BALTAZAR, CAMIL (pseudonym of Leopold Goldstein ; 1902–1977), Romanian poet. Baltazar's first poems appeared in 1921 in Sburatorul Literar, a review edited by the Romanian critic Eugen Lovinescu, and his contributions were published thereafter in many of the leading literary periodicals. Baltazar's poetry was written mainly before World War ii. His first collection, Vecernii (Vespers), appeared in 1923. This was followed by Flaute de matase (Silken Flutes, 1924), Reculegeri in nemurirea ta (Meditation on Your Immortality, 1925), Biblice (Biblical Poems, 1926, a volume of erotic poems with ancient Hebrew Biblical themes), Strigari trupesti pe langa glesne (Poems on Amorous Yearnings, 1927), and Cina cea de taina (The Last Supper, 1929). In his themes and mode of expression, Baltazar was, from the outset, hailed as an innovator. Though his sensitivity led to preoccupation with human suffering, he was widely known as "the poet of light" because of the serenity with which he transfigured the most somber themes. During the early 1930s, Baltazar published an anthology of Russian prose (1930) and translations from such German writers as Thomas *Mann, Franz *Werfel, and Jakob Wassermann. His completion of this work was marked by the verse collection Intoarcerea poetului la uneltele sale (The Poet's Return to his Tools, 1934), which are poems in prose about his work as a writer and a literary editor, written under the influence of Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars. Taram transcendent (Trancendental Realm) appeared five years later. In 1928 he edited the literary review Tiparnita literara (The Literary Printer) and in 1932 was secretary of redaction of the literary weekly Romania literara (Literary Romania), edited by Liviu Rebreanu. After World War ii, Baltazar became a contributor to the Romanian Jewish newspaper Revista Cultului Mozaic (c. 1965–77) and published further collections of his poems. He also published literary essays, memoirs, and publicistic writings in the volumes Scriitor si om (Writer and Man, 1947), Contemporan cu ei (Contemporary with Them, 1962), Scrisori catre Camil Baltazar (Letters to Camil Baltazar, 1965). Owing to the artistic dictates of the new (Communist) regime, Baltazar's "socialist" verse was largely devoid of literary value.
E. Lovinescu, in: Critice, 7 (1922), 165; 9 (1924); idem, Istoria literaturii romane contemporane (1927), 415–24; G. Calinescu, Istoria literaturii romane (1941), 753–56. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Mirodan, Dictionar neconventional, 1 (1986), 90–98; A.B. Yoffe, Bisdot Zarim (1996), 208–11, 441–42.
[Dora Litany-Littman and
Abraham Feller /
Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]