The son of Nadejda Dimov and Naum Mordcovici, he was one of the main representatives (together with, amongst others, Dumitru Țepeneag) of onirism in Romanian poetry, explorer of the dream as an absolute, objective reality.
He graduated from the Saint Sava High School in Bucharest. Then he studied for three years at the philology department of the University of Bucharest. Without graduating, he studied again for three years at the biology department. After a dispute (it seems that he questioned at a seminar the logic of Michurinist science) he was expelled. He also followed courses in law and mathematics at the same University of Bucharest.
His literary debut came rather late, in 1965, when he published some poems in the Viața Românească magazine, where Șerban Cioculescu, Dimovs old French teacher, had become chief editor. Soon after, Miron Radu Paraschivescu, the editor in charge of the literary supplement "Poveste vorbei" of the "Ramuri" magazine in Craiova, also let Dimov publish some poems.
His first book, Versuri ("Poems"), was published in December 1966. After becoming a member of the Writers' Union of Romania, he was hired as an editor at the România literară magazine in 1970, where he worked until 1975, when he went into early retirement due to illness.
He was married twice: the first time, to Lucia Salam (with whom he had a daughter, Tatiana, born in 1952), and the second time, to Ana-Marina Voinescu (whose daughter, Ileana- born in 1957 from her marriage to Teodor Pâcǎ, he would adopt as his own child).
He continued to publish until shortly before his death, the last published poems being Sonete pentru Irina ("Sonets for Irina"), dedicated to his granddaughter Irina (Ileana's daughter).
In an age and society where many Romanian poets and writers compromised their conscience in order to be able to publish more, Dimov was not an outright political dissident, but rather a nonconformist, one of the few who refused to praise the regime, a fact that brought him to the attention of the Romanian secret police, the feared Securitate.
He died of a heart attack.
"Carte de vise"
Carte de vise (en. "book of dreams") is one of Dimov's best known works. It was published in 1969, at Editura pentru Literatură, with cover and illustrations by Florin Pucă. The book is divided into four cycles:
- 7 proze
- La capătul somnului
- Poeme de veghe
- Versuri (1966)
- 7 poeme (1968)
- Pe malul Styxului (1968)
- Carte de vise (1969)
- Semne cereşti (1970)
- Eleusis (1970)
- Deschideri (1972)
- A.B.C. (1973)
- La capăt (1974)
- Litanii pentru Horia (1975)
- Dialectica vârstelor (1977)
- Tinereţe fără bătrâneţe (1978)
- Spectacol (1979)
- Veşnica reîntoarcere (1982)
Other editions and anthologies:
- A.B.C., Ed. Cartea Românească, 1973
- Texte, Introduction by Mircea Iorgulescu, Ed. Albatros
- Cele mai frumoase poezii, 1980; Poetry, edition that was taken care of, with a postscriptum, chronological table and critical references by Nicolae Barna, Ed. Grammar, 2000.
- Leonid Dimov, „Opera poetică”, vol. I-II, foreword by Ion Bogdan Lefter, Editura Paralela 45, 2010
- Theoretical texts, very important for the understanding of the aesthetical onirism, written by Leonid Dimov and Dumitru Țepeneag, can be found in Corin Braga Momentul oniric, Ed. Cartea Românească, 1997.
Prizes and honours
- The Romanian Writers' Union Prize, 1979
- The Bucharest Writers' Union Prize, 1968, 1977, 1982
- Ion Bogdan Lefter in the foreword to Leonid Dimov, „Opera poetică”, vol. I-II, Editura Paralela 45, 2010, p. 18
- Ion Bogdan Lefter in the foreword to Leonid Dimov, „Opera poetică”, vol. I-II, Editura Paralela 45, 2010, p. 10
- Ceauşescu and the Securitate: Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1965-1989.
- Dorin Tudoran, Eu, fiul lor. Dosar de Securitate, Bucharest, Polirom, 2010, p. 90
- Leonid Dimov, Versuri, Pagini alese, Literatura Română, Ed. 100+1Gramar, București, 2000, p. 253
- Viorel Mureșan, Traian Ștef, Leonid Dimov (monography), Editura Aula, Colecția „Canon“, Brașov, 2000.
- Leonid Dimov, Dumitru Țepeneag, Onirismul estetic, Ed. Curtea Veche, 2007