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BOOK REVIEW: Varujan Vosganian’s ‘The Book of Whispers’ (Yale University Press, 2017) – ‘this book will one day have its place among the ranks of the classics’

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Varujan Vosganian is an Armenian-Romanian poet, essayist, and politician. His The Book of Whispers, or Cartea şoaptelor, sold in over 60,000 copies in Romanian, was originally published in 2009. In 2017, Yale University Press published the book in Alistair Ian Blyth’s lauded translation: it was longlisted for the 2018 PEN Translation Prize. The Armenian genocide…

Andreea Scridon | 21/07/2018
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BOOK REVIEW: Mircea Eliade ‘Gaudeamus’ (Istros Books, 2018) – ‘an imperfect but enjoyable, atmospheric book’

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Mircea Eliade’s Gaudeamus, written in 1928, is loosely a sequel to the successful Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent, whose title speaks sufficiently for itself. The story’s continuation’s also a journal presented as a novel, this time a constellation of moral struggles and desires during the protagonist’s three university years as a philosophy student in interwar…

Andreea Scridon | 02/06/2018
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Romanian Centenary Celebrations Review: ‘War, Feminine’ – an entertaining and informative discussion about women’s role in the Great War

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To commemorate the role Romanian and British women played in the First World War, the Romanian Cultural Institute recently hosted a panel discussion with journalists and scholars to complement their current exhibition of the same name. With the occasion of this year’s Romanian centenary, the event explored how women contributed to the achievement of a…

Andreea Scridon | 03/04/2018
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THEATRE REVIEW: Marin Sorescu’s ‘Jonah’ – ‘great, imaginative literature matched with great theatrical effort’

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Marin Sorescu’s Jonah was originally published in 1968 and is considered the playwright’s masterpiece. It’s the famous monologue of the Old Testament fisherman, who endures his dark night of the soul trapped inside a whale. ‘Jonah! Jonah!’, he cries out, first arriving on stage. ‘Actually I myself am Jonah’, he confides to us. ‘I call…

Andreea Scridon | 21/05/2017
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THEATRE REVIEW: Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ (Hemar Theatre) at Ognisko Polskie

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Ognisko Polskie, the Polish Hearth Club, is an exquisite venue: glistening chandeliers please the eye, red velvet lines the elegant staircases; this quiet haven in South Kensington is full of Old World charm. Last Saturday night, a traditional version of Chekhov’s play The Seagull was produced here. Set on a lake estate in Imperial Russia,…

Andreea Scridon | 12/02/2017
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THEATRE REVIEW: Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’ at the Union Theatre – simplified production deserves the benefit of the doubt

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Tracy Letts’ adaptation of Chekhov’s 1900 play – directed by Phil Wilmott – gives an English, deadpan intonation to Russian humor. The expansive, often ironic comedy characteristic of Chekhov’s plays persists even though Letts has cut and altered considerable portions of the original text. The layout of the Union Theatre in Southwark, which has the…

Andreea Scridon | 27/01/2017
A typical Ceausescu -era housing block. FOTO:FORTEPAN / Urbán Tamás

DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: ‘The Block’ (Șalaru, 2016) – a tantalising glimpse behind the Romanian Facade

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A screening and discussion of Maria Șalaru’s debut documentary Blocul (The Block) took place at the Romanian Cultural Centre on 8 December 2016. Șalaru, a PhD candidate of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford, gave a brief presentation of what her documentary – an ethnography of a communist-built housing block, so common in Romania – attempts…

Andreea Scridon | 16/12/2016
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A “Poem” for the Romanian Verse: an inspiring introduction to 1980s Romanian poetry

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‘It is always inspiring to look at a single decade of a single country and realize how absolutely varied it is’ – Sean Shibe, guitarist A panel discussion was held at the Romanian Cultural Institute regarding the new edition of ‘Poem’ magazine that consists of translated Romanian poetry. The magazine’s prolific founder, Fiona Sampson, was…

Andreea Scridon | 05/12/2016