Thursday, October 04, 2007

Liviu Rebreanu - The Forest Of The Hanged

Liviu Rebreanu (1885 - 1944).

Under the grey, autumn sky, resembling a giant bell of steamy glass, the new, defying scaffold, stuck in the ground at the edge of the village, stretched forth her rope-bearing arm towards the dark field, stung here and there by brassy trees. Overseen by a short, sooty corporal and helped by a ruddy, hairy-faced peasant, two old soldiers dug the hole, often spitting in their palms, gasping and panting from exhaustion after each pick-blow. From the earth’s wound, the diggers threw out yellow, sticky clay.


Then, Apostle was surrounded by a wave of love that sprung as if from the bowels of the Earth. He lifted up his eyes towards the heaven that was nailed and fastened by delayed stars. The mountain-ridges were drawn on the sky as a huge saw with blunt teeth. Straight forward shone the morning-star mysteriously, announcing the sunrise. Apostle fitted his rope all by himself, his eyes thirsting for the light of dawn. The earth was bereft from underneath his feet. He felt his body hanging like a burden. But his sight took off, eagerly, flying towards the heavenly brightness, while the priest’s voice was quenching in his ears:
- Receive, Oh Lord, the soul of Thy servant Apostle... Apostle... Apostle...


Rob said...

I forgot whatever you once told me about Rebreanu, and I looked him up but only found Romanian Wikipedia.

Playing a dangerous game, using my knowledge of Spanish and Latin root words, I discovered that he was a writer (literature, journalism, at least one play and lots of opera).

anul -year

scrie - write, wrote?

-În luna martie 1940- I am tempted to say 'Monday Tuesday 1940', which is nonsense. What about 'early March, 1940'?

-La 1 septembrie 1944 la Valea Mare, a încetat din viaţă la vârsta de 59 de ani- Sept. 1, 1944 The "Valea Mare" died at 59 years of age. Valea Mare is some kind of eponym. The 'valiant man'? 'Mare' looks like 'sea' in Latin, but that wouldn't make sense.

-Peste câteva luni a fost deshumat şi reînhumat la Cimitirul Bellu din Bucureşti.-His cadaver was exhumed (dug up from the grave) and reburied at the cemetery Bellu in Bucharest?

Lucian said...

Relax, Rob, ... I haven't told You *anything* `bout Rebreanu :-) ... well, except how to pronounce his name, maybe ...

The guy's best known (in Romania, of course: his "new and original" contribution to the outside world is nill; that's `cause he didn't have any) ... well, as I was saying, he's best known for his objective novels, especially these four: "John", "The Rebellion" [both social novels, treating the various aspects of the Romanian rural reality]; and "The Forest Of The Hanged" [that deals with the crude and cruel reality of the battle-field]; and "Ciuleandra" [these last two being psychological ones].

"luna martie " = the month of March.

"Valea Mare" = 'The Great Valey', (where he spent his final days).

"mare" = (1) sea [Lat. "mare, maris"]; (2) big [Lat. "mas, maris"]. -->

"la" = at. In Romanian, the definite article is *allways* entclitic, *never* postclitic (as in ALL the other Latin Languages). For masculines, it's an "-l" attached to the end of the word by help of the ligate-letter "u": OM = man, OMUL = the man. For feminines, it's the transformation of the last sound back into the original Latin "a"-ending: FEMEIE = woman, FEMEIA = the woman.

Rob said...

I got the audio to work on that link you sent me!

Cray-chune. Okay.

Is your "other" name (your given name, right?) pronounced Loo-chee-awn?

Lucian said...

Yes. Yes.

Rob said...

Zorba the Greek arrived today.

I'm reading it!

Alice C. Linsley said...

Lucian, Thanks for the mini lesson in Romanian. One of my Romanian students tried to teach me Romanian in exchange for teaching him Spanish. He learned faster than I did!

Lucian said...

The problem with the Romanian tongue is that it's unique in all the ways that it maybe shouldn't be ...

(1) we were the last place on the face of this earth to be occupied by the Roman "civilising" boots, and the first to be released from underneath its "enculturating" pressure. We were under Roman occupation for no more than 150 to 250 yrs., and had only 15% to 25% of our country under foreign occupation ... AND YET ... we've forgot our millennia-long spoken native Dacian language in just a few generations -tops!-, with an overwhelmingly 75% to 85% of our land on which Romans NEVER even got to set foot upon ... VERY SAD ... YET VERY TRUE ...

(2) given the clear and obvious point made at #1 above, the following statement will maybe sound rather shocking: one third of the successors of these spineless Dacians found themselves under yet another foreign occupation ... BUT THIS TIME, for more than a millennium (NOT for just a quarter thereof, as previously) ... and with their entire territory under occupation (and NOT just merely a quarter thereof, ... as previously) ... AND YET, CURIOUSLY ENOUGH: THIS TIME, the fingerprints that this particular "little" siege left us with is virtually nill: whereas Latin words constitute over 80%-90% of our vocabulary, ... the Hungarian ones are responsible for not even 1% thereof (!!!).

(3) our language is preposterously unique: yes, it IS a Latin language, ... but with all the wrong choices: just a few examples here;

- the word for "bad" or "evil" does NOT come from the ubiquitous "malus, mala, malum" ... but rather from the spurious "reus" [accused; defendant].

- the word for "father" is the overtly-vulgar "tata" ... instead of the more common, well-known "pater". -- we resemble the Gypsies ["dada"] and the English ["dad; daddy"] in this aspect.

- as for "earth", we're the only wise-guys who thought it'll be pretty darn cool to have TWO instead of just ONE word for it: "tara" [meaning 'country': from "terra" --> until now, nothing suspicious, memorable, or out-of-the-ordinary: other people of Latin descent use a similar also] ... "but, hey! ... why not make use of that bloody little "pavimentum" also? Huh? ... `cause, Ya know, >pamant< is SUCH a sexxy word!" :D

Practically: even if one were to know Latin, it would hardly help him at anything at trying to learn Romanian.

(4) it's also unitarian in structure: people from all over Romania's territory are able to mutually understand each-other without recurring to any artificial "high-language" --not that one does not currently exist, though--, but just by simply speaking in their own native dialects ... this is completely unimaginable in any other countries: Italy, Spain, Potugal, France, Germany, England ... You name it! The Romans have succeeded in creating the most unified Latin language on the face of the earth 2,000 km from their own home ... a language so unitarian, --such as not even Rome's own people, their direct descendants, who still inhabit the respective parts of the world that the old Romans did, and still speak a language very close to that of their ancestors--, aren't able to boast of possessing -- quite frankly, I find that rather pathetic (for Romanians: being "more Catholic than the Pope", Kafka-style: [the Penitencial Colony, and all that]).

(5) Oh, Yeah ! ... and THIS is the cherry on top of the cake: there are only TWO "proud" people -- both of which "dignifyingly" wear the name of ancient Rome -- us and the Gypsies. :D ... and by the looks of our negative birth-rate (due to abortions and emmigration), as opposed to that of our more "life-loving", colourful neighbours, looks like Romania's gonna be spelled with TWO innitial "R"`s pretty soon ... :D

Lucian said...

BTW, ... does anybody reading this know of another such "enlightened" nation (like ours, I mean), who thought that they'll be better off with >padure< [Latin: "padule"], instead of the more lascively-sounding "silva"? NO?? NOONE?? ... Thougt so! The Romanian "genius" in such cases is rather unique, far 'surpassing' anyone ... >;)

Lucian said...

I guess the whole very-sudden and almost-instantaneous Latinization-process that took place in these parts [I mean, trading one's language and people-name for that of another, totally foreign -not ot mention oppressing- culture just like that ... in just a few generations] ... I guess it's some-sort of an identity-crisis ... one that manifested itself throughout our entire history as a people: under Romans, Slavs, French and Germans ... then again under Slavs; now under English-speaking American pop-(sub?)-culture.

I know You will probably never be able to watch these movies, ... BUT -if by any chance You'll ever be able to- I'ld recommend: "Occident", "Asfalt Tango", "Filantropica" -- they tell EVERYTHING that there's to know about our innermost essence ... and it's NOT pretty. They show how pathetic, shameful, disgusting, two-faced, back-stabbing, perverse little creatures we REALLY are ... and how we try to hide that and cover it. -- But we've been spoted!

Anonymous said...

Heh, so far away and yet I find blogs like this. It's a mixture of pride and self-hatred. Something that is so rare and only found as widespread is in americans.

Problem with what you were saying about the language's origin is that there's very few records and most of it guesswork and even more wishful thinking. Not to negate what you have posted, they are all true.

You were right about the hungarian part, the romanian language picked up very little, and even those are pretty much restricted to Transylvania (Ardeal). But you seem to forget either out of ignorance or by design to mention that one of the reasons why romanian is so different from other latin based languages comes from picking up so much slavic.

Anyway, not to take away from the merit of the original intent of this post. Padurea Spanzuratilor remains one of my favorite romanian novels ever. The ironic part is that me being romanian by nationality only, and not by ethnicity, made me the only one who could truly appreciate it's meaning when I was in high school and read it.

P.S. Dunno if you still follow your own blog but it was a nice surprise to find it.