Vol. 3 No. 1 (2020): Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies
The third volume of Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies encompasses a wide range of subjects related to Romanian literature, theatre, film, translation studies, and culture. Academics from famed universities situated in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, and Romania, treat a variety of issues in English, Romanian, French and Spanish. In consequence, the collection of papers provided by this volume includes fourteen articles, a translation and two book reviews.
The Literature section is delved into by authors associated with The University of Bucharest, The “A. Philippide” Institute of Romanian Philology, Iași, “St. Kliment Ohridski” University of Sofia, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia and Lund University. In the present edition of the journal, there are introduced six articles meant to advance astute perceptions about cultural and linguistic values of particular literary works. Monica Manolachi approaches the concept of revolution in the prose of Romanian women writers, explored either as a change of direction (a moment in time) or as a cyclical process (a flowing gyre). Maricica Munteanu captures the conversation of the cenacle “Viața românească” from various angles. At first, as a phenomenon of loss, focusing on the voice of the writers and oral speech as signs of extreme fragility, further on, as the content of the “profitable” conversation (Glinoer, Laisney), and in the end, as the detachment from writing centring on the functions of laughter inside the literary community. The paper by Dinu Moscal examines the epithets “pale” / “pallid” in Eminescu’s lyrics by interpreting their metaphorical meaning, which belongs to the extra-existential world, differing from any concept of overcoming the antagonism being–non-being, highly represented in Eminescu’s poetry. The subject of Balkanism in Romanian contemporary poetry is investigated by Carmen Darabus. The highlighted features show a full sequence of themes and aesthetic formulae, from tragic to comic, often switching rapidly from one edge to the other, taking into account the old Thracian solemn part, then the proud Byzantium and its absorption in Constantinople – all rolling in a series of formal expressions reflected in themes and vocabulary. The article by Gabriela Chiciudean enters into the study of the novel “The Deadline” by Horia Liman. The history of an authentic world is depicted as governed by unwritten laws belonging to the morality of the common man, especially to the honour code, where the knapsack and the knife are held in high esteem; the atmosphere of the novel, its characters and their features, the difficult life and the unwritten laws are gradually unveiled through significant events. Eventually, this section is enclosed by Felix Nicolau’s paper on the impending need of an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary super-arch-canon. This necessity is due to problematic canonizations which are prevalent in the former communist countries wherein arts and culture in general may still function as propaganda weaponry at the hands of the sponsoring state.
The Theatre section serves as the background for advancing descriptive and analytical studies covering theatrical composition. In this regard, Nicoleta Popa Blanariu, an academic at “Vasile Alecsandri” University, Bacau, presents a paper dealing with a view on the way in which Matéi Visniec draws attention to how some of A. P. Chekhov’s plays also manifest a self-referential and metadramatic/ metadramaturgical component of implicit theatrical po(i)etics, beyond their psychological realism and questionable symbolism. Matéi Visniec exploits this in his own creation in close connection with the postmodern preference for intertextual and self-referential writing.
In Film studies, Carmen Dominte, from National University of Music Bucharest, aims to take into discussion the manner in which light and shadow may be employed as instruments of creating literary as well as visual metaphors. At the same time, it analyses the transposition of a metaphor generated by light and shadow from literature to cinematography and theatre, as in Liviu Rebreanu’s “The Forest of the Hanged”.
Translation studies is a segment that aims to present the in-depth examinations of three academics from The University of Groningen, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, and Leipzig University, respectively. Raluca Andreia Tanasescu opens the section with an article that submits to a close scrutiny the corpus of contemporary American and Canadian poetry translated into Romanian in stand-alone volumes, between 1990 and 2017. The paper argues that translators had a deciding impact on the selection of authors, as well as on the configuration of the overall translation network; translators were paramount in establishing positive relationships with U.S. and Canadian poetic approaches and in energizing the local literary scene. Further on, Andra Iulia Ursa provides an investigation on how Mircea Ivănescu’s Romanian translation deals with collocations, especially with those that typically represent Joyce’s authorial style, conceptualized in the ninth chapter of “Ulysses”. The article is committed to a further exposition of the similarities and distinctions between the source language text and the target language translation. Finally, Diana V. Burlacu provides a glimpse on a series of short Romanian translations based on the German version of Adam Fletcher’s book entitled “How to be German in 50 new steps/ Wie man Deutscher wird. In 50 neuen Schritten”. Such translations strive to retain all the meanings, be they literal or expressive, or evoked, or those generated by idioms, fixed set-phrases and non-equivalences in the original text, as much as possible freed from any traces of “translationese” and suitable for any authentic contemporary sample of Romanian language.
Marina Cristiana Rotaru, affiliated with The Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, focuses on an investigation devoted to Cultural studies. From a socio-semiotic perspective, it is presented the manner in which the political regimes installed after the forced abdication of King Mihai I (on 30 December 1947) used the Throne Hall in the former royal palace in Bucharest to meet their own needs, and how this relates to Jean Baudrillard’s concept of consumerism, characterized by the rule of sign value as a status symbol. In addition, Jan Blommaert’s and Barbara Johnstone’s taxonomies advance the argument that the Throne Hall is not a mere space, but a place, its function having been perverted by both ideological manipulation and aggressive consumerism. Sorin Ciutacu, from West University of Timisoara, proposes an intellectual history study which evaluates the family resemblances of auctoritas of three polymaths: Francis Bacon, Jan Baptist Van Helmont and Demetrius Cantemir along the cultural corridors of knowledge, arguing that Demetrius Cantemir was an able disseminator of philosophy in South Eastern Europe and a creative synthetic spirit bridging the Divan ideas of Western and Eastern minds caught up in the busy exchange of ideas of the Republic of Letters. The final paper of this section, conceptualized by Gorun Manolescu from The Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence “Mihai Drăgănescu”, concentrates on some of the problems started by Husserl’s phenomenology. Romanian Academy reveals how the Romanian scholar Mihai Drăgănescu proposed an ontological model with strong phenomenological character in which information and material principles are at the same level, aiming to integrate Husserl’s Phenomenology, with inherent problems identified.
In the Translations section, Catalin Pavel, representing Ovidius University of Constanța aims to offer Anglophone researchers a selection of translated quotes from Mihai Eminescu’s non-literary oeuvre, relevant to the philosophy of history of the most complex Romanian author of the nineteenth century. It should thus become possible to reconsider Eminescu’s position within the concert of European philosophers of history, aiding scholars in establishing more precisely what Eminescu’s views on history owe to Schopenhauer’s metaphysics and what to the proper philosophy of history he could find in Hegel, also helping to bring to the fore the complex interplay between Hegelian theodicy and Kantian teleology in Eminescu’s historical thought.
The Book reviews section provides two retrospective examinations. Mona Arhire, from Transilvania University of Brasov, sheds light on a recently published book authored by Cătălina Iliescu Gheorghiu, a study that falls under the scope of Descriptive Translation Studies implying the polysystemic model posited by Lambert and Van Gorp for the comparative analysis of drama; the corpus under scrutiny is made up of fragments extracted from the play A treia țeapă (The Third Stake) by Marin Sorescu and the corresponding utterances from two of its translations into English. In turn, Ioana Alexandrescu, an academic at The Autonomous University of Barcelona examines the Spanish version of the novel The Summer when my Mother had Green Eyes by Moldovan writer Tatiana Țîbuleac, which was published in 2019 by Madrid-based publishing house Impedimenta and has reached its fifth edition in less than a year. It tells about the design of this novel, which alternates short chapters and micro chapters consisting of a sole phrase, as well as sarcastic and poetic tonalities, and reconstructs the narrator's relationship with his dying mother during the last summer they spend together in a French village close to the ocean.
The articles assembled in this collection represent an innovative coverage of Romanian studies and are dedicated to facilitating the exchange of knowledge between theoreticians and practitioners within the field. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies is published in collaboration with “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania and Romanian Language Institute, Bucharest, and welcomes contributions from scholars all over the world.
Advisory board for this issue
The cover photo was taken by Florian-Rareș Tileagă on April 15th, 2009 and represents the road to Afteia Monastery, Alba County, Romania.