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Ramona Mihaila

Trans-national Connections:
Foreign(-Born) Women Writers in the Romanian Principalities


The transition from the 19th century into the 20th century was a time of unprecedented change and emancipation for Romanian women regarding their political engagement, legal status, access to higher education, and their entrance into the profession of writing. While comparing them to other women writers in Europe, the Romanian women entered into the profession of writing at the end of the 19th century. Although almost totally ignored by the classic literary canon, 19th-century Romanian and foreign-born women writers marked a major development in the literary scene by entering professional authorship and forging a new female tradition specific to Romania. In their literary writings that explored the life of women in the private space, most of the women authors approached many ‘forbidden’ issues for the 19th-century canonical prose written by male authors: interethnic marriages, domestic violence, divorce, incest, birth control, feminism, celibacy, virginity, lack of sexual education, prostitution, companionate marriages/sisterhood, convent life, sex roles, sexual division of labor, the role of international feminism.

The present article discovers and explores from a trans-national perspective the international connections the work of a number of, partly neglected, foreign-born women writers could trigger:

  • Marie Boucher (penname Doamna L.) born in Paris,
  • Fanny Seculici (penname Bucura Dumbrav?) (1868-1926) born in Bratislava,
  • Maria Rosetti (maiden name Mary Grant) (1819-1893) born in Guernsey,
  • Mite Kremnitz (maiden name Marie Charlotte von Bardeleben; pen names George Allan, Ditto and Idem) (1852-1916) born in Greifswald,
  • Carmen Sylva (Queen Elisabeth), born Elisabeth Pauline Ottilie Luise zu Wied (1843-1916) in Neuwied,
  • Anna de Noailles (1876-1933) born in Paris,
  • Regina Maria a României (Queen Marie of Romania) born Marie Alexandra Victoria, Princess of Edinburgh (1875-1938) Eastwell Park, Kent,
  • Princess Aurélie Ghica (born as Aurélie Soubiran (1840-1904) in Paris,
  • Agnes Kelly Murgoci (1875-1929) Fullarton, South Australia.

The present paper also intends to talk about the literary perspectives offered by foreign women writers who visited the Romanian Principalities: e.g. Marie Adelaide Walker (1849-1911), who wrote Eastern Life and Scenery: with Excursions in Asia Minor, Mytilene, Crete, and Roumania (1886) and Untrodden Paths in Roumania (1888).

Ask, September 2012

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