A journey into the past
Vasile Alecsandri was a poet, playwright, folklorist, politician, minister, diplomat, founding member of the Romanian Academy, creator of Romanian theater and dramatic literature in Romania, a prominent figure of Moldova and then of Romania throughout the century. XIX.
The story Balta-Albă was written in the summer of 1847, when Alecsandri was in this spa, being published first in the magazine "Calendar for Romanians" by Gheorghe Asachi, from Iasi, in 1848, then in the magazine "Romania literary ”, in 1855. Therefore, the gratitude and prestige of this book has a great importance on Romanian literature, from a timeless point of view.
The narrative Balta-Albă has as its main literary way of creation the motif of the foreigner, frequently in the 18th century, especially in French literature. The story presents the motive of the stranger in the guise of a young French painter, who is part of a trip to the Orient, and the narrative develops through his observations compared to those seen during the journey through Wallachia. The narration is in the first person throughout the story, the beginning being related, in the third person, by the authorial voice (the narrator is confused with the author), in the guise of a young Wallachian, and the actual events are told by the narrator-character, that is, the French tourist.
What is remarkable about this work is the account in the first person by the young French painter, who confesses that he considers himself a kind of Christopher Columbus, because he had discovered in Europe "a Moldavia and a Wallachia". Delighted by the "wild beauty of the banks of this river (Danube)" he accuses his geography teacher of not teaching him about these wonders, emphasizing the importance of knowing the Earth, geographically.
The language is colloquial, careless, specific to the period, using regionalisms such as "until you come to your countries", "When there, what should I see?", "Ghost, armed with a whip with which he would have flattened a buhai ”. The language also has small interventions of the French language, to emphasize the origin of the traveler "allons!", "Maladroit!" of French ”,“ the heart of a man lost in a foreign country ”.
The author's attitude towards him is an ironic one, which can be deduced from the subtle ridicule "German dracoli!". Also, the exaggeration of the character is deduced from sequences that reveal his dramatic attitude: "with his head bowed like a death row inmate who would get on the guillotine chariot", "the hope of escaping the deadly jumps of the wagon, the hope of eating a steak in tow and especially the sweet hope of resting ”,“ the poetic admiration that had embraced me for the time being turned into a worry, primary summer with fear ”.
The way of narration is an explicit one, detailed and embellished by numerous descriptions, but also comparisons, such as “deep caves covered with old forests, as well as the Iron Gates and the Severin Tower”.
By discovering a miraculous "miracle pond that had been discovered in Wallachia for some years, and called the White Pond," the character considers himself lucky and is ecstatic by this discrepancy between the perspective he used to have on Wallachia and the one it has now.
Specific to Vasile Alecsandri, the dynamic images are indispensable in this work, these being as vividly described as "jumping from hops to hops and throwing me up like a ball, the sergeant was screaming, talking, banging the deafening field", " infernal harassment of sounds ”.
The stranger has a lot of adventures during this trip "unexpected hit", many unpleasant situations, but also pleasant by meeting people who belong to his origin, giving him a sense of familiarity.
Specific to the author's work, is patriotism, pride in the country, present in his works "all are united together, are chewed together and produce an unimaginable effect to both eyes and mind", "Indeed, Wallachia is a country full of wonders! One of the countries that are described in Halima ”. This patriotism ends the story in a wonderful experience, which offers a positive perspective on the country.
What is the value of this book today? Did it leave any mark in the cultural literature of Romania? The answer is definitely yes, this book represents for the contemporary world a transposition in time. A different perspective of this resort, from the eyes of a stranger, from the 19th century. Currently, the value of the text consists in bringing back the old values, educating on old times and the opportunity to observe the radical change, from a linguistic point of view, of the Romanian language