At his death, George Topîrceanu was regarded as the most popular poet of his time. His memoirs in particular still preserve their freshness, for example his diaries written in Bulgaria in 1913, during the Balkan War, and accounts of the battle of Turtucaia in 1916 and of his imprisonment in a Bulgarian camp.
Topîrceanu’s success was thanks in large part to the reviews he published in Romanian Life, as well as to the ballads and rhapsodies collected in Ballads Gay and Sad and Original Parodies, both published in 1916. Topîrceanu’s poetry resulted not so much from innate poetic talent as from his ability to work with words, to craft them. His literary knack was unsurpassed among his contemporaries. In the words of Tudor Arghezi, Topîrceanu was seen as ‘a verbal caricaturist and matchless conjuror’.
Topîrceanu’s knack is also evident in his ability to read a text, to assimilate its author’s style with uncanny accuracy, and he was able to imitate both modernists and traditionalists, not to mention the avant-garde, in pastiches that have lost none of their literary value.
Critic Nicolae Manolescu argues that Topîrceanu’s ballads and rhapsodies are like ‘histoires naturelles in verse, with a delicate imagination and peerless spirit of observation, of anthropomorphic style, like fables without a moral, both lexically inventive and humorous.’
Like that of George Coșbuc, Topîrceanu’s poetry seems to attract young and adolescent readers in particular, providing a gateway to the world of poetry. Although often amusing, his poems also have a certain didactic spirit, and are often addressed to readers taking their first steps in the world of lyric poetry. Poems such as ‘The Ballad of a Little Cricket’ and ‘At Easter’ are perennial favourites in school textbooks. But even so, Topîrceanu’s poems are also of interest to older readers, as is the case of ‘The Ballad of Night’ and ‘Ballad of the Priest from Rudeni’.