the magazine "Liga Ortodoxa" (the Orthodox League), signing Ion Theo.

After a four year long stint as a monk at the Cernica Monastery, he traveled abroad in 1905. He visited Paris, converted to Catholicism, and moved to Geneva, where he wrote poetry and attended courses at the local university while laboring at a jeweler's workship.

He returned to Romania in 1912 and published in "Facla" (the Torch), "Viata Romāneasca" (Romanian Life), "Teatru" (Theater), and "Rampa" (the Ramp). His output was prolific, and a flurry of lyrics, pamphlets and polemical articles gained him a good measure of notoriety among theatrical, political and literary circles of the day.

During the last two years of the First World War, he was imprisoned along with eleven other newspapermen and writers, among them Ioan Slavici. He was accused of treason for his support of Romanian neutrality in the war effort. Charges were later dropped.

In 1922, his first volume of collected poems, titled "Cuvinte Potrivite" (Matching Words), appears. He manages the satirical newspaper "Bilete de Papagal" (Parrot Notes) and publishes his first prose effort, "Icoane de Lemn" (Wooden Icons) in 1928.

In 1932, he publishes "Flori de Mucigai" (Mildew Flowers) and "Poarta Neagra" (the Black Gate), both collections of poetry inspired by the years he spent in detention. He also begins writing what he is now most often remembered for, delightful poems and short prose for children. Among the more famous are "Cartea Cu Jucarii" (the Toy-Ladden Book) "Cāntec de Adormit Mitzura" (a Book to Put Mitzura to Sleep) "Buruieni" (Weeds) and the most popular of all, "Zdreanta" (the Rag) about a lovable mutt. Romanian school manuals feature many of his poems to this day.

In 1934, he publishes a long novel on the topic of maternal love and filial devotion, "Ochii Maicii Domnului (the Eyes of the Lord's Mother).

During World War II, the newspaper under his management, Bilete de Papagal, publishes virulently satirical pamphlets excoriating the Romanian government, its military leader Ion Antonescu, and Romania's military alliance with Nazi Germany. Authorities confiscate the newspaper and Arghezi is imprisoned without trial in a penitentiary camp close to Tārgu Jiu.

He was freed in 1944, days after the fall of the Antonescu regime and the Communist Romanian regime's rise to power. From the end of the war onward, he was "rehabilitated" by the new government and awarded countless titles and prizes. After extensive collaboration with the authorities--including poems praising the cause of Socialism and indigenous Communist leaders--he was elected a member of the Romanian Academy and celebrated as national poet.

He died and was buried next to his wife in 1967, with tremendous pomp and funeral festivities orchestrated by Communist Party activists. His home is currently a museum managed by his daughter, Mitzura.

Although many Romanians despise his easy association with early figures of Communist rule, Arghezi is nonetheless widely acknowleded as an important literary figure. Most of his devotional and religious poems and novels have been shunted to the side, with critics pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of writing on such themes and then providing cultural justification for a violently anti-religious political movement. He is foremost recognized for his sizable contributions to children's literature, and will likely remain a staple of instruction manuals and elementary school textbooks for decades to come.ro:Tudor Arghezi


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