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Evgeny is mine!

Jun. 27th, 2005 | 11:45 pm
mood: jubilant

What joy – I have claimed Evgeny Onegin in the claim_a_russian community, and he is mine!!!

The epitome Russian dandy became a love of mine ever since I have seen him portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in his sister's exquisite film.

 

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An answer for silver_apple

Jun. 27th, 2005 | 06:07 pm

This is in answer to silver_apple's inquiry, found here.

About "The Waterfall" – it does seem a lovely story. However, I think I can assure you that this is not a Romanian folk tale, and most probably it is the creation of Olive Beaupré Miller.

First of all, Romanian fairy tales don't normally feature wizards. Witches are far more common, though they are not always described as such. Most often they are a version of the Russian Baba Yaga, and they are called either "Muma Padurii" [read 'moo-mah pə-'doo-ree, meaning Old Mother of the Forest], or "Baba Cloanta" [read 'bah-bah 'klwan-tzah]. There are other magical villains, but they are almost always feminine.
The only masculine traditional villain is the zmeu - who is a fantastical being of great strength and malicious intents (usually keeping beautiful girls as prisoners or seeking to acquire power over the land). I think he is never described in terms of physical appearance, though it seems everybody imagines him as a biped monster. Now as I think of it, in my opinion Peter Jackson's orcs in the LOTR trilogy do full justice to the traditional image of the Romanian zmeu.

Then, the name of this wizard clearly shows that Ms Miller was trying to appeal to Western sensibilities already used to Stoker's Dracula. In fact, this would never happen in a Romanian folk story. The word Dracul actually means "the devil", and although the devil features in a number of Romanian folk tales, he never appeares as a wizard, nor would his name be employed as a person's name, and most assuredly that person would not be redeemed at the end of the story! :)

I think you probably know the story of Dracula's name, but I'll say it again shortly here. If you are familiar with it, just skip to the next paragraph :) The father of Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Tepes (the historical figure that underlies Stoker's Dracula) was called Vlad as well. Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Holy Roman Emperor, while he was only king of Hungary, created a feudal knighthood order, called The Order of the Dragon, a kind of elite guard of the king. Vlad the father was one of only three foreigners elected to be part of it, and he was so proud of this, that, once he became a prince of Walachia, he made himself an effigy featuring the dragon, and he also issued coins bearing this effigy. That is why his people came to call him "Vlad Dracul", that is "Vlad the Dragon", and the name was passed on to his son. Here "dracul" does not mean "the devil", but "the dragon" - it is the form this Latin word came to have in Romanian. I think the meaning of "devil" is derived from that of "dragon", maybe based on such Bible passages as Revelation chapters 12 and 13.

A kind of dragons also appear in folk tales as powerful enemies of the heroes. The word for "dragon" in Romanian folktales is "balaur" [bah-'lah-oor]. Unlike a usual dragon, a "balaur" commonly has three or nine or ten heads.

Now, girls of noble birth with beautiful hair do appear in Romanian stories, as I think they do in many other folk fairytales. But in Romanian ones, they usually are an emperor's or a king's daughter, and many-many times there isn't just one such daughter, but three. About the "seizing of the hair" motif, that one doesn't ring as Romanian, either.

When it comes to transformations, I think most of them are into animals, not objects, though I do remember some stories where the hero is turned into a broom, so the prisoner heroine can hide him in the house of the villain. I have never heard the story of a man turned into a sword.

One more thing that clearly shows this is not an authentic Romanian story is that the male hero is the son of a boyar. This would never happen in a folk tale - boyars are commonly depicted as exploiters, greedy and cruel, as unfortunately they probably were, in many cases. The male hero is usually either a king's or an emperor's youngest son, or just a brave lone ranger, or the youngest son of a peasant, or a shepherd.

And last but not least, the name of the story doesn't help, either! :) Waterfalls are a very common feature of Romanian mountain landscape, but I have never seen them mentioned in folk fairytales.

Ah, this was long, but I hope it can be of some use to you! :) If you are interested in actual Romanian tales, please let me know.

I must say I envy your sister for living in Bratislava! :D I spent one and a half months over there at the end of 2003, and those were the happiest six weeks of my life! :) A beautiful city, with a great history, and wonderful people. I love Bucharest as well, it has its own charms, despite the ravages of Communism, but Bratislava's Staré mesto, or Old Town, really appeals to my heart with its Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque sights.

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At the theatre

Jun. 24th, 2005 | 10:53 pm
mood: amused

Yesterday and the day before, I splurged, and went to the theatre two nights in a row. I saw Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Chirita of Bîrzoieni, adapted as a musical by Iarina Demian from Vasile Alecsandri's classic comedy written in 1852. A good pretext was that on Sunday next the theatrical season would be at an end, and I had wanted to see these plays for ages, so I invited my friends E. and D., respectively, and off we went!

We really enjoyed ourselves. The performances were great (though I do not particularly appreciate the style that seems to be in vogue for Shakespeare nowadays: very fast speaking, and giving heavy sexual overtones to every scene that allows it in any way), and I also relished the music and the singing, the costumes and the décor. Pictures from the productions can be seen at the Bucharest Comedy Theatre website (the English on the website is poor but the pics are great): Twelfth Night (more here) and Chirita.

All the actors did a very good job, but Emilia Popescu, Stefan Banica jr. and Tudor Chirila are truly delicious :)

Dressing up to go to the theatre was a joy in itself as well :) With so few chances, in my circumstances, for dressing elegantly, I have long realized that I must create my own occasions for showing off my style!

That's why when I go to plays or concerts, be it at the theatre, at the Opera House, at the Atheneum, or other concert venues, I always try to dress my best, even though the unfortunate trend is more and more to wear casual clothes – so badly so, that, just by looking at them, you cannot tell whether people are at a nice cultural event or at school/work. Jeans at the Opera? Yes, I've seen it more than once. Ugh.

What did I wear? :)
On Wednesday, for Twelfth Night, I wore my pink-and-grey, flouncy drop-waist skirt, with a pink camisole embellished with lace and beads, and over that a long-sleeved black, tight, ruffle-front blouse. My high-heeled black sandals with a bag to match, necklace of black small beads and a hair pin decorated with the same :)

On Thursday, I had: black trousers, a black and silver blouse with very long bell sleeves made of lace, my silver vinyl jacket and pointy black leather mules, and my Guess black bag. When I had the jacket on, I turned up the ends of the sleeves, in such a way that they looked like great lace cuffs for my jacket. I think that made for a fine look that alluded to a military uniform :)

My friends were also very elegant! We were quite the ladies.

In conclusion, I had a great time, and I look forward to the next occasion to display my particular variety of dandyism!

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Delightful Takeshi

Jun. 23rd, 2005 | 02:44 am
mood: contemplative
music: Howl's Moving Castle OST

These are some of my favourites pictures of Takeshi Kaneshiro at his most dandyish. Out of the eight gentlemen represented in my previous post, he is very little known, and very undeservedly so, I think!

So let's try to do him some justice here :D

12 more here. Not dial-up friendly! :)Collapse )

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An incipient collection of dandies

Jun. 22nd, 2005 | 01:57 am
mood: enthralled
music: The Dream of the Red Mansion - Guo Brothers & Shung Tian

What better way to start my journal than by showing off my budding collection of dandies?

 

Ten more are hiding here.Collapse )

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