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Ștefan Dimitrescu - Mihail Sadoveanu

Sadoveanu in 1929, portrait by Ştefan Dimitrescu

Mihail Sadoveanu
(Romanian: [mihaˈil sadoˈve̯anu]; November 5, 1880 – October 19, 1961) was a Romanian novelist, short story writer, journalist, poet and political figure, who twice served as acting head of state for the communist republic (1947–1948 and 1958). One of the most prolific Romanian-language writers, he is remembered mostly for his historical and adventure novels, as well as for his nature writing. An author whose career spanned five decades, Sadoveanu was an early associate of the traditionalist magazine Sămănătorul, before becoming known as a Realist writer and an adherent to the Poporanist current represented by Viaţa Românească journal. His books, critically acclaimed for their vision of age-old solitude and natural abundance, are generally set in the historical region of Moldavia, building on themes from Romania's medieval and early modern history. Among them are Neamul Şoimăreştilor ("The Şoimăreşti Family"), Fraţii Jderi ("The Jderi Brothers") and Zodia Cancerului ("Under the Sign of the Crab"). With Venea o moară pe Siret... ("A Mill Was Floating down the Siret..."), Baltagul ("The Hatchet") and some other works of fiction, Sadoveanu extends his fresco to contemporary history and adapts his style to the psychological novel, Naturalism and Social realism.

A traditionalist figure whose perspective on life was a combination of nationalism and Humanism, Sadoveanu moved between right- and left-wing political forces throughout the interwar period, while serving terms in Parliament. Rallying with People's Party, the National Agrarian Party, and the National Liberal Party-Brătianu, he was editor of the leftist newspapers Adevărul and Dimineaţa, and was the target of a violent far right press campaign. After World War II, Sadoveanu became a political associate of the Romanian Communist Party. He wrote in favor of the Soviet Union and Stalinism, joined the Society for Friendship with the Soviet Union and adopted Socialist realism. Many of his later texts and speeches, including the political novel Mitrea Cocor and the famous slogan Lumina vine de la Răsărit ("The Light Arises in the East"), are also viewed as propaganda in favor of communization.  A founding member of the Romanian Writers' Society and later President of the Romanian Writers' Union, Sadoveanu was also a member of the Romanian Academy since 1921 and a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize for 1961. He was also Grand Master of the Romanian Freemasonry during the 1930s. The father of Profira and Paul-Mihu Sadoveanu, who also pursued careers as writers, he was the brother-in-law of literary critic Izabela Sadoveanu-Evan.

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