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Did Romania Move South?

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Representations of Geocultural Identity

image of Journal of World Literature

This essay tackles Romania’s geocultural position and its consequences for localizing Romanian literature in South-Eastern rather than Eastern Europe by comparing critically the implicit ideological dimension of three types of imaginary spatial narratives: the historian Nicolae Iorga’s (1871–1940), the folklorist and comparatist D. Caracostea’s (1879–1964), and the literary critic Mircea Muthu’s (b. 1944). I chose these three perspectives because they illustrate the way different disciplines looked at Romanian culture’s geographical and symbolical location on the European map during the 20th century. These three contributed to the perception of Romanian culture as part of a South-Eastern cultural heritage. Originating in these ideological representations, there is a parallel tradition in Romanian literature that configures also a Southern identity. More than just a side note to the Eastern European framework still dominant in literary studies, to rethink the location of Romanian literature as a South-Eastern European one means to imagine an alternative paradigm that has different political consequences for configuring a more complex geocultural identity.

Affiliations: 1: University of Bucharest


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