Carmen Neamtu & Vasile Dan















The Journalist Carmen Neamtu asked the Writer Vasile Dan





I envy with all my heart




Today we will tackle a generous and brave subject: envy and its faces. We will dissect it on the sensitive territory of literature. How much of the “Poet’s skin”1 is impregnated with envy and whether there is an antidote for it, we will try to find out with poet Vasile Dan, chief-editor for the cultural magazine “ARCA”.




Mr. Vasile Dan, how does envy manifest in the extremely sensitive territory of literature?


The writing world, just like the artistic one in general, is a fertilising world for envy. It is the world of “genus irascible”. It is not a world of peace, but of war of ideas, of anxieties, of polemics. The graveyard-like silence is a stranger to it. I dare say that envy is inherent to the man in a larger or smaller proportion. Including the superior man. For a strong character, envy is separated from jealousy. Jealousy means envy exclamatorily associated with admiration. It can only contain the regret that one does not find himself in the enviable situation of something or someone.


You have felt envy yourself; how do you report yourself to it?


I have felt envy in both aspects. Both admiring envy and jealousy.


Which one do you feel more acutely?


One can best feel the latter, jealousy. What is interesting is that I was not envied for my poetry. The people who envy me do not read poetry more recent than George Toparceanu. I just don’t get it. Although some of them teach in schools and universities. But I was envied for something else. Something that contradicted their personal system of promotion in life. The creation of “The Arc” institution. A cultural magazine, a critical institution where there is absolute free access. But exclusively on criteria of values. Neither a substitute of value, nor the function in administration, the city hall, the prefect’s office, the council, college, political parties or the police can replace the value of a person. The accuracy in thought and writing. The frequency of personal ideas, the novelty in treating a subject, the competence and originality in fiction. Other institutions may even replace value with its opposite. Anyhow, not a magazine which wants to be viable to perform on the first cultural stage of the country. By that, I don’t mean that I have succeeded 100%; that I have not also published simple things, sometimes maybe even mediocre, no, but I can say the main attitude or the principle was that of value.


Have you ever envied a fellow literary colleague who had more literary awards and was better rated/seen in the capital?


I solemnly admit that I have felt and still feel admiring envy, but not jealousy. I envy with all my heart those who visited the northern countries, England and Spain, where I have not yet been and I do not know whether I will someday. I envy the ones a generation younger that me who get scholarships abroad, including the USA, when those in my generation could not even travel to Hungary. I have envied as far as I can remember Ion Mircea, a phenomenal poet, with whom I started off in literature, in Cluj, almost at the same the time. I envy his cold intelligence and his arctic syntax, but where a volcano is burning. Nevertheless, I do not envy those who are boosted in their jobs of any kind. Those with exorbitant limos in such a poor country. I do not envy at all those who have statues and pedestals made while they are alive, those who accept bribe in intellectual professions, those who politically talk about the starving although they are satiated, the impostors. Or the compilers and plagiarists.


How about a very rich owner?


I met enviable owners. A recent one sponsored the beautiful poetry book of Petru M. Has “Pieces of the Prophet”. He financed an extraordinary book release in the natal village of Petru M. Has and himself, Misca. It was a third degree encounter between sophisticated bookish world of postmodern poetry and our rural pre-modernism.


Which are the weapons of the envious?


The weapons of the envious in the positive sense I have given it are: self-irony, admiration, sympathy. In the negative sense, that of jealousy, they are: visceral hate and the blind desire of symbolical or physical annihilation of the one they envy.


Is there an antidote for envy?


There is no antidote for envy. It is linked to our appetite of loving and hating our fellows. Macedonski will always be jealous of Eminescu, Dobrogeanu Gherea of Maiorescu, Calinescu of Lovinescu, Ion Barbu of Arghezi, Arghezi of Blaga, Blaga of D. D. Rosca, Adrian Paunescu of Nichita Stanescu, Breban of Pread, Vadim Tudor of Mircea Dinescu, Iliescu of Ceausescu.


If you were to outline a portrait of the envious, how would it look?


Maybe of a one who is jealous. He is looking to the side, never directly, with cloudy eyes, if not injected with hate. He sneaks like a feline under the walls. He curses you when he sees you on television or in the gazette. But he softly praises you in front of you. He is always interested in your health. Just in case. He heard you were operated. He is sexless. Or a solitary wolf in heat. His friends are exclusively his servants. Whatever, I think he did not have his bile removed.



1 That is also the name of a volume of the guest.











Carmen Neamţu, Ph.D. is currently holding a chair at the Faculty of Humanistic and Social Sciences – Journalism at „Aurel Vlaicu” state University of Arad, Romania.


Co-authored the Handbook for Journalism, Polirom, 2009 and New Media Structure. Journalism: insider or Outsider, Ankara Universitesi, 2005.

Member of the editorial board of the Professional Association of Writers`s Journal, ARCA, member of the Romanian Association of Professional Journalists, of the Association of Training Experts in Journalism and Communication.



Volumes published:

Limbajul publicitar, Mirador, 2002.

Stilul publicitic, Mirador, 2004.

Limbă şistil în presa scrisă, Mirador, 2007.

Convorbiri cu vedere la microfon. Arta interviului. Chipuri şi moduri, Mirador, 2009.


Contact: Mucius Scaevola Str., Bl. S3-2, sc.B, ap.4, ARAD, Cod: 3101107, Romania

Phone: 00+4-0745.82.17.28

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