Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca
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Abstract: National theatre was at the forefront of nation-building efforts in Europe at the end of the 19th century. New nations instrumentalized traditional motifs such as legends, myths of origin, and fairytales for their alleged part in shaping “national character.” In this paper I analyze how Lucian Blaga, an iconic playwright and philosopher of romantic-nationalist inspiration, used folklore in Zamolxis, Pagan Mystery (1921) in Romania to mythify the national self-image. Employing a deconstructionist, postcolonial reading of the play, I analyze the use of myth and its role in the construction of the national imaginary. I also situate this process in the geopolitical context of the late 19th and early 20th century Eastern Europe, a place in which several newly created nation-states instrumentalized culture to compete with one another for the legitimization of both territorial claims and political supremacy.
Keywords: nationalism, Romania, theatre, cultural identity, Lucian Blaga, postcolonial.
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