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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Writing about Romania - part II novels

It’s important to recognise the various genres which can be used to try to penetrate the soul of a country. Travelogues may be the easiest but there are also
  • novels;
  • histories;
  • social and cultural histories (including jokes);
  • memoirs and diaries;
which I will cover in this series of posts. The other important genres are
to which I will try to do justice in 2014.

Novellists can presumably give fuller vent to their imagination than other categories of writers and 

Miklos Banffy’s Writing on the wall – The Transylvanian Trilogy gave us a wonderful picture of the privileged slice of Transylvanians living in the first couple of decades of the 20th century  .
Banffy’s trilogy was originally published in Hungarian in the 1930s and has taken all of 75 years to become appreciated in the English-speaking world as the literary masterpiece it is  - the three books are
Gregor von Rezzori is one of the most neglected of writers from this area which has been variously part of Austro-Hungary, Romania and now Ukraine.
An Ermine in Czernopol (1958) ostensibly centred on the curious tragicomic fate of an Austrian officer of supreme ineffectuality gathers a host of unlikely characters and their unlikelier stories by way of engaging the reader in a kaleidoscopic experience of a city where nothing is as it appears-a city of discordant voices, of wild ugliness and sometimes heartbreaking disappointment. Rezzori "summons the disorderly and unpredictable energies of a town where everything in the world is seemingly mixed up together, a multicultural society that existed long before the idea of multiculturalism". This book is effectivelt part of a trilogy - with the other two books appearing in the "memoir" section which follows.

Olivia Manning’s Balkan trilogy is rather now overshadowed by Banffy’s magnum opus. The first part of Manning’s trilogy focuses on life in Bucharest at the commencement of the Second World War   and was produced in Britain in the early 1960s

Novels by Romanian authors focusing on Romania which are worthy of mention include -
If you want to know more about Romanian writers - then there's a good list of 100 contemporary writers here (although the most famous - Carterescu - is missing!!); and an excellent book Romanian writers on writing (2011) edited by Norman Manea. The link will give you the list of another 100 more classic writers.  

Foreign novelists’ works using Bucharest as a location include -
update; I’ve since come across this ten-page bibliography on writing about....Transylvania 

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