Maria Manolescu Borsa: Inspiration and Influences

On writing, The Ivy Door

Maria Manolescu Borsa describes her approach to writing the play.

“It`s hard to write about real people, and it`s even harder when you don`t have the chance to discuss with them the result, when they are not alive anymore and when they were very special people. Gellu Nam was such a sensitive man, he worked so much to protect his very simple and pure existence, and he was such a cultivated and gifted man, that I decided to consider myself his very humble disciple. This was my approach: more than a play, I tried to wrote a spiritual exercise through which I hoped to understand Gellu Naum and to try to practice, at least for a bit, his way of understanding the reality and especially the surreality.”

What inspired her about the Gella Naum?

“His fascinating, deep and pure life-long love for his wife. A spiritual love which fuelled his art as well as his views of this world and the other one. There aren`t many people, especially artists, who can inspire us in such way that complete love is possible, that love can be happy, can fulfil even the deepest desires of our souls and can last for a lifetime. I think we need this message and it`s worth spreading.”

How was she inspired by the poet’s house?

“My husband, who joined me when I visited the house, had a very beautiful and intense dream in which we were trying to buy a house very similar with Naum`s. But this was my husband`s dream. I had to work a little bit harder than him, and write a play, so I hope that`s where you`ll find the complete answer to this question.”

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Gellu Naum

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Gellu Naum, was a Romanian poet, novelist and children’s writer. He is also known as the founder of the Romanian Surrealist group. His most well known novel, Zenobia, 1985, was written with his wife, Lyggia Naum as the main inspiration and lead character.

Born in Bucharest, as a young adult he left for Paris to study, taking his PhD diploma at the University of Paris and writing his thesis on the philosopher Pierre Abelard. In 1936, he met Victor Brauner who introduced him to Andre Breton and the Surrealist circle in Paris. In 1941, Naum went on to help create a group known as the Bucharest group of surrealists, with Gherasim Luca, Paul Paun, Dolfi Trost, among others.

As WWII broke out, Naum was drafted into the Romanian army and the Surrealists group was overcome by the fall out of the Soviet take over of Romania in 1947. As Socialist Realism became official cultural policy in Romania, Naum could only publish children’s books, but he never stopped writing Surrealist poems, such as the 1958 poem composed of several parts Heraclitus (published in the 1968 volume Athanor) or the esoteric manuscript The Way of the Snake, written in 1948–1949 and published after his death, in 2002. In later life he worked as a translator for Samuel Beckett amongst others, and resumed his literary career in 1968.