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Mihai Eminescu a.k.a. Mihail Eminescu (January 15 1850 - June 15 1889), late Romantic poet, probably the single best-known Romanian poet. Famous works include "Luceafărul" ("Lucifer"), "Mai am un singur dor" ("I Have a Single Desire Left"), and the 5 "Scrisorile" ("Epistles").
Eminescu was active in the Junimea literary society, and was a prominent member of the Conservative Party and a journalist at Timpul.
Born in Ipoteşti, Botoşani County, Romania. Eminescu was the son of tax collector Gheorghe Eminovici and his wife Raluca Eminovici, née Iurăscu. He spent his early childhood in Botoşani and Ipotesti, in his parents' family home. From 1858 to 1866 he attended school in Cernăuti. He finished grade 4th grade as the 5th of 82 students, after which he attended two years of gymnasium.
The first evidence of Eminescu as a writer is in 1866. In January of that year Romanian-teacher Aron Pumnul died and his students puplished a pamphlet, Lăcrămioarele invăţăceilor gimnazişti (Tears of the Gymnasium Students) in which appears a poem entitled "La mormāntul lui Aron Pumnul" ("The Grave of Aron Pumnul") signed "M. Eminoviciu". On February 25 his poem "De-aş avea" was published in the magazine Familia from Pest signed as "Iosif Vulcan". Shortly thereafter, he began signing as "Mihai Eminescu".
From 1869 to 1872 he studied in Vienna. He was counted as an "extraordinary auditor" at the Faculty of Philosophy and Law. He was active in student life, befriended Ioan Slavici, and came to know Vienna through Veronica Micle; he became a contributor to Convorbiri literare (Literary Talk); he became a journalist at the newspaper Albina in Pest.
From 1874 to 1877 he worked as director of the Central Library, substitute teacher, school inspector for the counties of Iaşi and Vaslui, and editor of the newspaper Curierul de Iaşi (The Courier of Iaşi). He continued to publish in Convorbiri literare. He became a good friend of Ion Creangă, whom he convinced to become a writer and introduced him to the Junimea literary club.
In 1877 he moved to Bucharest, where until 1883 he was first editor, then (1880) editor-in-chief of the newspaper Timpul (Time). During this time he wrote most of his poems Scrisorile, Luceafărul etc.) However, his overwork during this period was very bad for his health.
See also: Literature of Romania
Note on name: "Mihail" is a more archaic form of "Mihai". Both were in use during Eminescu's liftime, and he personally made use of both forms. However, he is generally referred to in Romania today as "Mihai Eminescu".