Ion Heliade Rădulescu

Ion Heliade Rădulescu

Infobox Writer
name = Ion Heliade Rădulescu

imagesize = 180px
caption = Portrait of Heliade Rădulescu, by Mişu Popp
pseudonym = Ion Heliade, Eliad
birthdate = birth date|1802|1|6
birthplace = Târgovişte, Wallachia
deathdate = death date and age|mf=yes|1872|4|27|1802|1|6
deathplace = Bucharest, Principality of Romania
occupation = poet, essayist, journalist, translator, historian, philosopher
nationality = Wallachian, Romanian
period = 1828–1870
genre = lyric poetry, epic poetry, autobiography, satire
subject = linguistics, Romanian history, philosophy of history
movement = Romanticism
influences = Ludovico Ariosto, Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, François-René de Chateaubriand, Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, Dante Aligheri, G. W. F. Hegel, Victor Hugo, Alphonse de Lamartine, Gheorghe Lazăr, Jean-François Marmontel, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Naum Râmniceanu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Schiller, Torquato Tasso, Voltaire
influenced = Ion Luca Caragiale, Mihai Eminescu, Alexandru Macedonski

website =

Ion Heliade Rădulescu or Ion Heliade (also known as "Eliad" or "Eliade Rădulescu"; IPA-all|jon heliˈade rəduˈlesku; January 6, 1802–April 27, 1872) was a Wallachian-born Romanian academic, Romantic and Classicist poet, essayist, memoirist, short story writer, newspaper editor and politician. A prolific translator of foreign literature into Romanian, he was also the author of books on linguistics and history. For much of his life, Heliade Rădulescu was a teacher at Saint Sava College in Bucharest, which he helped reopen. He was a founding member and first president of the Romanian Academy.

Heliade Rădulescu is considered one of the foremost champions of Romanian culture from the first half of the 19th century, having first risen to prominence through his association with Gheorghe Lazăr and his support of Lazăr's drive for discontinuing education in Greek. Over the following decades, he had a major role in shaping the modern Romanian language, but caused controversy when he advocated the massive introduction of Italian neologisms into the Romanian lexis. A Romantic nationalist landowner siding with moderate liberals, Heliade was among the leaders of the 1848 Wallachian revolution, after which he was forced to spend several years in exile. Adopting an original form of conservatism, which emphasized the role of the aristocratic boyars in Romanian history, he was rewarded for supporting the Ottoman Empire and clashed with the radical wing of the 1848 revolutionaries.


Early life

Heliade Rădulescu was born in Târgovişte, the son of Ilie Rădulescu, a wealthy proprietor who served as the leader of a patrol unit during the 1810s, and Eufrosina Danielopol, who had been educated in Greek.Stănescu-Stanciu, p.67] Three of his siblings died of bubonic plague before 1829. Throughout his early youth, Ion was the focus of his parents' affectionate supervision: early on, Ilie Rădulescu purchased a house once owned by the scholar Gheorghe Lazăr on the outskirts of Bucharest (near Obor), as a gift for his son. At the time, the Rădulescus were owners of a large garden in the Bucharest area, nearby Herăstrău, as well as of estates in the vicinity of Făgăraş and Gârbovi.

After basic education in Greek with a tutor known as Alexe, Ion Heliade Rădulescu taught himself reading in Romanian Cyrillic (reportedly by studying the "Alexander Romance" with the help of his father's Oltenian servants). [Măciucă, p.VI, XXXVII; Stănescu-Stanciu, p.67–68] He subsequently became an avid reader of popular novels, especially during his 1813 sojourn in Gârbovi (where he had been sent after other areas of the country came to be ravaged by "Caragea's plague").Stănescu-Stanciu, p.68] After 1813, the teenaged Rădulescu was a pupil of the Orthodox monk Naum Râmniceanu; in 1815, he moved on to the Greek school at Schitu Măgureanu, in Bucharest, and, in 1818, to the Saint Sava School, where he studied under Gheorghe Lazăr's supervision. ["Encyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848"; Măciucă, p.VI, XXXVII] Between his 1820 graduation and 1821, when effects of the Wallachian uprising led to School to cease its activities, he was kept as Lazăr's assistant teacher, tutoring in arithmetics and geometry. [Măciucă, p.VI–VII; XXXVII] It was during those years that he adopted the surname "Heliade" (also rendered "Heliad", "Eliad" or "Eliade"), which, he later explained, was a Greek version of his patronymic, in turn stemming from the Romanian version of "Elijah". [Djuvara, p.183]

Under Grigore Ghica

In 1822, after Gheorghe Lazăr had fallen ill, Heliade reopened Saint Sava and served as its main teacher (initially, without any form of remuneration).Giurescu, p.120] [Măciucă, p.VIII, IX–X, XXXVII] He was later joined in this effort by other intellectuals of the day, such as Eufrosin Poteca, and, eventually, also opened an art class overseen by the Croat Carol Valştain.George Oprescu (ed.), "Scurtă istorie a artelor plastice în R.P.R.", Editura Academiei RPR, Bucharest, 1958, p.31. OCLC|7162839] This re-establishment came as a result of ordinances issued by Prince Grigore IV Ghica, who had just been assigned by the Ottoman Empire to the throne of Wallachia upon the disestablishment of Phanariote rule, encouraging the marginalization of ethnic Greeks who had assumed public office in previous decades. Thus, Prince Ghica had endorsed education in Romanian and, in one of his official "firmans", defined teaching in Greek as "the foundation of evils" ("temelia răutăţilor").

During the late 1820s, Heliade became involved in cultural policies. In 1827, he and Dinicu Golescu founded "Soţietatea literară românească" (the Romanian Literary Society), which, through its program (mapped out by Heliade himself), proposed Saint Sava's transformation into a college, the opening of another such institution in Craiova, and the creation of schools in virtually all Wallachian localities. [Măciucă, p.VII, X, XXXVII] In addition, "Soţietatea" attempted to encourage the establishment of Romanian-language newspapers, calling for an end to the state monopoly on printing presses. The grouping, headquartered on central Bucharest's Podul Mogoşoaiei, benefited from Golescu's experience abroad, and was soon joined by two future Princes, Gheorghe Bibescu and Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei. Its character was based on Freemasonry; ["Encyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848"; Djuvara, p.317] around that time, Heliade is known to have become a Freemason, as did a large section of his generation. [Djuvara, p.317; ro icon Dan Amedeo Lăzărescu, [ "1848: Revoluţia intelectualilor"] , in "Magazin Istoric", June 1998]

In 1828, Heliade published his first work, an essay on Romanian grammar, in the Transylvanian city of Hermannstadt (which was part of the Austrian Empire at the time), and, on April 20, 1829, began printing the Bucharest-based paper "Curierul Românesc".Giurescu, p.125] [Măciucă, p.X–XI, XXXVIII] This was the most successful of several attempts to create a local newspaper, something Golescu first attempted in 1828. Publishing articles in both Romanian and French, "Curierul Românesc" had, starting in 1836, its own literary supplement, under the title of "Curier de Ambe Sexe"; in print until 1847, it notably published one of Heliade's most famous poems, "Zburătorul". [Giurescu, p.125, 126; Măciucă, p.XI–XII] "Curierul Românesc" was edited as a weekly, and later as a bimonthly, until 1839, when it began to be issued three or four times a week. Its best-known contributors were Heliade himself, Grigore Alexandrescu, Costache Negruzzi, Dimitrie Bolintineanu, Ioan Catina, Vasile Cârlova, and Iancu Văcărescu. [Măciucă, p.XI]

In 1823, Heliade met Maria Alexandrescu, with whom he fell passionately in love, and whom he later married. By 1830, the Heliades' two children, a son named Virgiliu and a daughter named Virgilia, died in infancy; subsequently, their marriage entered a long period of crisis, marked by Maria's frequent outbursts of jealousy. Ion Heliade probably had a number of extramarital affairs: a Wallachian Militia officer named Zalic, who became known during the 1840s, is thought by some, including the literary critic George Călinescu, to have been the writer's illegitimate son. Before the death of her first child, Maria Heliade welcomed into her house Grigore Alexandrescu, himself a celebrated writer, whom Ion suspected had become her lover. Consequently, the two authors became bitter rivals: Ion Heliade referred to Alexandrescu as "that ingrate", and, in an 1838 letter to George Bariţ, downplayed his poetry and character (believing that, in one of his fables, Alexandrescu had depicted himself as a nightingale, he commented that, in reality, he was "a piteous rook dressed in foreign feathers"). Despite these household conflicts, Maria Heliade gave birth to five other children, four daughters and one son (Ion, born 1846).Stănescu-Stanciu, p.69]

Printer and court poet

In October 1830, together with his uncle Nicolae Rădulescu, he opened the first privately-owned printing press in his country, operating on his property at "Cişmeaua Mavrogheni", in Obor (the land went by the name of "Câmpul lui Eliad"—"Eliad's Field", and housed several other large buildings). Among the first works he published was a collection of poems by Alphonse de Lamartine, translated by Heliade from French, and grouped together with some of his own poems.Măciucă, p.XXXVIII] Later, he translated a textbook on meter and Louis-Benjamin Francoeur's standard manual of "Arithmetics", as well as works by Enlightenment authors — Voltaire's "Mahomet, ou le fanatisme", and stories by Jean-François Marmontel. They were followed, in 1839, by a version of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Julie, or the New Heloise".

Heliade began a career as a civil servant after the "Postelnicie" commissioned him to print the "Official Bulletin", and later climbed through the official hierarchy, eventually serving as "Clucer". This rise coincided with the establishment of the "Regulamentul Organic" regime, inaugurated, upon the end of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829, by a Imperial Russian administration under Pavel Kiselyov. When Kiselyov placed an order with Heliade for the printing of official documents, including the "Regulament", the writer and his family were made prosperous by the sales. Nevertheless, Heliade maintained contacts with the faction of reformist boyars: in 1833, together with Ion Câmpineanu, Iancu Văcărescu, Ioan Voinescu II, Constantin Aristia, Ştefan and Nicolae Golescu, as well as others, he founded the short-lived "Soţietatea Filarmonică" (the Philharmonic Society), which advanced a cultural agenda (and was especially active in raising funds for the National Theater of Wallachia). ["Encyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848"; Măciucă, p.VII, XII–XIII, XXXVIII] Aside from its stated cultural goals, "Soţietatea Filarmonică" continued a covert political activity. ["Encyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848"; Giurescu, p.131; Măciucă, p.XII]

In 1834, when Prince Alexandru II Ghica came to the throne, Heliade became one of his close collaborators, styling himself "court poet". Several of the poems and discourses he authored during the period are written as panegyrics, and dedicated to Ghica, whom Heliade depicted as an ideal prototype of a monarch. As young reformists came into conflict with the prince, he kept his neutrality, arguing that all sides involved represented a privileged minority, and that the disturbances were equivalent to "the quarrel of wolves and the noise made by those in higher positions over the torn-apart animal that is the peasant". He was notably critical of the radical Mitică Filipescu, whom he satirized in the poem "Căderea dracilor" ("The Demons' Fall"), and later defined his own position with the words "I hate tyrants. I fear anarchy". [Măciucă, p.VII]

It was also in 1834 that Heliade began teaching at the "Soţietatea Filarmonică"'s school (alongside Aristia and the musician Ioan Andrei Wachmann), and published his first translations from Lord Byron (in 1847, he completed the translation of Byron's "Don Juan"). [Măciucă, p.X] The next year, he began printing "Gazeta Teatrului Naţional" (official voice of the National Theater, published until 1836), and translated Molière's "Amphitryon" into Romanian. [Măciucă, p.XII, XXXVIII] In 1839, Heliade also translated Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote" from a French source. The first collection of his own prose and poetry works saw print in 1836. Interested in the development of local art, he contributed a brochure on drawing and architecture in 1837, and, during the same year, opened the first permanent exhibit in Wallachia (featuring copies of Western paintings, portraits, and gypsum casts of various known sculptures).

By the early 1840s, Heliade began expanding on his notion that modern Romanian needed to emphasize its connections with other Romance languages through neologisms from Italian, and, to this goal, he published _ro. "Paralelism între limba română şi italiană" ("Parallelism between the Romanian language and Italian", 1840) and _ro. "Paralelism între dialectele român şi italian sau forma ori gramatica acestor două dialecte" ("Parallelism between the Romanian and Italian Dialects or the Form or Grammar of These Two Dialects", 1841).Măciucă, p.XXXIX] The two books were followed by a compendium, "Prescurtare de gramatica limbei româno-italiene" ("Summary of the Grammar of the Romanian-Italian Language"), and, in 1847, by a comprehensive list of Romanian words that had originated in Slavic, Greek, Ottoman Turkish, Hungarian, and German ("see Romanian lexis"). By 1846, he was planning to begin work on a "universal library", which was to include, among other books, the major the philosophical writings of, among others, Plato, Aristotle, Roger Bacon, René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. [Călinescu, p.64]

1848 Revolution

Before Alexandru Ghica was replaced with Gheorghe Bibescu, his relations with Heliade had soured. In contrast with his earlier call for moderation, the writer decided to side with the liberal current in its conspiratorial opposition to Bibescu.Giurescu, p.132] The so-called "Trandafiloff affair" of early 1844 was essential in this process — it was provoked by Bibescu's decision to lease all Wallachian mines to a Russian engineer named Alexander Trandafiloff, a measure considered illegal by the Assembly and ultimately ending in Bibescu's decision to dissolve his legislative.Isar] These events made Heliade publish a pamphlet titled "Măceşul" ("The Eglantine"), which was heavily critical of Russian influence and reportedly sold over 30,000 copies. It was centered on the pun alluding to Trandafiloff's name — "trandafir cu of în coadă" (lit. "a rose ending in -of", but also "a rose with grief for a stem"). Making additional covert reference to Trandafiloff as "the eglantine", it featured the lyrics:

During the early 1880s, Alexandru Macedonski and his "Literatorul" attempted to preserve Heliade's status and his theories when these were faced with criticism from "Junimea"; by 1885, this rivalry ended in defeat for Macedonski, and contributed to the disestablishment of "Literatorul". [Vianu, Vol.II, p.362, 376]

Although a "Junimist" for a large part of his life, Ion Luca Caragiale himself saw a precursor in Heliade, and even expressed some sympathy for his political ideals. During the 1890s, he republished a piece by Heliade in the Conservative Party's main journal, "Epoca". One of Caragiale's most significant characters, the Transylvanian schoolteacher Marius Chicoş Rostogan, shares many traits with his counterparts in Heliade's stories. Developing his own theory, he claimed that there was a clear difference between, on one hand, the generation of Heliade Rădulescu, Ion Câmpineanu, and Nicolae Bălcescu, and, on the other, the National Liberal establishment formed around Pantazi Ghica, Nicolae Misail and Mihail Pătârlăgeanu — he identified the latter grouping with hypocrisy, demagogy, and political corruption, while arguing that the former could have found itself best represented by the Conservatives. [Z. Ornea, "Junimea şi junimismul", Vol. II, Editura Minerva, Bucharest, 1998, p.202-204, 228. ISBN 973-21-0562-3]

Comments about Heliade and his Bucharest statue feature prominently in Macedonski's short story "Nicu Dereanu", whose main character, a daydreaming Bohemian, idolizes the Wallachian writer. [Vianu, Vol.II, p.429–430] "Sburătorul", a modernist literary magazine of the interwar period, edited by Eugen Lovinescu, owed its name to "Zburătorul", making use of an antiquated variant of the name (a form favored by Heliade). During the same years, Camil Petrescu made reference to Heliade in his novel "Un om între oameni", which depicts events from Nicolae Bălcescu's lifetime. [Vianu, Vol.III, p.317]

In his "Autobiography", the Romanian philosopher Mircea Eliade indicated that it was likely that his ancestors, whose original surname was "Ieremia", had adopted the new name as a tribute to Heliade Rădulescu, whom they probably admired. [Mircea Eliade, "Autobiography", University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990, p.4. ISBN 0226204073]



*Ion Heliade Rădulescu, "Scrieri alese", Editura Albatros, Bucharest, 1978. OCLC|16207716
**Constantin Măciucă, "Prefaţă", "Tabel cronologic", p.V–XL
**"Aprecieri critice", p.207–218
* [ "Heliade Rădulescu, Ion"] , in the [ "Encyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848"] , at Ohio University (retrieved June 9, 2007)
*Lucian Boia, "History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness", Central European University Press, Budapest, 2001. ISBN 9639116963
*George Călinescu, "Istoria literaturii române. Compendiu", Editura Minerva, Bucharest, 1983
*Neagu Djuvara, "Între Orient şi Occident. Ţările române la începutul epocii moderne", Humanitas, Bucharest, 1995. ISBN 9732805234
*Constantin C. Giurescu, "Istoria Bucureştilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre", Editura Pentru Literatură, Bucharest, 1966. OCLC|1279610
*ro icon Garabet Ibrăileanu, [ "Spiritul critic în cultura românească"] (wikisource)
** [ "Amestec de curente contradictorii: G. Asachi"]
** [ "Evoluţia spiritului critic—Deosebirile dintre vechea şcoală critică moldovenească şi "Junimea"]
*fr icon Nicolae Iorga, [ "Histoire des relations entre la France et les Roumains"] (wikisource)
** [ "La Monarchie de juillet et les Roumains"]
** [ "La Révolution de 1848 et les émigrés"]
** [ "La guerre de Crimée et la fondation de l'Etat roumain"]
*ro icon Nicolae Isar, [ "Sub semnul românismului de la domnitorul Gheorghe Bibescu la scriitorul Simeon Marcovici. Domnitorul Gheorghe Bibescu: A. Privire asupra domniei"] , at the University of Bucharest (retrieved June 12, 2007)
*Frederick Kellogg, "The Road to Romanian Independence", Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, 1995. ISBN 1557530653
*ro icon Theo Stănescu-Stanciu, [ "Şi Heliade a fost îndrăgostit"] , in "Magazin Istoric", December 2000, p.67–70
*Tudor Vianu, "Scriitori români", Vols. I–III, Editura Minerva, Bucharest, 1970–1971. OCLC|7431692
*ro icon Paul Zarifopol, [ "Poezia românească în epoca lui Asachi şi Eliade"] (wikisource)

External links

* [ "The Humanities and The Social Sciences in The Academy. Literature, Folklore and the Arts"] , at the Romanian Academy site
*ro icon Răzvan Pârâianu, [ "În amintirea lui Ion Heliade Rădulescu. Aniversarea a 200 de ani de la naşterea sa"] (page dedicated to the memory of Ion Heliade Rădulescu, upon the 200th anniversary of his death)

NAME = Rădulescu, Ion Heliade
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Heliade, Ion; Eliad; Rădulescu, Eliade
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Academic, Romantic and Classicist poet, essayist, memoirist, short story writer, newspaper editor and politician
DATE OF BIRTH = 6 January 1802
PLACE OF BIRTH = Târgovişte, Wallachia
DATE OF DEATH = 27 April 1872
PLACE OF DEATH = Bucharest, Romania

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