Assistant Professor PhD Student: OANA STANCULESCU-ILIE Faculty of Letters University of Craiova firstname.lastname@example.org Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future. Albert CamusAlbert Camus
We all live in an epoch where it is easier to copy than to create, it is easier to borrow than to invent, it is easier to use words from other languages than translating them into your native language, it is easier to celebrate other peoples festal occasions than those of your own country and culture, in a word it is easier to be someone else than to be yourself. In an epoch of strong globalization we all have the same addiction to be all alike, to be as modern and trendy as possible, to share new sets of values, to long for being updated and upgraded to the newest range of things starting with clothes, music, communication devices etc. to even culture patterns. Nowadays it is old fashioned reading a book when one can easily leaf the summary on ones iphone or even better watch the 3D movie. But what does culture mean nowadays? When it is easier to give it a copy than to work creatively, easier to plagiarize than to be original, it is easier to improvise than to bring into existence? In a powerfully technological society where everything is only one click distance and each thing can be performed with a minimal effort, in a society where future is written every day by a new invention made to change, improve and facilitate our life, in a society where literature is synonymous with e-books, in a society where children discover first the virtual life and after that the real one, in such a society classic values are more difficult to be recognized and understood and almost impossible to be re-placed and reshaped according to the nowadays society and confer them the right place they should always belong to.
Given these conditions in what way can our Romanian classics of literature can prove (if necessary) their actuality? How could they still continue to be understood and discovered? Or are there elements that can assure them their priceless status within the Romanian literature? In a century where science fiction literature and movies seem to have taken control over the children and teenagers mind can the works of authors like Eminescu, Creanga, Slavici or Caragiale have any word to say? Do these scholars and their masterpieces still have a message to transmit or they can be easily and doubtless considered obsolete and fogies? Can Titu Maiorescu still be considered the father of the Romanian criticism or he can be called just one of the visionary Romanians and just that? How can we keep alive their memory and works and protect them against so many foreign cultural influences and borrowings? What are those elements of the above mentioned authors that confer them value, uniqueness, originality and shape to our Romanian identity anytime? Can we re-interpret and re-invent their works? Are the works of such creators modern or can they reveal any other modern meanings adequate to our nowadays society? Creangas emergence within the Romanian literature is such a surprising phenomenon as such of Eminescue emergence. With Eminescu the Romanian poetry makes all of a sudden a sprint of quality, subscribing to the universal values, with Ion Creanga prose has the same evolution (and with Caragiale the same things happen for theatre). After a great period of searching and trials, our Romanian literature starts indubitably as a conceived literature, with a number of creations from the sphere of the eternal art. (Piru, Al. Classic values, 1978)
But authors like Eminescu, Creanga, Caragiale, Slavici or Titu Maiorescu – when it comes to referring to philosophy – although are very sound names seem to lose their strength and value when in the same collocation with the nowadays society. Nevertheless we should never make the confusion between the two deceiving terms of classic and classical values of the Romanian literature. In avoiding these confusion we should start from their very linguistic definition: classic (kl s -k l) adj. 1. of the highest class, esp in art or literature 2. serving as a standard or model of its kind; definitive 3. adhering to an established set of rules or principles in the arts or sciences a classic proof 4. characterized by simplicity, balance, regularity, and purity of form; classical 5. of lasting interest or significance 6. continuously in fashion because of its simple and basic style a classic day dress n 1. an author, artist, or work of art of the highest excellence 2. a creation or work considered as definitive 3. (Individual Sports & Recreations / Horse Racing) Horse racing a. any of the five principal races for three-year-old horses in Britain, namely the One Thousand Guineas, Two Thousand Guineas, Derby, Oaks, and Saint Leger b. a race equivalent to any of these in other countries See also classicsclassics [from Latin classicus of the first rank, from classis division, rank, CLASS ] (According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/classic)http://www.thefreedictionary.com/classic
While classical : classical / ˈ klas ɪ k( ə )l/ adj. 1. (Historical Terms) of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient Greeks and Romans or their civilization, esp in the period of their ascendancy 2. (Historical Terms) designating, following, or influenced by the art or culture of ancient Greece or Rome classical architecture 3. (Music / Classical Music) Music a. of, relating to, or denoting any music or its period of composition marked by stability of form, intellectualism, and restraint Compare romantic romantic b. accepted as a standard the classical suite c. denoting serious art music in general Compare pop pop 4. (Music / Classical Music) Music of or relating to a style of music composed, esp. at Vienna, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This period is marked by the establishment, esp. by Haydn and Mozart, of sonata form 5. denoting or relating to a style in any of the arts characterized by emotional restraint and conservatism a classical style of painting See classicism classicism 6. well versed in the art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome 7. (Social Science / Education) (of an education) based on the humanities and the study of Latin and Greek 8. (Physics / General Physics) Physics a. not involving the quantum theory or the theory of relativity classical mechanics b. obeying the laws of Newtonian mechanics or 19th-century physics a classical gas
9. another word for classic  classic 10. (Philosophy / Logic) (Mathematics) (of a logical or mathematical system) according with the law of excluded middle, so that every statement is known to be either true or false even if it is not known which classicality, classicalness n classically adv ( According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/classical)http://www.thefreedictionary.com/classical In the light of these two definitions it is a lot easier to understand that our greatest authors (regardless of the literature field they created either in poetry, or prose or theatre) are classic and not classical. Because none of them was a true classical author (Eminescu was a Romantic, Creanga was a fantastic and realist writer, Caragiale was a naturalist, Slavici was a socialist and fine psychoanalyst of the human mind, foreseeing the emergence of the psycho-analytic novel) but they are all classic values of the Romanian literature. Their creation altogether with their works and life represent essential marks in the Romanian culture from yesterday or today. Or things have changed nowadays and it is really old fashioned reading any of the works of the Romanian classics? Instead of reading one of Eminescus poems or enjoying the comic of one of Caragiales plays is better to watch the advertisement of the latest gadget or iphone? In a society where every word and thing has a great value if it starts with i-or e-, in such times these self made men of our spirituality do they have the same importance as they used to have a century ago when the internet was merely a project and internet a mans dream? Can such authors reveal the same meanings or (even new ones) to the new generation always in a hurry for information and impatient to write its future? What are those elements that can ensure the immortality and timeless of the classic geniuses of the Romanian literature?
Each of the names mentioned above that draws our attention is a model to follow not only in what concerns his creation in the domain he best felt closest to his heart and ideas but also as a human personality. Many were, can and ought to be said about our classic Romanian literature authors but the essential should never be forgotten by any person that gets in contact with the Romanian culture and its examples of the highest culture, moreover if the person is one of our co-nationals.
Titu Maiorescu is by excellence the professor. Not only when associating his name with literature and criticism (the creator, or father of criticism, as he has many times been labelled) but also the philosophy professor, the aesthetics professor, the ethics professor, etc. But the critic, the attorney, the journalist, the state man, the academician, the essayist, the pedagogue, the writer seems to teach us the most important lesson: of a great, successful man that has succeeded in every field of activity. He seems to be the human proof that when there is a will there is a way in achieving performance in various activity areas with the highest results possible. Maiorescu is the Romanian embodiment of the dreams that reach ground; of the aspirations that touch reality and metamorphose in perennial ideas. As he once stated the most important thing is not the number of ideas gathered in ones mind but the link that connects them (Maiorescu, Critic articles, 1908). And the link he has made between various and infinite ideas was a prodigious one that still succeeds in astonishing our minds and stirring our complete admiration and gratitude for all his contribution to the Romanian culture.
Mihai Eminescu, probably the favourite neophyte of Maiorescu and his most discovery and talented human being that seems to belong more to the stars than to the Earth lived by human beings was a real genius. It was Eminescu, or the last greatest Romantic as he is often called that assured the immortality of the Romanian literature that lacked (and still does!) a great element: the advantage of an international language. Even in these conditions Eminescu still managed to give not only the Romanian literature (and especially poetry but not exclusively) but also the entire range of feelings and spirituality of the Romanian people a universal dimension and subscribe us on the great map of universality. Each perspective we analyze Eminescu seems to reveal a new and different creative personality; in poetry Eminescu was the poet of the perfect rhythm, of the perfect verses, of the philosophic ideas expressed poetically; in journalism he is the journalist that shows no mercy towards the problems his society faced, practices a deep sharp discourse of the reporter that denunciates and stigmatizes the so called culture and fake knowledge of some of his contemporaries, powerfully condemning and disapproving the mercantilism and unfair means of his society where stupidity, hypocrisy, and deceit were not only encouraged but promoted. As a scholar Eminescu teaches us that the most important thing in life is not the position you held (which is ephemeral and temporary) but the knowledge you have and how you use it for the benefit of your fellows. How many people are there in a single person? As many as the number of stars contained into a drop of dew under the clear sky of the night, Eminescu once said. If it were to analyze this statement in relation to him we could ask: how many people are there in Eminescus person? Many. Too many and especially too complex. Eminescu represents together with our folk culture an original phenomenon, (Constantin Noica, Introduction into the Eminescian miracle, 1992). Every time when we read or re-read, re-contextualize, re-analyze or just remember parts of Eminescus creation we re-find the miracle of a an absolute creation, we rediscover the perfection between idea and shape, between form and background, as Titu Maiorescu named it. Re-reading Eminescu we return as if in a sweet sleep at home, (Mircea Eliade). Eminescu has neither starting point nor ending. His essence is always the same unchanged as happens all the time for geniuses. Eminescu starts with the chaos of contrasts in order to end with that one of a total un-differentiation. Constantin Noica, Introduction into the Eminescian miracle, 1992).
Ioan Slavici, another name, another Romanian author, another synonym for literary success and pioneer in his field. Experiencing hard living times due to his ideas against Jewish people (most of his life was spent into prison) Slavici was the creator of the social and psychological novel. His works are the most vivid pages describing social realities and cases of people that were to be meet in his daily life of his times. The work of art is always an embodied illusion believed Slavici. His short stories, together with his most commented, analyzed and criticised novel, (Mara) and his memoir genre writings represent a great heritage that Slavici left to the Romanian culture. The illusions that we made are always more serene than reality, because being the results of our very need, they have to be fully adequate to it, while reality never is is one of Slavici thoughts noted in the pages of his memoir genre writings. Slavici is one of the writers whose contributions to the Romanian literature and culture cannot be estimated or appreciated, but stretching beyond our mental power of understanding, create or interpret.
Ion Creanga or the author who conferred the Romanian childhood its international and timeless dimension is probably the best example of the modest Romanian intellectual who has lived his life on the edge of material survival. He has never asked for more being always satisfied with his position and condition. Accepting life with its joys and pains, with its moments of success and its sufferance Ion Creanga remains the author of the Romanian folkloric geniuses. His fairytales and especially his Childhood memories wrote a very important (and completely white) page in the history of the Romanian literature. But Creangas talent and vocation for the culture creation can be seen from his works devoted to the didactic field, too.
Ion Luca Caragiale is the Romanian play writer who has a double intuition of a person: of the social class and of the soul one. His comedy of manners interlaces with the character comedy (Pompiliu Constantinescu). Caragiale is probably the most modern of all the Romanian literature classics: his characters, their features, their shortcomings and their main personality elements can still be seen and found in the people living nowadays. Caragiales seems to be more vivid than ever and we recognize his unique typology of characters in the bank clerk, or in the corrupt politician, the policeman that steals and betrays, the stupid spoiled high class pupil, or even the female politician that rules a world exclusively intended for man (lets not forget Aristotles statement, Man is a political animal) and the list can continue with various and numerous examples of characters imagined by Caragiale that can still easily be identified in the society of our days. Garabet Ibraileanu relevantly thought: Caragiale is the greatest creator of life of our entire literature, he is the author who has the unique gift to mock on everything and everyone, the creator of farces and comedy plays out of real tragedies (almost all of his plays could easily at a certain moment turn into a tragedy). Caragiale makes irony of life through his characters, persiflages the gross elements of his society and the individuals that form it, such as crass ignorance, unjustified and unlimited pride, stupidity, superficiality, lack of education, manners and good sense, greediness, etc.
The authors destiny who put his genius in life and his talent in work (Serban Cioculescu, The life of I.L. Caragiale, 1972) as well as the literary and creative trajectory of all of our literature classics can be best illustrated by one of Caragiales poems, The Star : With thin and cold hands, You gave it hot shiver: Centuries and centuries may pass, I will still remember it. I thought that it stopped In the way the running of the world, That everything remained still Like the body of a mummy. Once youve touched me And then vanished away; A star on the sky died out... Thoughts were in vain. Wherever now you glimmer At blue distances. You are not where you are, Lost within the stars. Here always held By my own imagination Youll be gone But Ill give you an immortality. This work was partially supported by the strategic grant POSDRU / 88 / 1.5 /S /49516, Project ID 49516 (2009), co-financed by the European Social Fund – Investing in People, within the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007 – 2013.