1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vacarescu

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Vacarescu, the name, according to tradition, of one of the oldest noble families in Walachia. Its mythical founder is said to have been a certain Kukenus, of Spanish origin, settled in Transylvania as lord over Fogaras. Others connect the family with Ugrin, count of Fogaras. The first member of historical importance was Ianache (b. 1654), the grand treasurer of Walachia, who was killed with his master, Prince Brancovan, in Constantinople, 1714. His grandson through his son Stephan, also called Ianache (or “Enakitza the Ban,” 1730–1796), starts a line of Rumanian scholars and poets; he was the author of the first known Rumanian grammar in the vernacular, printed in 1787. While in exile in Nicopolis he wrote the contemporary history of the, Turkish empire in two volumes (1740–1799). He was also the first to attempt Rumanian versification. Greater as a poet is his son Alecu (Alexander), who died as a prisoner in Constantinople in 1798. In 1796 a collection of his poems appeared in Rumania. His brother Nikolaes (d. 1830) also wrote some poems, but they remained in MS. until 1861), when they were published. By far the greatest member of the Vacarescu family in the male line was Iancu (1786-1863), the son of Alexander. He received an excellent education not only in Greek but also in German and French, and was well versed in the literature of the West. An ardent patriot, he sided with the national movement in 1821, and assisted in establishing the Rumanian theatre, translating many books and plays from German and French into Rumanian, notably the Britannicus of Corneille, a literary event of no small importance at the time. He inaugurated modern Rumanian poetry. In 1830 appeared his first volume of verse. He died in 1863. A niece of Alexander is the gifted writer Elena Vacarescu (Helene Vacaresco), who inherited the poetical talent of her family and has enriched Rumanian literature with her Bard of the Dimbovitza, and other poems and novels in Rumanian and in French. (M. G.)