Simbolul - History - Context


Around 1907, soon after the violent quelling of the peasants' revolt, left-wing authors such as Tudor Arghezi, Gala Galaction, Vasile Demetrius and N. D. Cocea began issuing a series of magazines which, in addition to following a radical political line, accommodated a modernist style. This approach contrasted with the more traditional approach favored by the Poporanist group and its Viaţa Românească journal. Another important factor in the evolution from Symbolism to radical modernism between 1895 and 1920 was the literary and artistic circle formed around controversial politician and author Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti, which grouped together many of Simbolul 's contributors. Starting in 1910, artistic innovation had also manifested itself in art, with the activities of Tinerimea Artistică society and the art chronicles authored by Bogdan-Piteşti, Arghezi and Theodor Cornel. Janco, who was at the time Iser's pupil, exhibited his first drawings at the Tinerimea Artistică Youth Salon in April 1912.

The journal built on the legacy of other short-lived literary publications, in particular Revista Celor L'alţi and Insula, both of which had been founded by poet Ion Minulescu. A follower of French Symbolist critic Rémy de Gourmont, Minulescu had previously launched radical appeals to innovation, which some critics consider the first expressions of Romanian avant-gardism, and which established connections not just with Symbolism, but also with the Futurism of Italian writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. However, literary critic Paul Cernat notes, Ion Minulescu "did not have the virtues of an ideologue and a theorist." Thus, Simbolul was called by Cernat "a turning plate between the Symbolism of Insula contributors and pre-avant-gardist Post-symbolism."

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