December 1989 and the concept of revolution in the prose of Romanian women writers

Keywords: contemporary Romanian prose; 1989 Revolution; women’s writing; conceptual history; cultural memory.

Abstract

Whenever the topic of revolution is at stake nowadays, Romanian people from different walks of life usually think of December 1989. The tragic events that led to the regime change have left a permanent mark on many people’s lives. Many contemporary writers and critics have written about it, but there is still a long way until the individual and the cultural trauma is healed. Since little has been published in English about the literary work of contemporary Romanian women writers, this paper aims to culturally translate the subject and to provide insights into their perspectives. From a theoretical point of view, it explores the perceptions of the concept of revolution seen either as a change of direction (a moment in time) or as a cyclical process (a flowing gyre). The selected corpus includes: a poetic novel, The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller; a diary, The Witnessing Wall by Florența Albu; a novel made of individual stories, One Sky Above Them by Ruxandra Cesereanu; a family chronicle, The Immigrant from Biggin Hill by Lăcrămioara Stoenescu; and a first-person retrospective novel, Fontana di Trevi by Gabriela Adameșteanu. Each of them tackles the idea of revolution in a distinct manner, which suggests the existence of a literary corpus by women writers that resonates in various ways with the original conflict and contributes significantly to its cultural memory.

Author Biography

Monica Manolachi, University of Bucharest

Monica Manolachi is a Lecturer of English and Spanish at the University of Bucharest. Her research interests are Caribbean literature and culture, cultural studies, and translation studies. Performative Identities in Contemporary Caribbean British Poetry (2017) is part of her work as a literary critic. “Multiethnic Resonances in Derek Walcott’s Poetry”, a chapter from Ethnic Resonances in Performance, Literature, and Identity (Routledge, 2019), is her most recent article. Her newest publication about Romanian literature is “To Write or Not to Write: Censorship in The Woman in the Photo by Tia Șerbănescu and A Censor’s Notebook by Liliana Corobca” (2018). She is also a poet, editor and literary translator. Antologie de poezie din Caraibe was awarded the prize for translation at the “Titel Constantinescu” Literary Festival in 2016. 

References

Adameșteanu, G. (2018). Fontana di Trevi. Bucharest: Polirom.

Albu, F. (1994). Zidul martor/ The Witnessing Wall. Bucharest: Cartea Românească.

Cătălui, I. (2016). Literatură și revoluție. Revoluția din Decembrie 1989 în romanul românesc./ Literature and Revolution. The 1989 Revolution in the Romanian Novel. Bucharest: IRRD.

Cereseanu, R. (2009). Decembrie ’89. Deconstrucția unei revoluții./ December 1989. The Deconstruction of a Revolution. Bucharest: Polirom.

-----. (2013). Un singur cer deasupra lor/ One Sky Above Them. Bucharest: Polirom.

Cordoș, S. (2019). Imaginea revoluției în literatura română/ The Image of Revolution in Romanian Literature. Revista Vatra, no. 6-7, p. 135-139.

Goldiș, A. (2015, August 20). Ficțiune vs. non-ficțiune. Reprezentări ale Revoluției din 1989 în literatură/ Fiction vs. Non-Fiction. Representations of the 1989 Revolution in Literature. Cultura, no. 30, p. 16-17.

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Manolescu, N. (2015, October 30). Revoluție și literatură/ Revolution and Literature. România literară, no. 45.

Mironescu, D. (2018, November 22-28). Iar adevărul nu ne face liberi/ And Truth Does Not Make Us Free. Dilema veche, no. 770. Retrieved April 12, 2020, from https://dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/carte/articol/iar-adevarul-nu-ne-face-liberi

Müller, H. (2016). The Fox Was Ever the Hunter (P. Boehm, Trans.). London: Granta Books. (Original work 1992) Retrieved April 12, 2020, from https://www.ebooks.com/en-ao/2545385/the-fox-was-ever-the-hunter/philip-boehm-herta-m-ller/

Neumann, V.; A. Heinen (Eds). (2013). Key Concepts of Romanian History: Alternative Approaches to Socio-Political Languages (C. D. Mihăilescu, Trans.). Budapest & New York: CEU Press. (Original work 2010)

Stoenescu, L. (2016). Imigranta din Biggin Hill/ The Immigrant from Biggin Hill. Bucharest: Tracus Arte.

Eddy, B. D. (2013). A Mutilated Fox Fur: Examining the Contexts of Herta Müller’s Imagery in Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger. In Brigid Haines and Lyn Marven (Eds.), Herta Müller (pp. 84-98). Oxford: OUP. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654642.001.0001

Published
2020-04-17
How to Cite
Manolachi, M. (2020). December 1989 and the concept of revolution in the prose of Romanian women writers. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 3(1), 14-33. https://doi.org/10.35824/sjrs.v3i1.20437