Cloth Text – $56.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1254-4

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1255-1
Publication Date
July 1995
Page Count
192 pages
Trim Size
4 3/4 x 8


Gellu Naum

One of the best-known novels by prolific Romanian avant-garde writer Gelu Naum, Zenobia is the evocation of the singular quest of a Surrealist knight-errant who strives to be true to the gentle demands of his lady in a landscape of snares, desolation, incipient madness, and material poverty magically interrupted by moments of extreme beauty.

His wife, artist Lyggia Naum, was the inspiration for the title character. In this 1985 masterpiece, penned in the twilight of the totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, love, in all its intimate, carnal communion, lights the path through the dark forest, the streets of Bucharest, and the desert swamps. The narrator, speaking from the depths of love and despair, invites the reader to share his quest. Highly praised now and then, Zenobia is an enduring avant-garde classic of twentieth-century Eastern European literature.
About the Author

Gellu Naum (August 1, 1915 – September 29, 2001) was a prominent Romanian poet, dramatist, novelist, children's writer, and translator. He is remembered as the founder of the Romanian Surrealist group. The artist Lyggia Naum, his wife, was the inspiration and main character in his 1985 novel Zenobia.


"High metaphysical hilarity from a hitherto unknown master whose work in its strongest moments recalls the best of Beckett, Gombrowicz, and Ionesco." —Kirkus Reviews

"Experiments with style and vocabulary abound, and Zenobia benefits from a lush translation that lets the reader enjoy the language fully." —Library Journal

"Fascinated with surralism or not, any reader would find in Zenobia a rewarding attempt to go beyond the power of words, images, and logic. Like the best in the surrealist tradition, it seeks to narrate the unnarratable and challenges its readers to comprehend the incomprehensible."  —World Literature Today

"One of the most exciting experimental fictions produced in Romania in the last fifteen years or so."
—Mihai Miroiu