Mihail Sebastian was a promising young Jewish writer in pre-war Bucharest, a novelist, playwright, poet and journalsit who counted among his friends the leading intellectuals and social luminaries of a sophisticated Eastern European culture. Because of Romania's opportunistic treatment of Jews, he survived the war and the Holocaust, only to be killed in a road accident early in 1945. His remarkable diary was published in its original language and is here translated into English. This book offers a chronicle of the darkest years of European anti-Semitism and an analysis of erotic and social life. Above all, it is an account of the "rhinocerization" of the major Roman intellectuals who were Sebastian's friends, writers and thinkers who were mesmirized by the nazi-fascist delirium of Europe's "reactionary revolution". In poignant and memorable sequences, Sebastian touches on the progression of the machinery of brutalization and on the historical context that lay behind it.
Sebastian's journal captures the now-vanished world of pre-war Bucharest, known affectionately at the time as "little paris" Under the pressure of hatred and horror in the "huge anti-Semitic factory" that was Romania in the years of World war II, his writing stands as an importanthuman and literary document to survive from a singular era of terror and despair.
Mihail Sebastian was the pen-name of the Romanian writer Iosif Hechter. Born in the Danube port of Braila, he died in a road accident in 1945. During the period between the wars he was well-known for his lyrical and ironic plays and for urbane psychological novels tinged with melancholy, as well as for his extraordinary literary essays.