Voronca, Ilarie

views updated


VORONCA, ILARIE (originally Eduard Marcus ; 1903–1946), Romanian and French poet. Born in Brǎila, Romania, Voronca published his first verse in Lovinescu's review Sburǎtorul Literar in 1921. He himself edited Integral and contributed to many of the avant-garde publications of his time. His books of poetry, beginning with Restristi ("Hard Times", 1923) provoked varied reactions among critics.

An outstanding pioneer of modernism, Voronca wove futurism, Dadaism, and surrealism into his Romanian verse collections which include Ulise (1928), Brǎţara nopţilor ("Bracelet of the Night," 1929), Zodiac (1930), Incantaţii ("Incantations," 1931), Petre Schlemihl (1932), and Patmos (1934). In two volumes of essays, A doua luminǎ (1930) and Act de prezenţǎ (1932), Voronca termed the poet a "*Wandering Jew without a shadow" and a "Peter Schlemihl without a homeland," who could be certain only of universal uncertainty and whose sole religion should be poetry.

During the early 1930s Voronca immigrated to France, where he began writing in French, eventually publishing some two dozen volumes of verse. He made important contributions to periodicals such as the Nouvelles littéraires, Cahiers du Sud, and Cahiers juifs. Collections of this period include Permis de séjour (1933), Ulysse dans la cité (1933), La joie est pour l'homme (1936), and Beauté de ce monde (1940). During World War ii Voronca was active in the French Maquis and allegedly converted to Catholicism. This abandonment of Judaism – if it indeed took place – did little to relieve the poet's inner anxiety which, in the form of a profound restlessness, appears in such later titles as Les témoins (1942), Souvenirs de la planète terre (1945), and Contre solitude (1946). Voronca finally committed suicide.


J. Rousselot, in: Europe, 34 (Fr., Sept.–Oct. 1956); G. Cǎlinescu, Istoria Literaturii Române (1941), 782–4; idem, Ulysse (1967), 136–40, E. Lovinescu, Evoluţia poeziei lirice (1927), 438–48; I.M. Raşcu, Convingeri literare (1937), 72–8.

[Dora Litani-Littman]