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Entries Tagged as 'Romanian “Last train to Trieste”'

Conversation with Domnica Radulescu, Romanian-American Academic and Novelist about her first Novel – “Train to Trieste”

May 2nd, 2011 · 3 Comments · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE

Most of Romanian exiles who became acknowledged as international greats, Cioran, Anna de Noailles, Marta Bibescu, Horia Vintila wrote directly in the language of their adoptive country, yet the native Romanian officials together with a raft of native critics considered this practice disloyal. The young Elena Vacarescu who received a prestigious French Prize for her poems.she was reviled, back in Romania, even before 1900. She returned only to be exiled again, yet she desperately loved her country wherever she was. Two generations later, under communism, the official critic George Calinescu in his opus on the History of Romanian literature dismissed Anna de Noailles as “unpatriotic” for not writing in Romanian. Even as recently as two years ago a director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris refused a Romanian author financial help for the translation of his book simply because this was written in a foreign language therefore stating that it did not qualify as Romanian (sic). We know that this seems bizarre and nonsensensical. Your choice of writing in English is clear and I for one I think it a great help in putting `Romania on the map, very much as Panait Istrati or Anna de Noailles did it before the war and many other exiles since – what are your views on such criticism? Do you find it justified?

I frankly don’t care much about such criticism nor do I pay much attention to it. I think a writer can write in any language under the sun she/he chooses and throughout history writers wrote in different languages, not always their first native or maternal languages. I left Romania for the United States in order to start a new life, a new me, a new destiny, when I was quite young. It felt like the most natural thing in the world to write in the language of the country in which I have been living for a quarter of a century. Besides I adore writing in English more than in any other language.

On the occasion of the Award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Herta Muller much debate and controversy was stirred in the Romanian society about the Romanianness of a German ethnic born in Romania, who lived in Berlin and wrote in a foreign language… Some critics went even further as to suggest that one of the reasons why Romania may have been overlooked by the Nobel prize committee is the paucity of Romanian novels translated in languages of international circulation: do you find such suggestion justified?

I don’t know, again I don’t care much about such issues as someone’s “Romanianness” or “Frenchness,” and I think it’s silly of critics and the media to worry about things like that; the reason they do is because there is such a need to pin and label writers and place them in boxes of ethnic, national, linguistic affiliations. Maybe Romanians should do a better job at translating their own literature in other languages.

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