Matei Vişniec – del exilio cultural a la cultura del exilio

Matei Vişniec – from the cultural exile to the culture of exile




cultural exile, cultural journalism, self-translation, literary biography, European literature, globalization


This study intends to offer a general overview on one of the most far-reaching aspects of an exceptional literary biography: Matei Vişniec’s story (Rădăuţi, Romania, 1956). Our analysis will focus on the transition of an immense literary work, opening with his political exile in the late 80’s and reaching today’s urbane, all-embracing European literature. Matei Vişniec claims the existence of a “joyful exile” as a concept –a cultural one, soothed by many literary references, deep-rooted in his Romanian educational background. After a brief hunt for a host language for his writing in the early 90’s, Vişniec finally chose French, which he defines metaphorically as his mistress-tongue, as opposed to Romanian, his wife-tongue. Each of these languages’ demands determine his pick, depending on the literary genre to address: French –due to its wider circulation and its morphosyntactic concission– was assigned to his narrative work, and to his poetry, Romanian –thanks to its lexical vastness, containing countless synonyms from various origins. We believe it’s interesting to point out self-translation as one of the essential features of a literary biography saddled between two different languages and cultures, which leads Matei Visniec to describe himself as “a man with his roots in Romania and his wings in France” and thus creating the emblematic, allegorical image of a “winged tree”. Translated into more than 25 languages, his work strives for universality and has been recognized for decades, through many valuable prizes, by today's French-speaking culture. From a diachronic perspective, aspiring to establish some of the specific features of a whole creative universe written in a context of exile and migration, this text approaches some significant moments in Matei Vişniec’s literary biography.

Author Biography

Angelica Lambru, University of Valencia

Angelica Lambru (Constanta, 1969) is a writer and translator, who graduated from the University of Bucharest, at the Faculty of Letters, Department of Philology. She has been living in Spain since 1992. She is a member of the Association of Writers and Literary Critics of Valencia. She is the author of the first bilingual anthology of contemporary poetry, El muro del silencio/Zidul tăcerii, (Madrid, 2007), dedicated to Generation '80. She has translated works from different literary genres (prose, poetry, essays, theatre) into Spanish. Since 2015, she has been collaborating with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Madrid to teach Romanian language, culture and civilization courses in Valencia.


Lefter, I.B. (2017). Parabolele absurde şi ironice ale lui Vişniec-poetul/ The absurd and ironic parables of Vişniec-the poet. In M Vişniec (2017). Opera poetică. Bucureşti: Cartea Românească. 15-16

Vişniec, M. (2007). Am fost fericit ca un zeu/ I have been as happy as a god. In Agonia 2 (En línea:

Vişniec, M. (2020). Matei Vişniec: teatru şi jurnalism (influenţe reciproce)/ Matei Vişniec: theater and journalism (reciprocal influences). In TNB. (En línea:

Vişniec, M. (2021). Un secol de ceaţă/ A century of fog, Bucureşti: Polirom.




How to Cite

Lambru, A. (2023). Matei Vişniec – del exilio cultural a la cultura del exilio: Matei Vişniec – from the cultural exile to the culture of exile. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 6(1), 341–348.