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History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness

Lucian Boia

Selected Bibliography

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The present work is based on a variety of historiographical, literary, and iconographic sources, and on numerous contributions concerning the various aspects of the problem; all of these are mentioned in the text and in the notes. I shall not list them again here, but shall limit myself to works of a more general character, mentioning only those which were effectively used in my argumentation.

To a large extent the theoretical premises are my own. They are synthesized in my forthcoming Pour une histoire de l’imaginaire.* Hayden White’s Metahistory (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973) has the great merit of demolishing the myth of historical objectivity. The connections between history and ideology are analyzed, with reference to the French case but with wider conceptual and methodological implications, by Christian Amalfi in Les Héros de l’Histoire de France. Recherche iconographique sur le panthéon scolaire de la troisième République (The heroes of French history: Iconographic research on the school pantheon of the Third Republic), Paris: Phot’œil, 1979; and De l’art et la manière d’accommoder les héros de l’histoire de France. Essai de mythologie nationale (On the art and manner of accommodating the heroes of French history: Essay in national mythology), Paris: Albin Michel, 1988.

A number of essential points of references for the issue of foundation myths and of origins in general can be found in Mircea Eliade’s Aspects du mythe (Aspects of myth), Paris: Gallimard, 1963. For traditional societies, an indispensable source is the volume prepared under the direction of Marcel Détienne: Tracés de fondation (Lines of foundation), Louvain-Paris: Peeters, 1990. A remarkable analysis of a set of modern foundation myths is provided by Elise Marienstras in Les Mythes fondateurs de la nation américaine (The foundation myths of the American nation), Paris: Maspero, 1994.

For the imaginary of the nation, an essential point of reference is Dominique Schnapper’s essay La communauté des citoyens. Sur l’idée moderne de nation (The community of citizens: On the modem idea of nation), Paris: Gallimard, 1994.

For political myths, which are inseparable from those of history, two fundamental works should be mentioned: André Reszler’s Mythes politiques modernes (Modern political myths), Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1981; and Raoul Girardet’s Mythes et Mythologies politiques (Political myths and mythologies), 1986. New ed. Paris: Seuil, 1990.

The three volumes published under my direction and under the aegis of the Center for the History of the Imaginary in the History Faculty of the University of Bucharest—Mituri istorice româneşti (Romanian historical myths). Bucharest: Editura Universitätii Bucureşti, 1995; and the two volumes of Miturile comunismului romäneşti (Myths of Romanian communism), Bucharest: Editura Universităţii Bucureşti, 1995-1997—represent stages in the preparation of the present book.

No historiographical reconstruction or analysis can do without the fundamental contributions of Alexandru Zub, outstanding for the quality of their documentation and for their balanced interpretations. Among these I mention: Mihail Kogălniceanu istoric (Mihail Kogălniceanu, historian), Iaşi: Editura Junimea, 1974; Vasile Pärvan: efigia cărturarului (Vasile Pârvan: The image of the scholar), Iaşi: Editura Junimea, 1974; Junimea: implicaţii istoriografice (Junimea: Historiographical implications), Iasi: Editura Junimea, 1976; A scrie şi a face istorie (Writing and making history), Iaşi: Editura Junimea, 1981; De la istoria critică la criticism (From the critical school to criticism). Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1985; Istorie şi istorici în România interbelică (History and historians in interwar Romania), Iasi: Editura Junimea, 1989.

For the still insufficiently researched communist period, the key work of reference remains Vlad Georgescu’s Politică şi istorie. Cazul comuniştilor români. 1944— 1977 (Politics and history: The case of the Romanian communists, 1944—1977), Edition prepared by Radu Popa. Bucharest: Humanitas, 1991. Katherine Verdery offers a pertinent analysis of the Romanian mythical pulsations of the same period in National Ideology under Socialism: Identity and Cultural Politics in Ceauşescu’s Romania, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

There is an attempt at a synthesis (up to 1944) in my own Evoluţia istoriografiei române (The evolution of Romanian historiography), Bucharest: Tipografia Universitätii Bucureti, 1976. I have taken a number of facts, ideas, characterizations from this work. However, my interpretations have evolved considerably in certain respects, and the differences between the two books are also due to the disruptive factors present in 1976: the awareness of a limit that could not be crossed (self-censorship) and actual censorship, then termed “press direction”, which imposed a long series of modifications to the initial text (including: the amplification of the chapter dealing with Marxist historiography, “dissociation” from Onciul’s theory of ad migration, and the elimination of C. Giurescu’s argument regarding the capitulations).

For the origins of the Dacian myth, see Ovidia Babu-Buznea’s Dacii in conştiinţa romanticilor noştri. Schiţă la o istorie a dacismului (The Dacians in the consciousness of our romantics: Sketch for a history of Dacianism), Bucharest: Editura Minerva, 1979—a demonstration which is itself to some extent “contaminated” by the ambient Dacianism of the time.

Sorin Antohi proposes an interesting exploration of various compartments of the social imaginary and of Romanian Utopian constructions of the last two centuries, in Civitas imaginalis, Bucharest: Editura Litera, 1994.

An essential work on Romanian ideology at the beginning of the modern period (including aspects relating to historical consciousness) is Vlad Georgescu’s Ideile politice şi iluminismul în Principatele române, 1750—1831 (Political ideas and enlightenment in the Romanian principalities, 1750-1831), Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1972, complemented by the documentary annexes Mémoires et projets de réforme dans les principautés roumaines (Memoranda and projects of reform in the Romanian principalities), 1769-1830, Bucharest, 1970, and 1831-1848, Bucharest, 1972.

Regarding the succession and interference of ideologies, seen especially from a literary perspective but inserted into a broader cultural framework, the minute researches of Zigu Omea are notable and ever useful. I limit myself to citing, from among his earlier contributions, Sămănătorismul (Sămănătorism), Bucharest: Editura Mnerva, 1970; and from his recent work, Anii treizeci. Extrema dreaptă românească (The 1930s: The Romanian extreme Right), Bucharest: Editura Fundaţiei Culturale Române, 1995.

For a clear and balanced synthetic presentation of the various ideologies and models of development, I refer the reader to the two volumes by Keith Hitchens, The Romanians, 1774-1866, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996; and Rumania 1866-1947, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

Finally, there is a survey—which I have made use of in the present work—of the models invoked in the process of modernizing Romanian society in my article “Les Roumains et les Autres. La quête des modèles dans la societé roumaine des xixème et xxème siècles” (The Romanians and the Others: The quest for models in the Romanian society of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries), in the Institut Français de Bucarest collection L’Etat des lieux en sciences sociales. Texts collected by Alexandru Duru and Norbert Dodille, Paris: L’Harmattan, 1993, 39-48.


* Boia, Lucian. Pour une histoire de l’imaginaire (For a history of the imaginary). Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1998. Trans.

© Central European University Press, 2001

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