Alexandru Odobescu
Alexandru Ioan Odobescu (alekˈsandru odoˈbesku; 23 June 1834 – 10 November 1895) was a Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n author, archaeologist and politician.


He was born in Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

, the second child of General Ioan Odobescu and his wife Ecaterina. After attending Saint Sava College
Saint Sava College
Saint Sava College was one of the earliest academic institutions in Wallachia, Romania. It was the predecessor to both Saint Sava National College and the University of Bucharest.-History:...

 and, from 1850, a Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 lycée, he took the baccalauréat in 1853 and studied literature and archaeology at the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

, graduating two years later. In 1858, he married Pavel Kiselyov
Pavel Kiselyov
Count Pavel Dmitrievich Kiselyov or Kiseleff is generally regarded as the most brilliant Russian reformer during Nicholas I's generally conservative reign.- Early military career :...

's daughter Alexandra (Saşa) Prejbeanu; they had one daughter, Ioana. He was often apart from his wife and had affairs with other women.

Odobescu served as cabinet minister for religion and education in 1863, as head clerk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1865, and as prosecutor at the Court of Appeal. In 1870, he travelled in Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, in connection with his discovery and description of the Pietroasele treasure
Pietroasele treasure
The Pietroasele Treasure found in Pietroasele, Buzău, Romania, in 1837, is a late fourth-century Gothic treasure that included some twenty-two objects of gold, among the most famous examples of the polychrome style of Migration Period art...

, a collection of objects made from precious metals, of Gothic origin, found on Romanian territory; he also travelled to several other countries, including Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Turkey
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. He opposed the tendency toward artificially Latinizing the literary Romanian language
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

. He was elected to the Romanian Academy
Romanian Academy
The Romanian Academy is a cultural forum founded in Bucharest, Romania, in 1866. It covers the scientific, artistic and literary domains. The academy has 181 acting members who are elected for life....

 in 1870 and was professor of archaeology at the University of Bucharest
University of Bucharest
The University of Bucharest , in Romania, is a university founded in 1864 by decree of Prince Alexander John Cuza to convert the former Saint Sava Academy into the current University of Bucharest.-Presentation:...

 from 1874, the year he was named chairman of the National Theatre Bucharest
National Theatre Bucharest
The National Theatre Bucharest is one of the national theatres of Romania, located in the capital city of Bucharest.-Founding:It was founded as the Teatrul cel Mare din Bucureşti in 1852, its first director being Costache Caragiale...

. He served as secretary of the Romanian legation at Paris in 1882, was principal of a teacher-training institute in Bucharest, and principal of the National Educational Institute in 1892. Poor, sick with gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

, separated from his wife and daughter, around 1891, he fell passionately in love with Hortensia Racoviţă, a geography professor thirty years his junior. She rejected a marriage proposal made by Odobescu's wife, and he committed suicide by morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

overdose in Bucharest in 1895.

Selected works

  • Mihnea-Vodă cel rău, 1857
  • Doamna Chiajna, 1860
  • Câteva ore la Snagov, 1862
  • Pseudo-cynegeticos, sau fals tratat de vânătoare, 1875
  • Le Trésor de Petrossa, 1889
  • Pagini regăsite
  • Note de călătorie

Other writings include short stories, several dozen scholarly articles, an anthology of folk tales (among them 1875's "Jupân Rănică Vulpoiul" and "Tigrul păcălit") and one of folk poetry, and a History of Archaeology (1877). He also translated both literary and scholarly works.

Further reading

  • Curticăpean, Doina, Odobescu, sau lectura formelor simbolice, Bucharest: Editura Minerva, 1982.
  • Manolescu, Nicolae, Introducere în opera lui Alexandru Odobescu, Bucharest: Editura Minerva, 1976.
  • Păcurariu, Dumitru, A. I. Odobescu, Bucharest: ESPLA, 1966.
  • Pandele, Rodica, editor, Alexandru Odobescu: Antologie critică, Bucharest: Eminescu, 1976.

External links

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