Lucian Blaga was a commanding personality of the Romanian culture of the inter-bellum period. He was a philosopher and writer acclaimed for his originality, a university professor and a diplomat. He was born on May 9, 1895 in Lancram, near Alba Iulia, Romania, into a family of priests. Although he could speak he did not speak any words until he was four, and he later described his early childhood as "under the sign of the incredible absence of word". In the poem "Self-Portrait" he describes himself : "Lucian Blaga is silent like a swan."
His elementary education was in Sebes (1902-1906), after which he attended the "Andrei Saguna" school in Brasov (1906-1914), under the supervision of a relative, Iosif Blaga, who happened to be the author of the first Romanian treatise on the theory of drama. At the outbreak of the First World War, he began theological studies at Sibiu, where he graduated in 1917. From 1917 to 1920, he attended courses at the University of Vienna, where he studied philosophy and obtained his PhD.
Upon returning to the re-unified Romania, he contributed to the Romanian press in Transylvania, being the editor of the magazines Culture in Cluj and The Banat in Lugoj.
In 1926, he became involved in Romanian diplomacy, occupying successive posts at Romania's legations in Warsaw, Prague, Lisbon, Bern and Vienna. He was chosen member of the Romanian Academy in 1937. His acceptance speech was entitled Elogiul satului românesc (In Praise of the Romanian Village).
In 1939, he became professor of cultural philosophy at the University of Cluj, temporarily located in Sibiu in the years following the Second Vienna Award. In Sibiu he edited, beginning in 1943, the magazine Saeculum, which was published annually.
He was dismissed from his university professor chair in 1948 and he worked as librarian for the branch department (Cluj) of the History Institute of the Romanian Academy. Until 1960, he was allowed to publish only translations.
In 1956, he was nominated to the Nobel Prize for Literature on the proposal of Bazil Munteanu of France and Rosa del Conte of Italy, but it seems the idea was of Mircea Eliade. Still, the Romanian Communist government sent two emissaries to Sweden to protest the nomination, because Blaga was considered an idealist philosopher, and his poems were forbidden until 1962.
He died of cancer on May 6, 1961, and is buried in Lancram, Romania.
The University of Sibiu bears his name nowdays.
"Lucian Blaga." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 3 Jan 2009, 14:50 UTC. 6 Jan 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lucian_Blaga&oldid=261682773>