Institutul de Lingvistică și Istorie Literară „Sextil Pușcariu” Cluj-Napoca
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1 / 2018
Ioana Em. Petrescu: Life with Form and Life without Form
Departing from Ioana Em. Petrescu’s recent edition of American letters, which includes texts written between 1981 and 1983 during a Fulbright grant’s period spent in Los Angeles, I aim to analyze what sort of difficulties in grasping the Western way of life are encountered by a Romanian intellectual coming from a totalitarian country. I could feel that Ioana Em. Petrescu’s distinction between the American “form of life” and the Romanians’ “regime of life” has the potential of unfolding of totalitarian life from a viewpoint centered on life styles. This sort of relationship helps us differentiate not only between two particular forms of living, one that is American, the other, Romanian. It also proves the impossibility of totalitarianism, of political regimes that forbid every attempt at regulating/ ritualizing lives and eventually at following a stylistic of life. The phrase “regime of life” and its possible meanings indicate in fact that life under Communism means living outside forms.
Keywords: totalitarianism, form of life, regime of life, the society of the spectacle, Ioana Em. Petrescu.