163rd birthday anniversary of Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu on January 15

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On January 15 the Romanians celebrate the 163rd birthday anniversary of the great Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu (January 15, 1850-June 15, 1889).

 Mihai Eminescu was born at Ipotesti in the northern Romanian County of Botosani, on January 15, 1850.

Starting in 1860, he attended the German upper secondary school in Cernauti (today in Ukraine) and then in Blaj and Sibiu (both in central Romania). He joined a theatrical company and went to Bucharest, where he was employed as a prompter. In 1869 he went to Vienna where he attended lectures of philosophy, law, political economy, Romance philology and sciences (mathematics, anatomy, physics, astronomy, etc) at the Philosophy Faculty until 1872.

His first attempts to write poetry date back to January 1866, when he made his debut with „At Aron Pumnul’s Grave,” a poem dedicated to the memory of his teacher.

The same year he began contributing to the Familia magazine published by Iosif Vulcan, who has the merit of having discovered the future great poet. Eminescu’s real debut was in 1866, when the aforementioned magazine published his first poem, „If I Had….”

Some of the most famous poems written afterwards are the „Lucifer,” the „Satires,” „Down Where the Lonely Poplars Grow,” „And If…,” „From the Night…,” „Longing,” „Blue Flower,” „Desire,” „The Forest Pool,” „The Tale of the Forest” and others. Nature, love and life’s vanity are the most recurrent themes in Eminescu’s poetic creation. The Junimea literary society received his poetry with great enthusiasm.

Between 1872 and 1874 he took courses of philosophy, history, Sanskrit, comparative mythology, geography, ethnography and history of science in Berlin.

Coming back to his native country, to the eastern Romanian city of Iasi, Eminescu met the famous Romanian storyteller Ion Creanga and they will be close friends for the rest of their lives. Still there, he came to know poetess Veronica Micle, his great love, who stood by his side till the end of his life.

The first and only book of poetry published in his lifetime was „Poems,” in December 1883, prefaced by Titu Maiorescu from the Junimea literary society.

The poet died on June 15, 1889 and was buried at the Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest. After his death he was made an honorary member of the Romanian Academy in October 1948.

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