Ileana Mălăncioiu was born in 1940 in a village about 100 miles from Bucharest. She is considered a hero and visionary in Romania, where she lived under the oppressive Ceauşescu regime.
Ileana Mălăncioiu shared with other Eastern European poets of her generation the ability to make the oblique statement both her art and political instrument. Her visionary poems describe those trapped in fables not of their own making. The titular story of the volume is the legend of the walled-up wife, which concerns the tragic sacrifice of a female victim to ensure the successful completion of an important undertaking, such as the construction of a building. Other characters and stories come from the Bible and literature, such as Lear and Ahab, and perhaps most importantly Antigone. Mălăncioiu tells these mythic tales with finesse and beauty.
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin studied Romanian so she could translate these poems and their powerful message. The use of legend, fable, and myth is richly important to both poets, resulting in a book of remarkable poetic compatibility.Legend of the Walled-Up Wife
Wake Forest University Press