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Când totul e pierdut, ai grijă să cazi cu stil. Istoria lui Iovănel: note, completări, provocări


When Everything is Lost, Be Careful to Fall in Style. Iovănel’s History: Notes, Additions, Challenges

Abstract: I will analyse the correspondences between two critical ambitions cultivated a century apart, those of the liberal ideological critic Lovinescu and of a young literary critic who reads Romanian literature through a minimally progressive grid, sensible to liberal nuances and with leftist interpretative undertones (considering the evolution of class representation and of the “social”) in discussing recent literature, a point of view having a devastating effect on many writers (in light of the fact that the regime change has occasioned an upsurge in racism, sexism, and all other imaginable phobias, which have nonetheless been cultivated in the last stage of nationalist propaganda of the 70s-80s as well). I will pursue the evolution of several writers against the backdrop of the ideological mainstream, as well as the manner in which Iovănel interprets them: Mircea Cărtărescu, Adrian Schiop, and Lavinia Braniște. I will also attempt to establish the limitations of Iovănel’s approach, residing in the conflict between established literary criticism and a literary production which has been completely underprivileged within the free market, enjoying weak institutional support, and whose sales and popularity are rapidly diminishing. The literary critic, still part of a somewhat stable institutional network, seems to be confined in a depressingly marginal literary underbrush, whose growth was sparked by the cataclysm of anti-communist “cultural revolution” and savage capitalism. One of the greatest constructs of communist modernity, mass culture, which was to transform into one of the greatest post-communist utopias, commercial culture, was of great importance for the present debate.

Keywords: Literary History, Romanian Literature, Mihai Iovănel, ideology, contemporary literature

Citation suggestion: Rogozanu, Costi. “Când totul e pierdut, ai grijă să cazi cu stil. Istoria lui Iovănel: note, completări, provocări”. Transilvania, no. 7-8 (2021): 67-79.