Category: Articles in English

Romania unveiled (1. Hora Staccato)

I often think of my dear friends scattered to the four corners of the earth.  When one is uprooted, the feeling of belonging to a place, to a “sight”, is so easily “parasitized” by melancholy and sterilization of ideas.

My dear Romanians scattered all over the world: there, abroad, you have the chance to discover the lifeblood of our nation without getting contaminated by the miseries that build up the lives of those who live here.

Together we will open up pages of cultural history that want as ultimate purpose to make us proud of being Romanians. This language might seem a wooden language for we have got used to set up our self-esteem not through creative aptitudes, but almost exclusively through the destructive, ironic-quizzically ones. I am not referring to that pride that does come out of flabbergast and historical arrogance but the one that comes out of  creative sources with which the good Lord blessed those who live in the place we now call Romania. Only a sense of responsible living can replace the deficiencies of a history that didn’t caress us much.

As an introduction, I give you an alternative to balcanic “manele”, which suffocate Romanian phonic sphere. The synthesis and processing skills of Jascha Heifetz superimposed to the academic vitality and Wallachian melancholy of Dinicu Grigoras, fiddler with highly musical studies, gave birth to this musical masterpiece with universal resonance.

Enjoy the Romanian Hora Staccato!

Mode ale credinţei. Surogate seculare pentru credinţa religioasă pierdută (Synopsis)

Zilele acestea citesc Theodore Ziolkowski,  Modes of Faith. Secular Surrogates for Lost Religious Belief (Chicago University Press, 2007).

Acum vă ofer doar o scurtă prezentare, ca o invitaţie la lectură. Detaliile, puţin mai târziu.

Modes of Faith - Secular surrogates of lost religious belief


In the decades surrounding World War I, religious belief receded in the face of radical new ideas such as Marxism, modern science, Nietzschean philosophy, and critical theology. Modes of Faith addresses both this decline of religious belief and the new modes of secular faith that took religion’s place in the minds of many writers and poets.

Theodore Ziolkowski here examines the motives for this embrace of the secular, locating new modes of faith in art, escapist travel, socialism, politicized myth, and utopian visions. James Joyce, he reveals, turned to art as an escape while Hermann Hesse made a pilgrimage to India in search of enlightenment. Other writers, such as Roger Martin du Gard and Thomas Mann, sought temporary solace in communism or myth. And H. G. Wells, Ziolkowski argues, took refuge in utopian dreams projected in another dimension altogether.

Rooted in innovative and careful comparative reading of the work of writers from France, England, Germany, Italy, and Russia, Modes of Faith is a critical masterpiece by a distinguished literary scholar that offers an abundance of insight to anyone interested in the human compulsion to believe in forces that transcend the individual.

Table of Contents


Part One: The Decline of Faith

1. Introduction
2. The Melancholy, Long, Withdrawing Roar
3. Theologians of the Profane

Part Two: New Modes of Faith

4. The Religion of Art
5. Pilgrimages to India
6. The God That Failed
7. The Hunger for Myth
8. The Longing for Utopia

Part Three: Conclusion
9. Renewals of Spirituality



Theodore Ziolkowski is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at Princeton University. Among his many books are Fictional Transfigurations of Jesus, The Mirror of Justice, and Ovid and the Moderns.

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