Nicholas Mavrocordato (1680-1730), ruler of Moldavia (1709-1710, 1711-1715) and of Wallachia (1715-1716, 1719-1730), the first Phanariote ruler, was one of the brilliant representatives of early Enlightenment. As “a wise prince, refined scholar, polyglot and an enlightenned man,” he earned a place in the history of Neo-Greek literature as a “stylist of the cultured language and a moralist attuned to the spirit of the modernists” (Jacques Bouchard). He approached several genres, from philosophical treatises to essays or poetry. It is his epistolographic work, however, that stands out. A distinctive place among his writings is held by The Leisures of Philotheos, which is now published for the first time in the land where it was written.

First published in 1800, The Leisures of Philotheos, which Prince Nicholas Mavrocordato began writing during his exile in Sibiu, in 1716, waited for 189 years to be published again in a critical edition and to be translated for the first time into a foreign language by the Canadian Hellenist Jacques Bouchard, in 1989. Deemed the first tentative novel in Neo-Greek literature, Mavrocordato’s writing is now available in Romanian and invites the reader to a trip to Constantinople, providing a good opportunity for a comparison between East and West from the angle of Enlightenment ideas. The Romanian edition keeps the introduction, critical text, notes and indexes of the Canadian editor, adding to which there are supplementary notes and a selective bibliography, catering to the interest of both the lay readership and the researchers of a somewhat lesser known period of the Greek letters in the Romanian area.


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