Liviu Rebreanu
Translated by P. Crandjean and S. Hartauer
Peter Owen, London, 1964

Comparable to the great Russian novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, The Uprising graphically depicts the Rumanian peasants' struggle for land at the turn of this century; this resulted in a brutal massacre of the landed gentry, when their mansions were razed to the ground and they were hounded from the countryside. The army retaliated by killing over eleven thousand peasants.

Liviu Rebreanu, now considered to be one of Rumania's most eminent writers, tells how Titu Herdelea, a Transylvanian poet, comes to Bucharest to seek a career as a journalist, and is befriended by a young boyar, Grigore Iuga, and his faithless wife. Grigore introduces him to Bucharest society, and takes him to his country estate, where Titu sees the stubborn pride of the landed aristocracy and the greed of the lease-holders, in irreconcilable conflict with the ever-increasing misery of the peasants.

In penetrating, intimate detail, Rebreanu brilliantly recreates life with its many intrigues in differing milieux: work in a newspaper office, scenes in the Chamber of Deputies, town life in Bucharest – both among the upper classes and the working people; but, above all, he excels in his subtle characterization of peasants and descriptions of village life. Rebreanu builds up a tremendous picture of the whole of Rumanian society relentlessly caught in the growing tension of unrest and the violent tragedy which ensued. The Uprising, one of the major European epic novels of this century, will not easily be forgotten.

LIVIU REBREANU, one of Rumania's most distinguished writers, was born in the Transylvanian village of Tirisua in 1885. He came of an old family of small-holders, and his father was a teacher. After being educated at Rumanian, German and Hungarian schools, Rebreanu left for Budapest, intending to study medicine, but through lack of money, was obliged to enter a military school. He became an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army. It was during this period that he decided to devote his life to writing, and he obtained his discharge in 1908, settling in Bucharest to work as a journalist. Two collections of his short stories were published in 1912 and 1916. His first novel Ion appeared in 1920, and this was followed in 1922 by The Forest of Hanged Men (Pdurea Spnzurailor) and A Peasant Dance (Ciuleandra) seven years later. The Uprising (Rscoala), which is considered to be Rebreanu's finest novel, was published in 1933.

Liviu Rebreanu died in 1944. Since then, his novels have been widely published : editions have appeared in most European countries, as well as Turkey and, more recently, in China and the United Arab Republic.