by Sorin-Mihai Grad
click pentru versiunea română

At a mathematical conference I talked about literature and cinema with a Brazilian professor born in Argentina and with the PhD acquired in France, one of the leading specialists of the research field the meeting was dedicated to. Among othet things, he told me that he liked almost all the recent Romanian movies he had seen. Only one of seven bored him, I don’t think that it is difficult to find out which. Despite the fact that one of his grandparents came from a place that was once a Romanian territory, he does not have a special interest in our country’s cinema. He just likes to watch movies and is very happy that at his favourite theater lots of different films from all over the world are shown. I asked him if he has read books by  Romanian authors. I thought that I would get as an answer something like an advice not to overrate the importance of the cultural products of my small country. After all, the evening before, during the conference dinner, the main subject discussed at the table where we both sat, started by him, consisted of the winners of the Nobel prize for the literature. Of the last fifty years.

To my surprise, his answer was affirmative. Excepting Cioran, Ionesc and Herta Müller, considered by him Romanian authors, he has read some stories by Eliade, Creangă’s Memories, a novel with transylvanian peasants written by somebody whose name did not come to him at the moment and Sadoveanu’s The Hatchet. He told me that he is not particularly interested to read authors from here or there, but in good literature. And, unfortunately, during the last thirty years he did not find in bookshops any new books of Romanian authors translated into one of the five languages he speaks, excepting the recent Nobel winner Müller. Or maybe he did’t notice them, even if he uses to scour for hours in the bookshops of the cities where he arrives as a tourist or as an invited speaker for some mathematical conference. As a matter of fact, he has visited over seventy countries. I told him some names of contemporary Romanian writers whose works were recently translated into foreign languages. None of them sounded familiar to him. Then he remembered that the rural novel he read was written by Rebreanu.

I told him that I do write myself, but I didn’t dare to hand him anything written by me. I invited him to read EgoPHobia, where all the texts from short story are bilingual. He answered that he would visit our site. I proposed him to accept from me a list of recent Romanian novels already translated into one of the languages he masters, maybe with the corresponding links on amazon. He thanked me in advance, mentioning his willingness to recommend to his friends anything he might like of these. But if it will not be the case, he joked that I should pray if any of my future mathematical papers were to get him as a reviewer. I will send him the list at the beginning of the net month, taking into consideration your suggestions, too, for which I thank you in advance, hoping that they will not affect my professiona carreer.


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