The Romanian novelist and essayist Petru Dumitriu (dew-mee-TREE-ew) received his higher education at the University of Munich. During the years following World War II he rose rapidly to prominence as an author, becoming one of the foremost Communist writers in Romania. He served as chief editor of the literary monthly Viata Romanesca from 1953 to 1955, was manager of the State Publishing House for Literature and Art in Bucharest from 1955 to 1958, and during the two succeeding years was chairman of the Council of Publishing Houses, Ministry of Culture. In addition to his high place in the nation’s propaganda industry, Dumitriu received many awards. These included the Romanian State Prize for Literature, which he was awarded three times (1950, 1952, 1954), and the Order of Labour. His doctrinaire trilogy, The Boyars, was published in all Communist bloc countries. Dumitriu found, however, that status is a precarious matter in police states and that insecurity increases with eminence. In 1960 he and his wife went on a cultural mission to Berlin, and while in that city they defected to the West. They were never able to regain custody of their infant daughter, whom they had left in Romania. After 1963 Dumitriu did editorial work for the German publisher S. Fischer Verlag.
Dumitriu is best known in the West for his powerful anti-Stalinist novel Incognito. Although it depicts the more frightening aspects of police-state tactics and...
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