University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Department of English
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Literary Historiography as Event: Mihai Iovănel’s History of Contemporary Romanian Literature: 1990-2020
Abstract: In his essay, Moraru contends that Mihai Iovănel’s 2021 History of Contemporary Romanian Literature: 1990-2020 is a breakthrough in Romanian literary historiography and criticism overall. According to Moraru, the History revisits radically the terms of the Romantic contract that, in Romania and elsewhere, has typically been underwriting modern criticism. A form of critical realism and an exemplar of postmillennial Romanian literary and cultural studies, Iovănel’s book is, in Moraru’s view, not only provocative but also effectively transformative. To gauge the scope and nature of the changes advocated and enacted in the History, this article examines how Iovănel has put together what he calls the “system” of contemporary Romanian literature. Thus, Moraru is less concerned with which writers are included in the book and which are left out, seeking, instead, answers to a series of questions concerning primarily Iovănel’s cultural-materialist and transnational studies-informed methodology. Along the same theoretical, historical, and political lines, Moraru discusses the project’s makeup as well as the strength of the case the History makes for the need to have another look at a range of pre- and post-1990 literary movements, directions, styles, and authors, principally at postmodernism and its competition and successors in the twenty-first century.
Keywords: critical contract; critical realism; aesthetics; event; form; generation; ideology; literary historiography; literary realism; materialism; Marxism; paradigm shift; post-Cold War; postmillennial; postmodernism; post-postmodernism; system; transnationalism
Citation suggestion: Moraru, Christian. “Literary Historiography as Event: Mihai Iovănel’s History of Contemporary Romanian Literature: 1990-2020”. Transilvania, no. 7-8 (2021): 1-13.