Transylvanian Review 1/2009


Ioana Bot, Entre Genève et Yale : qui dit « je » ?, p. 3

Abstract Between Geneva and Yale: Who Says ‘I’? – One striking contradiction emerges when it comes to the voice of literary criticism or of literary theory: on the one hand, critics must make themselves invisible from the text and render the interpretation as impersonal as possible but, on the other, their voice is unmistakably present and recognizable in the text. The present paper discusses the issue of the elusive ‘I’ of critical texts, seeking to define its precise identity and nature, chiefly looking at the position adopted by two distinct critical schools, Geneva and Yale, though the voices of theorists such as Jean Starobinski and Georges Poulet (postulating the presence, albeit ambiguous, of a critical self), and Paul de Man and Joseph Hillis Miller, respectively.

Keywords: literary criticism, literary theory, authorial voice, Geneva School, Yale School

Alexandru Matei, Changement de paradigme en histoire littéraire ? Le germe et le detail, p. 15

Abstract – A Change of Paradigm in Literary History? Kernel and Detail – The study discusses several major implications of the book written by Franco Moretti and entitled Graphs. Maps. Trees (2005, 2007), which proposes a series of abstract models (“diagrams”) for literary history devised by way of a “distant reading,” namely, a Bergsonian-Deleuzian rather than a Hegelian-Marxist or positivist historiographical approach to (literary) history. We are dealing here with a reading (interpretation) which sees (literary) history as “creative evolution,” vital, dynamic, “rhizomatic,” lacking finality, but featuring multiple evolutionary tendencies. Reading (interpretation) seeks to find in texts precisely the kernels of the new evolutionary tendencies, outlining the diagrams, the “maps” of the multiple fictional worlds, irreducible to a single, “true,” exhaustive representation.

Keywords: literary history, Franco Moretti, distant reading, Henri Bergson

Adrian Tudurachi, La latinité comme modalité esthétique de la langue roumaine, p. 32

AbstractLatinity As an Aesthetic Mode in Romanian Language – The paper analyzes the linguistic imaginary and the manner in which it can encompass an aesthetic experience. More specifically, the author focuses on the representations of Latinity in Romanian culture, as in the 19th century poetry was used in order to illustrate the Latin structure of the Romanian language and subjected to statistical analyses meant to determine the percentage of words of Latin origin. Furthermore, during the same period, poems were also used in order to highlight the defining elements associated with Latinity since the classical period: harmony, musicality, order, hierarchy, etc. In a case study applied to an aesthetic interpretation of the Romanian language, D. Cacacostea’s L’Expressivité de la langue roumaine (The expressiveness of the Romanian language, 1942), the author seeks to identify the presence and the part played by these elements of Latinity in the generation of aesthetic representations.

Keywords: linguistic imaginary, aesthetic experience, Latinity, D. Caracostea

Eliza Deac, Towards Free Verse by Way of Ion Minulescu’s Poetry, p. 42

AbstractTowards Free Verse by Way of Ion Minulescu’s Poetry – Ion Minulescu remains a controversial character in the history of Romanian literature, as the poet who promoted the symbolist trend in our poetry, who revived Romanian poetic language at the beginning of the 20th century, liberating it from the excesses of the promoters of traditional literature and from the imitation of Eminescu’s work, but who nonetheless, at least according to a large number of critics, remained a mediocre artist. The present analysis is meant to reveal certain hidden depths of Minulescu’s work, indicating how in his poetry the graphical arrangement of semantic units revives latent meanings and creates a new rhythmical pattern which often eclipses the rhythm of traditional verse, to the extent that the result can be termed free verse since it does not obey any rules concerning the regular beat, rhyme or the number of syllables. However, precisely when the liberation is about to become complete, traditional verse reappears and restores its own order. This clash between two possible ways of organizing the poem reflects not only the theme of the conflict between the old art and the new perspective advocated by the newcomer, but also Minulescu’s own vision on poetry. Thus, his work comes to illustrate not so much the new artistic formula, but the gradual dissolution of the old one.

Keywords: Romanian poetry, symbolism, Ion Minulescu, free verse, prosody, traditionalism in art

Magda Răduţă, “Expressive Hatred, Magnificent Injustice”: Ion Vinea’s Pamphlets, p. 57

Abstract – “Expressive Hatred, Magnificent Injustice”: Ion Vinea’s Pamphlets – The paper presents the journalistic activity of Ion Vinea, whose name is chiefly associated with the promotion of the historical avant-garde and with the experimentalism cultivated by the modernist journals. However, alongside poetry and prose, a major component of his creation is represented by his newspaper articles, of particular interest being his pamphlets. Included in the lyrical genre (according to their author, this genre was the only one capable of encompassing all literary aspects of modernity), the pamphlets published by Ion Vinea emerge as a fortunate combination between his temperament, firm rhetoric, and lyrical expressiveness. Only thus do pamphlets acquire the image of a genre defined by boundless expressiveness: an existential condition, a way to gain autonomy and the only chance of avoiding the “non-journalistic” (and therefore “non-literary”) types of discourse, such as the denunciation, the pornographic or obscene text, verbal aggression.

Keywords: literary pamphlet, Romanian interwar journalism, Ion Vinea, poetic art, literary genres

Radu I. Petrescu, «Philimor cousu d’enfant» ou la mécanique du hasard, p. 73

Abstract “Philimor cousu d’enfant” or the Mechanics of Chance – Starting from the analysis of a short story—“Philimor cousu d’enfant” (1935)—later included (under a changed title, “Philibert doublé d’enfant”) in the famous novel Ferdydurke (1937), the paper discusses a recurrent motif in the work of Witold Gombrowicz: Form (nobility of character, dignity, gravity, maturity/childhood, immaturity, naivete, inferiority, virtuality). All in all, a statement on how one should maintain a certain degree of freedom and challenge fate, thus preventing Form from distorting the human individual to the point of ultimate annihilation.

Keywords: Witold Gombrowicz, Form, chance, game

Carmen Elisabeth Puchianu, Thomas Mann als schriftstellerisches Vorbild für Joachim Wittstock. Zu Wittstocks Erzählkunst am Beispiel seines Romans Die uns angebotene Welt, p. 84

AbstractThomas Mann As a Literary Mentor for Joachim Wittstock: On Wittstock’s Narrative Art As Seen in the Novel Die uns angebotene Welt – The paper analyzes the novel Die uns angebotene Welt (2007) belonging to Joachim Wittstock, a German-language writer from Sibiu, from the vantage point of the influences exerted by his literary mentor, Thomas Mann. The analysis includes aspects pertaining to structure and language, as well as to the portrayal of the central character, a younger alter ego of the narrator, treated with manifest irony by the latter. The conclusion to this critical exercise regards the presence of certain similarities between the work of Joachim Wittstock and that of Thomas Mann, but also of a number of obvious differences, as Wittstock is much more of a parody writer, falling into the paradigm of literary postmodernism.

Keywords: Joachim Wittstock, Thomas Mann, novel, German literature in Romania, postmodernism


Ioana Em. Petrescu, L’Aveuglement d’Orphée, p. 100

AbstractThe Blinding of Orpheus – The essay (in the French translation of the author), consists in fact of the first pages of the book titled Eminescu şi mutaţiile poeziei româneşti (Eminescu and the mutations experienced by Romanian poetry, 1989) by Ioana Em. Petrescu (1941–1990), a Romanian literary theorist and professor of literature at Cluj University. The essay focuses on the manner in which Eminescu employs two elements present in the myths of Orpheus and of Homer: the relationship between poetry and death, and blindness as a form of self-reclusion for the artist (creator), the living dead returned from the inferno, granted immortality by the gods who refused to allow him to die. Artistic creation is seen as a sacrificial act, or indeed as an act of self-sacrifice, and the creator becomes the prisoner of his own vision and of the universe he devises. According to Eminescu, the eternal nature of art means an eternity of pain, of creative sacrifice.

Keywords: Mihai Eminescu, the myth of Orpheus, artistic creation as sacrifice, eternal nature of art


Francesco Guida, Romania e Italia dalla pace di Bucarest alla vigilia della Conferenza di pace (II), p. 108

Abstract Romania and Italy from the Peace of Bucharest to the Eve of the Peace Conference – The Italian government and the Italian people received the news about the separate peace concluded in Bucharest by Romania and the Central Powers with great disappointment. Both the government and some political organizations were working to organize a Romanian Legion in Italy, consisting of Austrian-Hungarian prisoners of Romanian nationality and of Romanian citizens self-exiled to Italy. The Legion was organized, but it did not reach the front before the armistice was signed. At the important Congress of Nationalities organized in April 1918 in Rome, the Romanian question was also presented and discussed by some Italian democratic representatives and by some Romanians that had chosen to live in Italy after the start of the war, people such as Simion Mândrescu. Opinions differed considerably when it came to the Legion’s organization and to the future Romanian borders. The majority of Italian observers and journalists were inclined to satisfy the major requests of the Romanian nationalists. Nevertheless, the revolutionary situation in Hungary drove some to prudence and to a more balanced opinion about the Romanian-Hungarian conflict. The Italian socialists manifested their enthusiasm for the Hungarian Left before and after the proclamation of the Councils Republic. All these topics are studied in the present essay on the basis of unpublished archival documents and of the Italian press (with special regard to La Voce dei Popoli, founded and edited by Umberto Zanotti-Bianco).

Keywords: Romania, Italy, Romanian Legion, end of WWI, Romanian borders


Andrei Marga, Joseph Ratzingers Europa, p. 133

AbstractThe Europe of Joseph Ratzinger – The author presents the considerations of the most qualified theologian and philosopher among the popes of the last two centuries on a tremendously important issue of late modernity: Europe itself. Joseph Ratzinger sees Europe not just as a geographic entity, but fundamentally as a “cultural and historical concept.” European identity is the product of a quadruple cultural-historical legacy: Greek, Christian, Latin, and of the modern era (the Enlightenment). The same Europe is currently experiencing a fracture, a polarity, as the European idea is threatened by the lure of a “purely economic arithmetic,” within a logic of domination and power likely to usher in a new era of “heathendom” (Heidentum), of a nihilism stemming from the currently dominant “second Enlightenment”—scientistic, relativistic, and atheistic. Joseph Ratzinger sees the possible end to this crisis (experienced by Europe, by the European idea, but also by the world at large) in a comprehensive understanding of reason, irreducible to instrumental reason, to scientism, in a reconciliation between the culture of the Enlightenment and Christian culture (the latter seen as a religion of Logos, of creative reason).

Keywords: Europe, Joseph Ratzinger, Enlightenment, Christianity, practical reason

Book Reviews, p.153

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