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Title: Literature, modernity, nation : the case of Romania, 1829-1890
Author: Drace-Francis, Alexander
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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The subject of this thesis is the development of a literary culture among the Romanians in the period 1829-1890; the effect of this development on the Romanians' drive towards social modernization and political independence; and the way in which the idea of literature (as both concept and concrete manifestation) and the idea of the Romanian nation shaped each other. I concentrate on developments in the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (which united in 1859, later to form the old Kingdom of Romania). I begin with an outline of general social and political change in the Principalities in the period to 1829, followed by an analysis of the image of the Romanians in European public opinion, with particular reference to the state of cultural institutions (literacy, literary activity, education, publishing, individual groups) and their evaluation for political purposes. I then go on to examine the same cultural institutions from internal sources, with particular reference to the significance accorded to cultural activity by contemporary actors. The last part of this section traces the origin and crystallization of certain key concepts in Romanian discourse: 'literature', 'nation', 'Europe'. The next two chapters follow the formal creation of public institutions of education, publishing and the press within the context of the Russian protectorate (1829-1848) and the period during and after which Romania gained her independence (1848-1890). In the course of this analysis I examine the way in which symbolic value was attached to these institutions. I then present three, much smaller, case studies of Romanian literature 'in the field'. I have chosen major aspects of the work of three major writers, who are respectively Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), Ion Luca Caragiale (1852-1912) and Titu Maiorescu (1840-1917). I thus seek to provide: i) An overview of the international and institutional contexts of Romanian social and cultural development in the period under discussion. ii) Some case studies of the relationship between the development of a national literature and the formation of a national identity. Romania constitutes an unusual model for anyone interested in European or colonial types of this process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available