Editor's Note

There is an old Romanian saying – Romanians are born poets. Judging by the amount of poetry produced in Romania in the past two centuries, there may be more to it than mere preconception. But although one may discover a fair number of gems upon reading it, and critics still consider poetry the best thing that ever happened in Romanian literature, we can boast a handful of excellent prose writers who, with few exceptions, have never had the chance to be published in English. For, lyrical and fatalistic as he may be, the Romanian has learned to take things less seriously than others, due perhaps both to his ancient heritage and to hectic, adverse historical circumstances. Whether a villager or a city dweller, his belief that nothing is too serious to make fun of, which sometimes turns into a way of life, will baffle or outrage foreigners. We leave it to the critics to decide whether this is the expression of ancestral sorrow, yearning, or frustration.This selection burgeoned around a nucleus of texts translated by an eminent Anglicist, the late professor Andrei BANTAŞ (1930-1997). The theme was generous, so eventually it assembled almost three dozen authors, with plenty of room still available for others, and a wide range of styles, from peasant (Creangă) to epigrammatic humor (Cilibi Moise), and from parody (Budai-Deleanu) to the absurd (Urmuz). As readers of PLURAL must know by now, this is no exhaustive attempt, nor do all the authors included rank as high in the eyes of critics and readers. But since it all comes down to a matter of taste, we can only trust that everyone will be able to find something to his liking.

by Adrian Solomon