n Romanian culture, Lucian Blaga stands out as the greatest
creative personality of the 20 th century. His work as a poet, philosopher,
essayist, playwright and translator of poetry – is a synthesis of great
originality. He represents a profound ethical inspiration nourished by an
amazing openness towards the various aspects of the human mind: philosophy
and science, history and religion and, above all, the complex and controversial
field of art.
Lucian Blaga was born in the village of Lancrăm (Alba County) in the centre
of Transylvania. He was educated at Sibiu and Braşov and studied theology
in Vienna. After a period of almost seven years as diplomat in Berne and Lisbon,
he was appointed professor at the University of Cluj, where a special chair
of Philosophy of Culture was founded for him in acknowledgment of his activity
as an intellectual. His philosophical thinking was set forth in four trilogies: The
Trilogy of Knowledge, The Trilogy of Culture, The Trilogy of Values and The
Cosmological Trilogy. In his metaphysical system, emphasis is laid on
the ontological and cosmological problem, as well as on the gnoseological
The vision of the philosopher was shared by the poet, whose lyrical works
evince the influence of German expressionism. Blaga’s expressionism has a
distinct Romanian flavour that is revealed by the investigation of traditional
latencies. His lyrical works, collected in volumes such as Poems of Light,
The Prophet’s Steps, In the Great Transition, Praise of Sleep, display
a concern with the morphology of the miracle.
The same concern with miracle is noticeable in his dramatic works, which
are regarded as a theatre of ideas. His plays deal with history and nationalism,
with religious and mythical subjects which blend with Romanian folk beliefs.
His best-known play – “The Master Builder Manole” – tackles a fundamental
Romanian myth, that of the sacrifice necessary for creation.
But if our folk genius appealed to Blaga, world genius also fascinated him.
His translations from great poets of the world, including Goethe’s masterpiece
– “Faust”, bear testimony to his versatility as a writer.
Blaga died in 1961 (aged 66), at a time when his creative power was still
far from being exhausted. His premature death was the unavoidable denouement
of the long years of persecution by the Communist regime, which turned Blaga
into a social outcast.
One may get an idea of what Blaga had to grapple with when learning that
in the 1950’s, when he became a Nobel Prize nominee, the Romanian authorities
of the time denied him even the right to answer the announcement made by the
Swedish Royal Academy. But if he was denied the right to the Nobel award,
nobody can deny him an enduring legacy.