Tudor Arghezi

(1880 - 1967 / N. Theodorescu, Bucharest)

Biography of Tudor Arghezi

Tudor Arghezi poet

Tudor Arghezi (21 May 1880 – 14 July 1967) was a Romanian writer, best known for his contribution to poetry and children's literature. Born Ion N. Theodorescu in Bucharest (where he also died), he explained that his pen name was related to Argesis, the Latin name for the Argeş River.

He graduated from Saint Sava High School in October 1891, started working to pay for his studies, and made his debut in 1896, publishing verses in Alexandru Macedonski's magazine Liga Ortodoxă under the name Ion Theo. Soon after, Macedonski, the herald of Romanian Symbolism, publicized his praise for the young poet:

"This young man, at an age when I was still prattling verses, with an audacity that knows no boundaries, but not yet crowned by the most glittering success, parts with the entire old versification technique, with all banalities in images in ideas that have for long been judged, here and elsewhere, as a summit of poetry and art."

He began stating his admiration for Symbolism and other trends pertaining to it (such as the Vienna Secession) in his articles of the time, while polemicizing with Junimea's George Panu over the latter's critique of modernist literature. In 1904, he and Vasile Demetrius published their own magazine, Linia Dreaptă, which ceased to exist after only five issues. Arghezi, Gala Galaction, and Demetrius maintained a close friendship, as witnessed by the latter's daughter, the actress and novelist Lucia Demetrius.

After a four year-long stint as an Orthodox monk at Cernica Monastery, he traveled abroad in 1905. He visited Paris and then moved to Fribourg, where he wrote poetry and attended courses at the local University; dissatisfied with the Roman Catholic focus encouraged by the latter, he moved to Geneva, where he was employed in a jeweler's workshop. During the Romanian Peasants' Revolt of 1907, the poet, known for his left-wing discourse and vocal criticism of the violent repression of the peasant movement, was kept under surveillance by Swiss authorities; a local newspaper claimed that Arghezi's mail had been tampered with, causing a scandal that led to the resignation of several officials. News he gathered of the revolt itself left a lasting impression on Arghezi: much later, he was to dedicate an entire volume to the events (his 1907-Peizaje, "Landscapes of 1907", which he described as "dealing with [...] the contrast between a nation and an abusive, solitary, class").

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Engraving

Through the mist today in sun
Was born of chaos, dead
At morning nightfall,
Gray as a tent.

While the soul descends
Melancholy across memories
Like a thin dust
Of sparks and glitter,

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