ABOUT THIS BOOK
Widely regarded as the greatest Romanian novel of the twentieth century, Mateiu Caragiale’s Rakes of the Old Court (Craii de Curtea-Veche) follows four characters through the bars and brothels of Bucharest. Guided by an amoral opportunist, the shadowy narrator and his two affluent friends drink and gamble their way through a city built on the ruins of crumbled castles and bygone empires. The novel’s shimmering, spectacular prose describes gripping vignettes of love, ambition, and decay.
Originally published in 1929, Rakes of the Old Court is considered a jewel of Romanian modernism. Devoted “Mateists” have long read, memorized, and reenacted the novel, and after the Romanian Revolution, it became part of the high school curriculum. Now canonical, Mateiu’s work has been celebrated for its opulent literary style and enigmatic tone.