Acasă Articole RTR Genre Practice in Literary Historiography: A Romanian Case

Genre Practice in Literary Historiography: A Romanian Case


Abstract: Premised on the pervasiveness of generic categories within literary historiography, the present analysis attempts to delineate the generic idioms present within three histories of Romanian literature (authored by G. Călinescu, Nicolae Manolescu and Mihai Iovănel, respectively). Engaging a descriptively historical, rather than theoretical, approach to genre and its metadiscourses, the paper begins with an abridged version of the cardinal disputes of genre criticism. Subsequently, it comparatively addresses the presence of genre within the three volumes, aiming to locate them within recognizable frameworks of genericity and to establish the overlapping territories of their generic landscapes. Thus, it distinguishes G. Călinescu as a practitioner of post-Romantic genre theory, further showcasing how some of his central aestheticist positions survive in Nicolae Manolescu’s moderately formalist account of the issue. Against the backdrop of their more conservative, teleological historiographical projects, Mihai Iovănel’s 2021 Istoria Literaturii Române Contemporane 1990-2020 [The History of Contemporary Romanian Literature 1990-2020] displays a distinct methodological apparatus, predicated on the author’s rejection of the paradigmatic autonomy of the aesthetic. His employment of materialist theories of art is corelative to a conception of genre as a contingent, empirically determined instrument of analysis, which, far from being a rhetorically stable, abstract category, actively mediates the relationship between social and aesthetic history. This shift engenders substantial amendments to the physiognomy of literary history as genre, enabling it to encompass extra-literary (and noncanonical) phenomena.

Keywords: literary genres, literary history, Romanian literature, Mihai Iovănel.

Citation suggestion: Țăranu, Ana. “Genre Practice in Literary Historiography: A Romanian Case”. Transilvania, no. 7-8 (2021): 45-51.