Love Songs From a Poet Who Was Banned From Publication

The poet Dorian, a doctor by profession, devoted his entire collection to his daughter and published it as his first book under the name "Poems to Lelioara," in 1923.

Shaul Greenstein
Emil Dorian with his wife Paula (nee Fränkel) and their daughters towards the end of the 1920s

In the framework of the routine catalog activity of the National Library, a special item was recently unearthed from the Collection of Jewish Romanian Intellectuals’ Private Papers. This item sheds new light on the literary activity of one of Romania’s Jewish poets and writers. The 1920’s notebook was used for drafting the first book of poems by the poet and novelist Emil Lustig, who published his works under the pseudonym “Dorian,” which became later his official family name. This archival material contains most of the poems that were published in Dorian’s first book.

Often it catches me a moment of miss As I still was floating in soft dreams And you stretched your wing just To get down in tranquility to us.
I’d like to feel the thrill then Of those cruel hopes To be crushed by sorrow again And to struggle in remorse.
And picking up an armful of stars To love you more than bold, Entering into my songs As into a cradle of gold.
(Translated from Romanian by Shaul Greenstein)
Ades mă prinde un dor de clipă Când mai pluteam în visuri moi Şi tu de-abea’ntindeai aripa Ca să cobori senin la noi.
Aş vrea să simt atunci fiorul Acelei crunte aşteptări Să mă zdrobească iarăşi dorul Şi să mă zbat în remuşcări.
Şi culegând un braţ de stele Ca să te’ndrăgostesc mai viu, Să intri’n cântecele mele Ca într’un legăn auriu.
(The three stanzas of the poem “Longings” by Emil Dorian)

The poet Dorian, a doctor by profession, expressed his longing for the birth of his eldest daughter, Lilia, whom he called Lelioara through the medium of poetry. Dorian devoted the entire collection to his daughter and published it as his first book under the name “Poems to Lelioara,” in 1923.

The poem collection “Poems to Lelioara” published as a book in 1923
The draft-manuscript of 1920 that is to find at the National Library Archives and which is a part of Collection of Jewish Romanian Intellectuals’ Private Papers.
Along with corrections, deletions and additional poems that have not yet been published, this manuscript of poems contains illustrations and poems dedicated to the poet’s wife, Paula. Dorian bridged his tendency to artistic writing and his delivery as a physician and also wrote books in a popular vulgar style on medicine and sexuality.
The poem “Longings” (on the left) from the draft manuscript “Poems for Lelioara”.

Young Dorian was drafted into the Romanian army during the First World War, but it was during World War II, at the time of the fascist reign of Marshal Antonescu, that his works were marked as Jewish works and were banned.

A page dedicated to his wife Paula from the draft-manuscript “Poems to Lelioara”.

Pages from the draft-manuscript “Poems to Lelioara.”
The poem “The Bathing” (on the left) in its non-final version of the collection “Poems to Lelioara” 1920. This song was published separately in the Romanian National newspaper “Gândirea” around its founding in 1921 

 As a poet, Dorian was once again launched to fame two and a half decades after his death in 1973 when two of his diaries were published. These diaries brought to light the Romanian Jewry’s confrontation with rising anti-Semitism from the late 1930s until Dorian’s death in 1956.


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