„Nu e cazul să ne dăm ceea ce nu suntem”. Spre o înţelegere a comunismului prin Bandiţii de Vasile Ernu

“It’s not the case to pretend to be something we are not”. Towards an understanding of communism through The Bandits by Vasile Ernu





marginality, communism, identity, ambivalence, Vasile Ernu


“The Bandits”, Vasile Ernu’s second volume of his trilogy, the trilogy of marginal men, describes the world of thieves, of bandits, of criminality in a communist society, without the narrator ever becoming one of them. He is more of an adopted son, someone who has almost unmediated access to this world without suffering the repercussions of revealing that world’s secrets. This should not to be understood that he has total access to the bandits’ secrets, but that he is not viewed as a threat, even if he reveals more of this world than others. The narrator is accepted because he does his best to be himself and this is a value of utmost importance for this marginal group of people, others knowing and owning their identity, the type of narrative they tell about themselves. On the other hand, the narrator is himself a marginal man as well, considering the fact that he grew up  among religious people who were quite fundamentalists in their way of expressing this belief (but not in the way in which we picture today religious fundamentalism: bombing, Muslims, terror). Thus, this essay is meant as a study of one’s sense of identity when having to juggle with more identities, when having to evade (or even be subversive towards) the more pervasive, totalitarian regime in which these marginal men find themselves.

Author Biography

Iulia Stoichiţ, Transilvania University of Braşov

Iulia Stoichiț received her Bachelor’s Degree in Languages and Literature: Romanian and English and Master’s Degree in Cultural Innovation from the Faculty of Letters at the Transylvania University of Brașov. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in Philology at the Transylvania University of Brașov, with the thesis The writers from the ‘80s and the new literary Publizistik of the ‘90s. Ideas, projects, groups. She participated in the collaborative poetry volume Pink-Pong (Andrei Zbîrnea and Claus Ankersen, frACTalia, 2019) by translating it from Romanian into English and vice versa (the volume consists of 36 poems written by the two authors, which are translated into Romanian, English and Danish). Her main fields of scientific interest are Romanian Literature, Experimental Literature, Literary Translations, Sociology of Comparative Literature, and World Literature.


Becker, H.S. (1997). Outsiders. Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: The Free Press.

Borin, P. (2017). „De la Sectă la Bandă: «În comunism cetățeanul trebuia să lupte cu despotismul Statului-partid, în capitalism trebuie să luptăm cu despotismul Capitalului»”/ “From a Sect towards a Gang: ‘In Communism the Citizen Had to Fight the State-Party’s Despotism, in Capitalism We Have to Fight the Capital’s Despotism” [interviu cu Vasile Ernu realizat de Pavel Borin în colaborare indirectă cu Bogdan Rusu], http://www.platzforma.md/arhive/37126, accesat la data de 16 martie 2021.

Coșa, B. (2020). „Capitalismul distruge creștinismul într-un hal în care comuniștii nici n-au îndrăznit să viseze”/ “Capitalism destroys Christianity in a way in which communists never dreamt it possible” [Vasile Ernu în dialog cu Bogdan Coșa], https://blog.goethe.de/dlite/archives/812-Capitalismul-distruge-cretinismul-intr-un-hal-in-care-comunitii-nici-n-au-indrznit-s-viseze-Vasile-Ernu-in-dialog-cu-Bogdan-Coa.html; accesat la data de 11 martie 2021.

Dobrescu, C. (2017). „De la o lume-a-lumilor la alta: Vasile Ernu ca stalker intercultura”l/ “From a world-of-worlds to another: Vasile Ernu as an intercultural stalker”. În Observator cultural, nr. 865, https://www.observatorcultural.ro/articol/de-la-o-lume-lumilor-la-alta-vasile-ernu-ca-stalker-intercultural/; accesat la data de 11 martie 2021.

Dunne, R.J. (2005). “Marginality. A Conceptual Extension”. In R. M. Dennis (Ed.), Marginality, Power and Social Structure: Issues in Race, Class and Gender (pp. 11-27). San Diego: Elsevier.

Ernu, V. (2016). Bandiții/ The Bandits. Iași: Polirom.

Rapotan, N. (2020) „A scrie o carte nu e chiar un lucru romantic.”/ “To write a book is not all that romantic” [Nona Rapotan în dialog cu Vasile Ernu], http://bookhub.ro/a-scrie-o-carte-nu-e-chiar-un-lucru-romantic-nona-rapotan-in-dialog-cu-vasile-ernu/?fbclid=IwAR39ePGWeOb_ApS4GyfqPy5cX0uZgZHe33PAFkZe-rmQbKffQ2kI0Ue4E3I, accesat la data de 16 martie 2021.

Steward, S.M. (1990). Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos. A Social History of the Tattoo with Gangs, Sailors and Street-Corner Punks 1950-1965. New York: Harrington Park Press.

Țăranu, D. (2013). Toposul marginalității în romanul românesc. Dimensiuni ale marginalității/ The Topos of Marginality in the Romanian Novel. Dimensions of Marginality. București: Editura Muzeul Literaturii Române.

Țăranu, D. (2013). Poetici ale marginalității în romanul românesc (1900-1945)/ Poetics of marginality in the Romanian novel (1900-1945). Teză de doctorat. Brașov: Universitatea Transilvania din Brașov.




How to Cite

Stoichiţ, I. (2021). „Nu e cazul să ne dăm ceea ce nu suntem”. Spre o înţelegere a comunismului prin Bandiţii de Vasile Ernu: “It’s not the case to pretend to be something we are not”. Towards an understanding of communism through The Bandits by Vasile Ernu. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 4(1), 141–159. https://doi.org/10.35824/sjrs.v4i1.22421