Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
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Ideological Critique in the Era of Leftist Administrative Language: A New Left History of Contemporary Romanian Literature
Abstract: As Teodora Dumitru (2016) has convincingly argued in the case of Romanian literary critic Eugen Lovinescu, the evaluation of literature he proposed along his History of Contemporary Romanian Literature (1926-1929) was guided by a solid liberal and bourgeois drive. Claiming the autonomy of the aesthetics, Lovinescu actually built an urban bourgeois literary canon in his effort to systematize the local literary material. Almost 100 years later, Mihai Iovănel’s History of Contemporary Romanian Literature: 1990-2020 (2021) proceeds to a similar effort, but through the lens of New Left critical theory. Both Lovinescu and Iovănel use what I call the administrative language of their time: Lovinescu uses the urban bourgeois synchronism in order to counter the populists’ movements at the time, while Iovănel uses New Left critique in order to counter the vocabulary of the right-wing populists in contemporary Romania. Those are both the mainstream intelligentsia vocabularies of their time: the liberal discourse was the pillar of developmentalism, while the socialist contemporary vocabulary is more and more put to work in order to secure welfare capitalism. The question that arises is how does Iovănel’s history fulfill its goal of recovering the margins, creating a more democratic canon and imposing intersectionality as a center pillar of literary history, while trying to depart from local provincialism and, thus, gentrifying his research time after time.
Keywords: Mihai Iovănel, History of Romanian Literature, Marxist Theory, Literary Studies, Contemporary Literature.
Citation suggestion: Baghiu, Ștefan. “Critica ideologică în epoca limbajului administrativ de stânga: o istorie New Left a literaturii române contemporane”. Transilvania, no. 7-8 (2021): 80-89.