By Dumitru Tsepeneag
Translated by Alistair Ian Blyth
In the late-1960s Romania, during the relative cultural thaw of the post-Stalinist period, Dumitru Tsepeneag emerged as an innovative writer of short prose and the pioneer of oneirism, a subversive theory and practice of literature that challenged not only socialist realism in particular but realism in general.
By the early 1970s, following a cultural crackdown by the totalitarian state, oneirism had been banned and Tsepeneag was forced into exile in France. Short Prose, Volume 1, collects the three volumes of short stories that Tsepeneag published in Romania before going into exile: Exercises (1966), Cold (1967), and Waiting (1971), along with previously unpublished shorter texts from the same period.
Dumitru Tsepeneag is one of the most innovative Romanian writers of the second half of the twentieth century. In the 1960 and '70s, he and the poet Leonid Dimov led the country's only literary movement in opposition to the official socialist realism. In 1975, while he was in France, his citizenship was revoked by Ceauescu, and he was forced into exile. In the 1980s, he started to write in French. He returned to his native language after the Ceausescu regime ended, but continues to write in his adopted language as well. He lives in France.
Alistair Ian Blyth (b. 1970) has translated numerous works of fiction and philosophy from the Romanian, most recently the novels Short Prose and The Bulgarian Truck by Dumitru Tsepeneag as well as The Encounter by Gabriela Adamesteanu for Dalkey Archive Press.