POLITICAL FICTION AND THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY IN THE INTERWAR ROMANIAN LITERATURE (POLIQUID)

Project Code: PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-0142

Project Acronym: POLIQUID

Contract no.: 21 ⁄ 2018

Principal Investigator: Ph.D. Ștefan Firică

Abstract:

Within the rich landscape of the interwar period, political fiction has always been pushed to the margins by the major literary critics and historians. The interest in the genre was rekindled with the rise of cultural studies, eager to find in its hybridity – as a mix of ideology and art – a form suitable to address the complexity of the modern social texture. This project aims to delve into the phenomenon of Romanian political fiction of the 1920s-1930s, with the tools of literary and cultural studies, advocating for an integrative approach, in line with the latest developments in the field of research. On the one hand, given the cosmopolitan nature of the genre, tending to melt together ideological and literary patterns with a wave-like diffusion in various cultures, political fiction calls for being strongly linked to the system of world literature. Novels by Mircea Eliade, Mihail Sebastian, Gherasim Luca a.s.o. can be fruitfully interpreted only if (re-)connected to a pan-European network of doctrinal intertextual references. A comparative perspective, opening the borders of national literary history to the context of European literary histories, is thus needed. On the other, the present approach tries to shed light on the intimate relationship between political fiction and identity. Ultimately, modern political narratives result in the unsettling question about the QUID (i.e. ”the essence”) of the individual or the community. The issues of ”Who am I?” or ”Who are we?” lay at the core of the heroes’ quests. Interwar political literature, still strongly echoing in today’s public and private discourses, can help us look into the long-lived mechanisms of (un)making our identity / identities (national, ethnic, religious, social etc.). Ultimately, in times when diversity has to face new challenges, this project is intended as a contribution to the critical reassessment of our cultural heritage.

 

Principal Investigator:

Ștefan Firică has a Ph.D. from the University of Bucharest, with the thesis ”Authenticity”. Theories and Applications in the Interwar Romanian Literature (2014). He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters, Department of Literary Studies. He was a postdoctoral researcher (2014-2015), with the project Strategies of (De-)Constructing Identities in the Interwar Romanian Prose, as a beneficiary of the European Project SOP HRD /159/1.5/S/136077 ”Romanian Culture and European Cultural Models: Research, Synchronization, Sustainability”, Romanian Academy, Philology – Literature. He also worked as a Research Assistant (2011-2014) in the PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0913 Project MARIS – Migration and Reshaping Identities in Romanian Travel Writings (1960-2010), University of Bucharest, “Tudor Vianu” Centre of Interdisciplinary Research in European and Romanian Cultural Studies (CISCER), project manager: Liviu Papadima. He authored a book, Strategii ale (de)construcției identitare în proza românească interbelică, and dozens of articles in scientific reviews, collective volumes, and cultural magazines.

 

Project Development

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