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Empowering The Self: The Authority of Identity in Matei Călinescu’s „Un Fel De Jurnal”


Empowering The Self: The Authority of Identity in Matei Călinescu’s Un Fel De Jurnal

“Un fel de jurnal”, written by Matei Călinescu, takes the reader on a journey of insecurities, social instability and inaccuracy, as well as a confluence of fear and metaphysical despair. Having fled Communist Romania in a fraudulent manner, Călinescu begins chronicling the perks of exile and the anxiety of a future as bleak as his existential being, had he continued to stay in his native country. The political discourse of the Communist regime has persecuted the author through its instances of oppression and censorship, which Călinescu has fought to overwrite by escaping to the United States of America. In making this particular bold move, Călinescu manages to counteract the regime and its system of control by way of self-empowerment. However, the foundation of appurtenance remains undefined, which leaves the author in a state of unrooted limbo, with a package of limited initiatives. Nonetheless, the attempt of writing a personal journal adds to the effect of the newly discovered (actually, recovered) force of individual faculty, thus showcasing the autonomy that rupture provides. The main goal of this paper is to counterbalance the power-to-person relations of the two political spaces, Communist Romania and the US, and the author’s affective response to the cultural dis/embodiment through the use of a narrative of selfhood. In terms of methodological inputs, I shall form my analysis stemming from the perspective of affect theory, exile and autobiographical studies.

Keywords: empowerment, exile, identity, autonomy, affect


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