For Two Thousand Years by Mihail Sebastian
(Penguin Modern Classics)

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For Two Thousand Years by Mihail Sebastian is a hidden gem in European literature, shining a light on what happened in Romania between the wars.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Available in English for the first time, Mihail Sebastian’s classic 1934 novel delves into the mind of a Jewish student in Romania during the fraught years preceding World War II.
 
This literary masterpiece revives the ideological debates of the interwar period through the journal of a Romanian Jewish student caught between anti-Semitism and Zionism. Although he endures persistent threats just to attend lectures, he feels disconnected from his Jewish peers and questions whether their activism will be worth the cost. Spending his days walking the streets and his nights drinking and conversing with revolutionaries, zealots, and libertines, he remains isolated, even from the women he loves. From Bucharest to Paris, he strives to make peace with himself in an increasingly hostile world.

For Two Thousand Years echoes Mihail Sebastian’s struggles as the rise of fascism ended his career and turned his friends and colleagues against him. Born of the violence of relentless anti-Semitism, his searching, self-derisive work captures a defining moment in history and lights the way for generations to come—a prescient, heart-wrenching chronicle of resilience and despair, resistance and acceptance.
 

About Mihail Sebastian

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Mihail Sebastian was born in 1907 to a middle-class Jewish family in the Danube port of Braila; he died in an automobile accident in the spring of 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.
 
Published September 12, 2017 by Other Press. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for For Two Thousand Years
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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Oct 18 2017

For Two Thousand Years by Mihail Sebastian is a hidden gem in European literature, shining a light on what happened in Romania between the wars.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Ken Kalfus on Oct 20 2017

What’s chilling about “For Two Thousand Years,” in this sensitive translation by Philip O Ceallaigh, is how its oppressive atmosphere foreshadows the rise of Romanian authoritarianism and the destruction of Romanian Jewry, even though it was published before the fascists came to power.

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