Building a lieu de memoire in Romanian Consciousness: From Sorin Ilieşiu's Documentary "Queen Marie-The Last Romantic, the First Modern Woman" to the Golden Room in Pelişor Castle


  • Marina Cristiana Rotaru Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest



In 2018 Romania will celebrate the centenary of the Union of 1918, or the Great Union, when all Romanian provinces united into one state: Great Romania, a national ideal which Romanians strove for and achieved on the battlefield and which the Trianon Treaty of 1920 confirmed. For such a time as this hundredth anniversary, it is only natural to call to mind people who made this ideal come true. Queen Marie is rightly considered one of the artisans of the Great Union, being regarded at the time and afterwards as “the living consciousness of Romanian unity, the symbol of confidence in final victory” (Boia 2001: 208). This article aims to investigate the manner in which the queen’s memory is kept alive, and draws on two distinct attempts to portray the queen: Sorin Ilieşiu’s documentary Queen Marie – The Last Romantic, the First Modern Woman and the Golden Room in Pelişor Castle, Queen Marie’s official residence in Sinaia, the royal resort in the Carpathians. These two attempts illustrate how present-day Romanian society tries to regain parts of a common memory that was purposefully obliterated by the communist regime, and strives to rediscover and remap places of their shared memory. My analysis of Ilieşiu’s portrayal of the queen is circumscribed to the field of social semiotics, mainly to the concepts of “distance”, “angle” and “gaze” which Theo van Leeuwen uses in the visual representation of social actors. In my investigation of memory remapping, I draw on Pierre Nora’s concept “lieu de mémoire” and aim to prove that the Golden Room in Pelişor Castle, a place that reflects the personality of the chatelaine and where the queen symbolically reconnected with her origins, has turned into a realm where Romanians have access to a part of their memory which communism did its best to extirpate.   

Author Biography

Marina Cristiana Rotaru, Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest

Marina Cristiana Rotaru, Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, The Department of Foreign Languages and Communication Marina-Cristiana Rotaru is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages and Communication of the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest where she teaches ESP and Translation Studies. Her doctoral thesis is entitled “British and Romanian Constitutional Monarchies and Their Representations in the Royal Discourse of Queen Elizabeth II and King Mihai I”. She received her doctoral degree in 2013 with the distinction Summa cum laude at Université de Bretagne-Sud, Lorient, France. Her main research areas include Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) (with a particular interest for royal discourse), British culture and civilization, history, the age of constitutional monarchy in Europe, English teaching methodology and ESP (Legal English and Business English). She has published numerous research articles on British culture and civilization and on discourse analysis (especially royal discourse), such as: “The Image of King Mihai in the PostRevolutionary Romanian Society: the Survival of Communist Ideology” (Word and Text: A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics, vol. II, no. 1/June 2012); “Tony Blair and His Political Style: From Paying Tribute to the Princess of Wales to Reforming the House of Lords” (The Scientific Bulletin of the Technical University of Civil Engineering, Bucharest, Foreign Languages and Communication Series, vol. VII, no. 2/2014); “An Awareness Raising Approach to the Language of Queen Elizabeth II” in Zoia Manolescu, Mălina Gurgu, Elena Maftei-Golopenţia (coord.), “In the Beginning Was the Word. On the Linguistic Matter of Which the World Is Built” (Ars Docendi, 2015); “Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II – Royal Representations in Public Imagination through Time” in Time and Culture/ Temps et Culture (Selected Papers Presented at the International Society for Cultural History Conference, 2015 – Bucharest University Press, 2016), “Towards a Discourse of Abdication: A Linguistic Perspective on the Text of the Act of Abdication of King Michael I of Romania” in Alexandru Muraru, Andrei Muraru (eds.), Regele, comuniştii şi Coroana (Iaşi: Polirom, 2018); “The Importance of Visual Literacy: An Analysis of Potential Obstacles for Romanian Students in the Completion of IELTS Academic Writing Task 1” in Lucia-Mihaela Grosu-Rădulescu (ed.), Foreign Language Teaching in Romanian Higher Education – Teaching Methods, Learning Outcomes (SPRINGER, due for publication 19 August 2018).  


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How to Cite

Rotaru, M. C. (2018). Building a lieu de memoire in Romanian Consciousness: From Sorin Ilieşiu’s Documentary "Queen Marie-The Last Romantic, the First Modern Woman" to the Golden Room in Pelişor Castle. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 1(1), 106–131.