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Liviu Rebreanu (November 27, 1885—September 1, 1944) was a Romanian novelist, playwright, short story writer, and journalist.



Born in Târlişua (currently Bistriţa-Năsăud County), Transylvania, then part of Austria-Hungary, he was the second of thirteen children born to Vasile Rebreanu, a schoolteacher, and Ludovica Diuganu, descendants of peasants. His father had been a classmate of George Coşbuc's and was an amateur folklorist. Liviu Rebreanu went to primary school in Maieru (where he was taught by his father), and then in Năsăud and Bistriţa, to military school at Sopron and then to the military academy in Budapest. He worked as an officer in Gyula but resigned in 1908, and in 1909 illegally crossed the Transylvanian Alps into Romania, and lived in Bucharest.

He joined several literary circles, and worked as a journalist for Ordinea, then for Falanga literară şi artistică. At the request of the Austro-Hungarian government, he was arrested and extradited in 1910. Rebreanu was incarcerated in Gyula, being freed in August; he returned to Bucharest. In 1911-1912 he was secretary for the National Theater in Craiova, where he worked under the direction of short story writer Emil Gârleanu. He got married to actress Fanny Rădulescu.

His first published in 1912 with a volume of novellas gathered under the title Frământări ("Troublings"). During World War I Rebreanu was a reporter for Adevărul, and he continued publishing short stories: Golanii ("The Hooligans") and Mărturisire (Confession) in 1916 and Răfuială ("Resentfullness") in 1919. After the war, he became an important collaborator at the literary society Sburătorul led by the literary critic Eugen Lovinescu.

In 1920 Rebreanu published his novel Ion, the first modern Romanian novel, in which he depicted the struggles over land ownership in rural Transylvania. For Ion, Rebreanu received a Romanian Academy award - he became a full member of the institution in 1939. Between 1928 and 1930 he was chairman of the National Theatre of Bucharest, and from 1940 to 1944 he was President of the Romanian Writers' Society.

In 1944, aged 59, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. For fear of a slow and agonizing death, Rebreanu shot himself in the mouth, in his country house in Valea Mare, Argeş County.



Short stories and novellas

  • Catastrofa ("The Catastrophe") (1921)
  • Norocul ("The Fate") (1921)
  • Cuibul visurilor ("Nest of Dreams") (1927)
  • Cântecul lebedei ("The Swan Song") (1927)
  • Iţic Ştrul dezertor ("Iţic Ştrul as a Deserter") (1932)

Novels on social issues

  • Ion (1920)

The novel Ion introduces us in the life of the paesants and intellectuals of Transylvania before the war. The action takes place in Pripas village and in the little town Amaradia. Ion al Glanetasului, industrious son of poor parents, has a passion for land. He fixes his eyes on Ana, rich man's, Vasile Baciu, daughter. But the rich man does not want him as his son-in-law. He deshonours Ana, to oblige the father to give him his daughter and the fortune. The goal is reached, especially when Ana really loves him. Ion, the master of the lands, is now satisfied. He hisses the gained land, but beats Ana, now his wife. Suddenly, Ion is ruled by a love for the beautiful Florica, old sympathy, now married. Florica answers to Ion's wild passion. Ana understands the cruel reality. Beaten by her husband and by her father she hangs herself. Their child dies too. The quarrel between Ion and his father-in-law begins again. Til the end, Ion does not stop his passion for Florica, and in a night the two are caught by Florica's husband who kills Ion.

  • Crăişorul (approx. "The Little King") (1929)
  • Răscoala ("The Revolt") (1932)
  • Gorila ("The Gorilla") (1938)

Psychological novels

  • Pădurea spânzuraţilor ("Forest of the Hanged" - a frequent translation title, although the Romanian version translates as "The Forest of the Hanged") (1922)

Padurea spânzuraţilor is the artistical transfiguration of his brother Emil's case. The hero of the novel is Apostol Bologa, son of a Romanian lawyer from Transylvania. In the Hungarian schools he gets an education contradictory to his Romanian soul. He becomes a conscientious Austrian officer, he even contributes (by his vote in court) at the sentencing to death of a Czech officer, who had deserted the Austro-Hungarian army. Follows his soul metamorphosis, under the influence of the Czech officer Klapka, who seeded in his heart the hatred against the Austrian empire and the love for the Romanian nation. Sent on the Romanian front, in the Oriental Carphatians, the thought of desertation becomes an obsession for him. Being forced again to take part in a mility tribunal, to judge a Romanian peasant for espionage, Apostol Bologa starts in the night towards the Romanian lines, to get to his blood brothers. He is caught and hanged, in much the same way as the Czech that he had helped condemn.

  • Adam şi Eva ("Adam and Eve") (1925)
  • Ciuleandra (1927)
  • Jar (1934)

Other novels

  • Amândoi ("Both") (1940)


  • Cadrilul ("The Quadrille") (1919)
  • Plicul ("The Envelope") (1923)
  • Apostolii ("The Apostles") (1926)


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