Homeland in Romanian children’s literature written in the Diaspora


  • Cristina Sărăcuț Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca, Romania




childhood, ideology , idealised image , patriotic feelings , nationalism


Romanian children’s literature has always been situated at the crossways of cultural ideologies. The Romanian texts for children lack innocence due to the implicit level of cultural, social, and historical knowledge they mirror at different epochs. In this paper I investigate how literary texts for children written in Romanian communities living abroad present the idea of homeland. I examine literary works written by three contemporary Romanian writers living in Romanian communities in Serbia: Ana Niculina Ursuleanu, Radu Flora and Slavco Almăjan. My selection includes books published in between 1970 and 2010: Cu Soarele-n Creștet [With the sun on the head], (2006); Soare, Bună Dimineața! [Sun, good morning!], (1998); Cărările Nilului [The paths of the Nile], (2008); Piticii au Uitat să Crească [The dwarfs forgot to grow up], (1987); Pianul cu Păienjeni [The piano with spiders], (1991); Când Vine Primăvara [When spring comes], (1970). In my analysis, I focus upon the role of settings in building the image of an eternal Romanian homeland that transcends the national borders. Thus, I discuss three main types of settings that shape the fiction imagined by the proposed authors, related to the following environments: landscape, family, and school. My analysis considers the theory of landscape proposed by Mitchell (2002, p. 5) in Landscape and Power. According to it, landscape implies the interaction between the human, the natural, the self and the other. For each novel, I analyse the role of settings within the literary texts. I explore Radu Flora’s novel in connection with two elements of setting, landscape and school, respectively. In Ana Niculina Ursulescu’s books I look at the bond between family and landscape, while in Slavco Almăjan’s literary work I highlight the importance of landscape in building the image of childhood. These functions are classified according to a sophisticated range, from the purpose of clarifying the conflict or its function as a symbol (in When Spring Comes by Radu Flora), to the task of mood intensifier attributed to setting (in Balul Strugurilor [The party of grapes] by Slavco Almăjan).

My conclusions validate the idea that literary texts constantly build and convey an image of the Romanian identity and a sense of belonging to the Romanian homeland as marked by borders. I focus on nostalgia and irony as the main feelings the authors transmit about the image of homeland. On the one hand, the image of homeland in the literary works written by these three writers implies nostalgia, a feeling conveyed through an adult’s perspective of childhood. On the other hand, sometimes, as it happens in the case of the novel When Spring Comes, the narrator adopts a humorous perspective on history and human interactions among characters. As a final remark, I show that the selection of these three settings (landscape, family and school) creates the image of homeland in connection with a nationalist ideology. More precisely, children’s books reinforce the idea of unity between the two Romanian speaking communities (in Romania and Vojvodina) that share common cultural values. The representation of homeland reiterates a history-oriented ideology and legitimates the assimilation of nation to childhood.

Author Biography

Cristina Sărăcuț, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca, Romania

Cristina Sărăcuț teaches courses in Romanian and children’s literature, Romanian language and didactics of Romanian literature and language in the Departament of Humanistic and Social Sciences (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca). She is the author of two books (Ekphrasis- miniatures on the mantle of earth and Ekphrasis- From the Critical Discourse to Literary Experiment) and several articles on Romanian children’s literature (The Extraordinary Library of Sonia Larian, Iulia Hasdeu and the Beginnings of Children’s Literature, Finnish Children’s Literature in Romanian Translations). She has also written a workbook for learning Romanian language as a foreign language.


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How to Cite

Sărăcuț, C. (2024). Homeland in Romanian children’s literature written in the Diaspora. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 7(2), 83–94. https://doi.org/10.35824/sjrs.v7i2.25874