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Ion Iovan

Biography

Ion Iovan was born in Gaesti, Dimbovita, on 9 May 1937. He attended the Matei Basarab Lycée in Pitesti (1955) and then the Law Faculty of Bucharest University (1957 61) and the School of Geology (1961 63). He published two collections of poetry with Cartea Romaneasca, The Afternoon of a Moment (1976) and Nature Reserve (1979), followed by three collections of prose : Special Commission (1981), Impromptu (1986), and The Last Winter (1991). The second edition of Special Commission was published in 1998. In 2002, he published Portrait of a Romanian Dandy, and in 2008 The Final Notes of Mateiu Caragiale, together with Unpublished Letters and an Index of Creatures, Things and Occurrences. He has been awarded the Writers Union Debut Prize, the Ziarul de Iasi National Prize for...

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Novel, Fiction LTD series, Polirom, 2015, 512 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

Regarded as the greatest Romanian playwright of all time, Ion Luca Caragiale is one of the characters of the novel M J C. But the main character is the playwright’s son, also a highly important writer : Mateiu Caragiale. The novel is original in its approach, weaving together the real, the imaginary and the lifelike, against the backdrop of Romania’s Belle Epoque, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This world is described both from the outside and from the inside of an unusual mind, that of “the most reactionary Romanian writer.” He is a character wholly unique, haughty, non conformist, insufferable. As a young man, he obstinately forges for himself the life and appearance of a true dandy, scandalising contemporary philistines, chief among whom is his own father. As a grown man, he isolates himself within his own haughtiness, becoming the strangest figure in inter bellum Bucharest. He spends the last decade of his life in the house of boyar Marica Sion, stubbornly transforming her manor in Baragan into an aristocratic estate. With his entire being, he is now able to demonstrate what he has always desired : noblesse, elegance, style. He breaks almost completely with his times, a period in which “the elected representatives of the rabble have begun to slobber over everything.” He yearns for the pre First World War Romania, the same as many people nowadays yearn for pre Second World War Romania.

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