What remains of a literature written and published for nearly half a century under a dictatorial regime? Will it turn out to be just a “ ‘parenthesis’ in history, meaningless in the future and unintelligible to anyone who did not live it”? So asks a major Romanian comparatist who chose exile in 1973, Matei Călinescu, quoting literary critic Alexandru George’s open letter to another preeminent figure of Romanian exile, Norman Manea. “What will last, indeed, of so many works written precisely to last, to bypass the misery and shame of an immediate nightmarish history?” (247). And how will this totalitarian legacy affect the present-day literature and its circulation and reception on the international market today?Călinescu concludes his 1991 article by placing his bet on “the young generation of Romanians, less affected by the Ceaușescu legacy than their parents,” a generation that is “spontaneously inclined toward Europe, democracy and pluralism,” and includes “the young writers who call themselves ‘postmodern.’ ” (248). Quoting The Levant, a major epic in verse by Mircea Cărtărescu, the leading figure of this generation, Călinescu trusts that “It is on such trends—which might well coalesce into a major new style equaling in importance the phenomenon of magical realism
Journal of World Literature – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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