Bridge Over Dry Land

This issue is dedicated to some of the most significant bizarre, atypical figures in Romanian literature. Although it consists of a selection of literary sketches and fragments of novels, it can be best described as an anthology of twentieth-century poetic prose, stretching from Urmuz in the early twenties to Naum in the late nineties. It goes from the explosive eclosion of historical modernism to its subversive, resilient survival. No purist theoretical criteria backed the choice of names and works. One would say that certain shared idiosyncrasies make these names stick together in a surrealist stylistic framework. Others would say that the typology of fantastic literature would better cover the choice. Some would close them with the key word of avant-garde experiment. On the contrary, others would see no visible link between the exquisite decadentism of Mateiu Caragiale, the playful absurd of Urmuz, the exasperate, expressionist combustion of Blecher, the quasi-mystical, dramatic quest of Fondane and Zenobia, the neuro-erotic textural work by Naum. Yet they amazingly enact the same confusing theatre of words, and suspended, fluid narratives, bracketing the common reality by means of blown-up perceptions and monstrous insights. They all are in the mood for an inner text, open to that frenzy of the "immediate unreal," sketching stories that look like dizzying pictures rather than decorous narratives. The lexical hypertrophy of the real makes their worlds work as some lucid nightmares, an outgrowth of the hidden though terrible ego creeping through a stylistically confined crack of the being. In it resides the mystery of the innermost, evanescent things, showing that there is no other side of the world, but the obscure inner side of the real. Out of it emerges the strange science of a disturbed, ecstatic sense, the vivid, hallucinatory fiction of "pohymnic" worlds (to paraphrase Gellu Naum's idea of 'pohetry'), like those suggested by the pieces of poetic prose selected here.

by Erwin Kessler