Eugène Ionesco (born Eugen Ionescu, Romanian: [e.uˈd͡ʒen i.oˈnesku]; 26 November 1909 – 28 March 1994) was a Romanian playwright who wrote mostly in French, and one of the foremost figures of the Theatre of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict in a tangible way the solitude and insignificance of human existence. After his debut in revue Radical (a minor magazine of the Romanian avant-garde), he published in Romanian two books that made him somewhat infamous on the Romanian literary scene of the time - the poetry volume Elegii pentru fiinţe mici ("Elegies for Small Beings") and the highly controversial essay Nu! ("No!"), in which he criticized the most proeminent contemporary writers, while indicating in the end of the book that he could provide opposite arguments. Before leaving the country, he had written a small play entitled Englezeşte fără profesor ("English Without Teacher") which would be published only after 1990, but is actually the prototype of the famous 1950 play La Cantatrice Chauve.