Poems by Ana Blandiana was published almost 50 years ago, in 1974. The book fell into my hands by coincidence, while visiting a vintage bookstore from Bucharest.
As Ana Blandiana is one of the most famous Romanian poets, I really wanted to read some of her work – thus my choice to buy the book. Plus the yellowed cover and the font really gave the book a magic touch 🙂
Little did I know what it actually contained inside …
Hidden gem #1 – newspaper clip
The vintage book contained a newspaper clip from the Romanian newspaper România liberă (EN: Free Romania), dated 3rd of December 1980. The newspaper featured an interview with Ana Blandiana, aged 38 at that time.
What a history piece from a time I was not even born yet!
Hidden gem #2 – handwritten list
There was also a handwritten list of what seem to be the published works of Ana Blandiana until 1977. Based on the examples of the poet’s handwriting I found online, it appears to me that the list was written by Ana Blandiana.
On the first line of the paper it is written “Otilia-Valeria Coman”, which is her real maiden name. Ana Blandiana is a pseudonym inspired by her mother’s home village – Blandiana.
Hidden gem #3 – mysterious handwritten letter
But that’s not all! There was also a handwritten letter addressed to a certain “Mrs. Lily”, dated August 21st, 1981. The letter was signed by Ana Blandiana and her husband, Romulus Rusan. The writing style is the same, therefore I assume the letter was written by Ana Blandiana herself.
After some detective work of understanding the writing and figuring out who Mrs. Lily was, I discovered that the letter is addressed to Lily Teodoreanu – novelist, poet, and translator. She was also the wife of Ionel Teodoreanu – a famous Romanian writer whose works are studied at school.
In the letter, Ana Blandiana thanks Mrs. Lily for providing a copy of her recently published book at that time (1981) – a poetry collection called Șoapte întru asfințit (EN: Whispers at Sunset).
Hidden gem #4 – poem manuscript
And now the best part comes – a handwritten poem that seems to be written by poet Ana Blandiana, as well. The text was written in pencil, and then additions and changes were made in pencil / pen.
The biggest surprise came when I compared the reviewed poem to the poem published in the book – they’re identical! It might be that the yellowed piece of paper is actually the original manuscript of the poem ❤
Probably I will never know for sure whether the handwritten texts are genuinely written by poet Ana Blandiana … even so it is enough to consider her book and its hidden gems a small treasure on its own!
Did you have any similar experiences with vintage books? What is the most interesting hidden gem that you found in a book?
‘Till next time … happy reading!