Demetru Demetrescu-Buzău, whose pen-name was Urmuz, published his first "bizarre pages" in 1922 and killed himself in 1923. His life was short, his literary life was one of the shortest ever, and his work is comparably short: just a few short stories. Yet his influence on the Romanian avant-garde was so great that one may call him its true progenitor. Not only was one of the avant-garde magazines simply called Urmuz, but the whole range of Romanian dadaists and surrealists followed the cult that unu, the most influential avant-garde magazine, dedicated to him. In daily life, Urmuz was a magistrate, and in private life a great music lover. His short stories were composed long before their publication, initially for the fun of the family. Afterwards he himself disseminated the odd stories to friends and even unknown people, in cafes and restaurants. Extremely cautious with their publication, he hesitated years before submitting the first of them to the editor of a literary paper, who happened to be the great poet Tudor Arghezi. He realized the short stories were unusual masterpieces and started to publish Urmuz' works. If one takes into account the year of their elaboration, and not the one of their publication, the few short stories of Urmuz represent a major document of surrealism avant-la-lettre.

by Plural magazine