'175 minutes in Mizil' (1940), translated for the first time into English by Diana Duta, is a Perecquian reportage about provincial banality.
Through a minutious description of his every step, Geo Bogza leads us into a boring, quiet, infinitely dusty Mizil. He has one hundred and seventy-five minutes to spend there – from which he doesn’t expect much – but he spells that time out for us minute-by-minute.
Online at Hotel Magazine.
Geo Bogza (1908-1993) was a poet, journalist and theorist closely connected to the avant-garde and surrealism movements in Romania. He was born in a village near Ploiesti, the main petroleum hub of the country, known as “the capital of black gold”. The unusual landscape of oil wells had a strong influence on the young Bogza and inspired him to write his first reportage pieces. Before settling in Bucharest, Bogza lived in Bustenari where he briefly ran a seltzer factory together with his brother. There he wrote the poems included in his first volume, Sex Diary (1929) and edited the journal Urmuz (Vitrine for New Art) paying for it from his own pocket. It featured contributions by Ilarie Voronca, Geo Bogza, Victor Brauner, Tristan Tzara, Marc Chagall, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Paul Éluard, with a nod to Dadaism and Constructivism. After being arrested and tried for pornography, Bogza made obscenity his aesthetic credo and included his fingerprints on the cover of his second poetry volume, Offensive Poem (1933). His main accusers were members of the Romanian Academy with extreme-right and nationalistic views. In his defense, Bogza wrote: “My book is not pornography in any way, but an infinitely more powerful attack on the neatness and coziness of the world.”