Mihail Sadoveanu (occasionally referred to as Mihai Sadoveanu; November 5, 1880 - October 19, 1961) was a Romanian Freemason, novelist, short story writer, journalist and political figure, who twice served as acting republican head of state under the communist regime (1947-1948 and 1958). He was elected Grand Master in 1932. One of the most prolific Romanian-language writers, he is remembered mostly for his historical and adventure novels, as well as for his nature writing. An author whose career spanned five decades, Sadoveanu was an early associate of the traditionalist magazine Samanatorul, before becoming known as a Realist writer and an adherent to the Poporanist current represented by Viata Romaneasca journal.
Critically acclaimed for their visions of ancient solitude and natural abundance, his books are generally set in the historical region of Moldavia and build on themes from the country's medieval and early modern history. Among them are Neamul Soimarestilor ("The Soimaresti Family"), Fratii Jderi ("The Jderi Brothers") and Zodia Cancerului ("Under the Sign of the Crab"). With Baltagul ("The Hatchet") and other works of fiction, Sadoveanu extends his fresco to contemporary history and adopts his style to the psychological novel, Naturalism and Social realism.
A traditionalist figure whose perspective on life was a combination of nationalism and Humanism, Sadoveanu moved between right- and left-wing political forces throughout the interwar period, while serving terms in Parliament. Rallying with People's Party, the National Agrarian Party, and the National Liberal Party-Bratianu, he was editor of the leftist newspapers Adevarul and Dimineata, and was the target of a violent far right press campaign. After World War II, Sadoveanu became a political associate of the Romanian Communist Party. He wrote in favor of the Soviet Union and Stalinism, joined the Society for Friendship with the Soviet Union and adopted Socialist realism. He was awarded high positions in political and cultural life, but his works of the time, in particular the controversial novel Mitrea Cocor, are generally seen as his poorest. Many of his texts and speeches, including the famous slogan Lumina vine de la Rasarit ("The Light Arises in the East"), are also viewed as propaganda in favor of communization.
A founding member of the Romanian Writers' Society and later President of the Romanian Writers' Union, Sadoveanu was also a member of the Romanian Academy since 1921 and a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize for 1961. He was also Grand Master of the Romanian Freemasonry during the 1930s. The father of Profira and Paul-Mihu Sadoveanu, who also pursued careers as writers, he was the brother-in-law of literary critic Izabela Sadoveanu-Evan.