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Porumbacu (Schwefelberg), Veronica


PORUMBACU (Schwefelberg), VERONICA (1921–1977), Romanian poet and novelist. Born in Bucharest, Veronica Porumbacu grew up in an intellectual circle, and studied psychology and sociology. A member of the anti-Fascist underground during World War ii, she began her literary career under the postwar Communist regime, first publishing children's books in 1946.

Like many of her subsequent publications, her first collection of verse Visele Babei Dochia ("The Dreams of Baba Dochia," 1947) dealt with contemporary political questions. She also wrote lyrical works, notably Intoarcerea din Cythera ("Return from Cythera," 1966). Her volumes of poetry include Generatia mea ("My Generation," 1955), Lirice ("Lyrics," 1957), Diminetele simple ("Simple Mornings," 1961), Memoria cuvintelor ("Recollections of Worlds," 1963), and Histriana (1968). Many of her poems have been translated into other languages. In 1968 she published a much-praised autobiographical novel, Porṭile ("Gates"). Set in the period of the pre-Nazi Antonescu regime, the book tells of her reaction to antisemitism and of the exclusion of Jewish children from the Romanian educational system. Despite her assimilated upbringing, Veronica Porumbacu became aware of her Jewish heritage and was impressed by the traditional loyalties of her ancestors, whom she describes sympathetically. She also published translations from Hebrew poetry (N. Alterman, A. Shlonsky, and Y. Amichai) and from English the 19th-century U.S. author E. Dickinson.


G. Cālinescu, in: Naţiunea (1945) no. 1; O. Crohmaˇlniceanu, in: Contemporanul (1961), no. 12; P. Georgescu, in: Viaţa Romîneascaˇ (1964), no. 10; Perpessicius, in: Gazeta Literaraˇ (Dec. 1, 1966).

[Dora Litani-Littman]

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