Universitatea „Babeş-Bolyai” din Cluj-Napoca, Facultatea de Litere “Babeş-Bolyai” University of Cluj, Faculty of Letters
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8 / 2014
Legitimizing Mechanisms in Romanian Literary Histories
This paper explores Romanian literary histories in the light of the theoretical acknowledgements of “World Literature”. Its foremost representatives define the international literary space as a competition for universal acknowledgment among nations. The complex dynamic between culture and socio-economic power is responsible for the hierarchical distinction between (semi)peripheral and core literatures. The case of Romanian literature is significant for the East-European struggle to overcome the socio-political delay by manufacturing “great narratives”. The discourse of literary histories, seen, since Herder, as a privileged reflection of the nation’s soul, is contaminated by legitimizing strategies meant to re-locate the (semi)peripheral literatures on the map of world literature. This paper analyzes Nicolae Iorga’s first literary histories at the edge of the twentieth-century, the literary histories of Eugen Lovinescu, Istoria literaturii române contemporane (The History of the Romanian Contemporary Literature), Istoria literaturii române de la începuturi până în prezent, 1941 (The History of Romanian Literature from its Origins to the Present Times) by G. Călinescu emphasizing the compensation strategies meant to surpass the distance between the symbolic prestige of Romanian literature and core literatures.
Keywords: World Literature, literary histories, East European cultures, identity complex, compensatory mechanisms
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