Mircea Cărtărescu

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Mircea Cărtărescu
Cărtărescu at Göteborg Book Fair, 2019
Cărtărescu at Göteborg Book Fair, 2019
Born (1956-06-01) 1 June 1956 (age 67)
Bucharest, Romania
OccupationNovelist, poet, short-story writer, essayist, journalist, university professor
Alma materUniversity of Bucharest
Literary movement80s Generation, Blue Jeans Generation, Postmodernism
Years active1978–present
SpouseIoana Nicolaie [ro]
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Bucharest

Mircea Cărtărescu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈmirtʃe̯a kərtəˈresku]; born 1 June 1956[1]) is a Romanian novelist, poet, short-story writer, literary critic, and essayist.[2]


Born in Bucharest in 1956, he attended Cantemir Vodă National College during the early 1970s. During his school years, he was a member of literary groups led by Nicolae Manolescu and Ovid S. Crohmălniceanu. At that time, along with many teenagers of his generation, Cărtărescu was tremendously influenced by the legacy of the 1960s American counterculture, including artists such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors. He commenced writing poetry in 1978.

Later, he studied at the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Letters, Department of Romanian Language and Literature. He graduated in 1980 with a thesis that later became his book on poetry, more specifically The Chimaeric Dream. That same year, some of his works were published by Cartea Românească.

Between 1980 and 1989, Cărtărescu worked as a Romanian language teacher,[3] then worked at the Writers' Union of Romania and as an editor at Caiete Critice magazine. In 1991, he became a lecturer at the Chair of Romanian Literary History, part of the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Letters. As of 2010, he was an associate professor there, where he still lectures to this date.[4] Between 1994 and 1995, he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and currently holds the same position at the University of Stuttgart. In 2012, he received the International Literature Award for his novel The Body.

Cărtărescu is married to the Romanian poet Ioana Nicolaie [ro], with whom he has a son.[5] His works have been translated into most European languages. He is a full professor at the University of Bucharest within the Department of Literary Studies.[6]


His debut as a writer was in 1978 in România Literară magazine.


  • Faruri, vitrine, fotografii..., ("Headlights, shop windows, photographs...") Cartea Românească, 1980 – Writers Union Prize, 1980
  • Poeme de amor ("Love Poems"), Cartea Românească, 1982
  • Totul ("Everything"), Cartea Românească, 1984
  • Levantul (The Levant), Cartea Românească, 1990 – Writers Union Prize, 1990, republished by Humanitas in 1998
  • Dragostea ("Love"), Humanitas, 1994
  • 50 de sonete de Mircea Cărtărescu cu cincizeci de desene de Tudor Jebeleanu ("50 Sonnets by Mircea Cărtărescu With Fifty Drawings by Tudor Jebeleanu"), Brumar 2003
  • Nimic, Poeme (1988-1992) ("Nothing, Poems, 1988-1992"), Humanitas, 2010
  • Nu striga niciodată ajutor ("Never Call For Help"), Humanitas, 2020


  • Desant '83 (Cartea Românească, 1983)
  • Visul (Cartea Românească, 1989). The Dream
  • Nostalgia (Humanitas, 1993; full edition of Visul). Trans. Julian Semilian (New Directions, 2005; ISBN 0-8112-1588-1), with introduction by Andrei Codrescu
  • Travesti (Humanitas, 1994)
  • Orbitor, vol. 1, Aripa stângă (Humanitas, 1996). Blinding, Book One: The Left Wing, trans. Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books, 2013)
  • Jurnal (Humanitas, 2001). 2nd ed.: Jurnal I, 1990–1996 (Humanitas, 2005, ISBN 973-50-0985-4)
  • Orbitor, vol. 2, Corpul (Humanitas, 2002). Blinding, Book Two: The Body
  • Enciclopedia zmeilor (Humanitas, 2002). The Encyclopedia of Dragons
  • De ce iubim femeile (Humanitas, 2004). Why We Love Women, trans. Alistair Ian Blyth (University of Plymouth Press, 2011; ISBN 1841022063)
  • Jurnal II, 1997–2003 (Humanitas, 2005). Diary II, 1997–2003
  • Orbitor, vol. 3, Aripa dreaptă (Humanitas, 2007). Blinding, Book Three: The Right Wing
  • Frumoasele străine (Humanitas, 2010). Beautiful Strangers
  • Zen, Jurnal 2004-2010 (Humanitas, 2011). Zen, Diary 2004-2010
  • Solenoid (Humanitas, 2015). Trans. Sean Cotter (Deep Vellum, 2022)
  • Un om care scrie, Jurnal 2011-2017 (Humanitas, 2018). A Man Who Writes, Diary 2011-2017
  • Melancolie (Humanitas, 2019). Melancholy
  • Theodoros (Humanitas, 2022). Theodoros


  • Visul chimeric (subteranele poeziei eminesciene) ("Chimerical Dream – The Underground of Eminescu's Poetry"), Litera, 1991
  • Postmodernismul românesc ("Romanian Postmodernism"), Ph.D. thesis, Humanitas, 1999
  • Pururi tânăr, înfășurat în pixeli ("Forever Young, Wrapped in Pixels"), Humanitas, 2003
  • Baroane! ("You Baron!"), Humanitas, 2005
  • Ochiul căprui al dragostei noastre ("Our Love's Hazel Eye"), Humanitas, 2012
  • Peisaj după isterie ("Landscape, After Histrionics"), Humanitas, 2017
  • Creionul de tâmplărie ("A Carpenter's Pencil"), Humanitas, 2020


  • Parfumul aspru al ficțiunii ("The Rough Fragrance of Fiction"), Humanitas, 2003


  • Testament – Anthology of Modern Romanian Verse (1850–2015) second edition – bilingual version English/Romanian. Daniel Ioniță – editor and principal translator, with Eva Foster, Daniel Reynaud and Rochelle Bews. Minerva Publishing House. Bucharest 2015. ISBN 978-973-21-1006-5

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ "Mircea Cartarescu". Babelio (in French). Retrieved 11 April 2023.
  2. ^ Leşcu, Christine (26 August 2017). "Poet Claudiu Komartin". Radio Romania International. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Mircea Cărtărescu in conversation with Ileana Marin (American Romanian Clultural Society)" (Facebook Live video). Facebook. Romanian Cultural Institute in New York. 5 April 2023. Retrieved 7 April 2023. He goes into some detail on this beginning at 55:45.
  4. ^ "Catedra de Literatura Romana - Universitatea din Bucuresti". Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Femeia de lângă Mircea Cărtărescu" (in Romanian). July 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  6. ^ "În România sunt 50 de mii de cititori. Cum s-a tratat cu ajutorul poeziei de depresia post-COVID" (in Romanian). Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Mircea Cărtărescu premiat la Berlin" (in Romanian). Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Mircea Cărtărescu a câștigat Spycher – Literaturpreis Leuk în Elveția" (in Romanian). Gândul. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Premiu elveţian pentru Mircea Cărtărescu" (in Romanian). Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  10. ^ Chad W. Post (14 April 2014). "2014 Best Translated Book Awards: Fiction Finalists". Three Percent. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  11. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Cartarescu wins Leipzig Book Award for 'universal' novel | Books | DW.COM | 11 March 2015". DW.COM. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Mircea Cartarescu won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature | Nine O'Clock". www.nineoclock.ro. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  13. ^ "2016 Winner". Festival degli Scrittori - Premio Gregor von Rezzori. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Mircea Cărtărescu a primit premiul "Thomas Mann" pentru Literatură. Reacția scriitorului". www.digi24.ro.
  15. ^ "Romanian writer Mircea Cărtărescu receives Formentor de las Letras prize". Romania Insider. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara".
  17. ^ St. Martin, Emily. "Los Angeles Times Book Prizes winners announced". LA Times.

External links[edit]