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Title: Absurd Romania : revisiting Tristan Tzara and Eugène Ionesco
Author: Beiu Papanastasiou, Adela Nicoleta
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 9350
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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“Absurd Romania” revisits Romanian history and politics, and their intersection with the literary scene out of which both Tzara and Ionesco emerged, in order to better situate the diverse roots of European modernism and transnational avant-garde. I examine how their radical aesthetics developed in response to the specific political issues and cultural debates, which animated and inspired Tzara, Ionesco and their contemporaries. In the first chapter, I show that the writings of literary critic Titu Maiorescu and playwright I.L. Caragiale, two important exponents of a specifically Romanian ironic mode of cultural criticism, are highly relevant for an understanding of Tzara’s and Ionesco’s aesthetics. By revealing the points of contact between Ionesco’s cryptic forms and Caragiale’s seemingly more traditional dramaturgy, Chapter Two showcases the important aesthetic mutation at work in the theatre of the absurd. In Chapter Three, I document Tzara’s affiliation to a Romanian tradition of left-wing radicalism and engaged symbolism. The final chapter demonstrates that Ionesco’s theatre dramatizes a problematic Romanian modernity fraught with identity/cultural anxieties and political extremism. Ionesco’s aesthetics is both a continuation of the avant-garde project towards a critique of the ideology of language and a formal resolution of Romania’s identity qualms. Tzara and Ionesco’s forms, I argue, have deep roots in a Romanian tradition of social criticism which makes surprising use of irony in order to articulate conflicting visions of the nation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available