Facebook










· mai multe evenimente
Facebook

Şcoala ardeleană de critică şi istorie literară

Balcanismul literar românesc. Panoramic sud-est european – Confluențe culturale
Balcanismul literar românesc. Panoramic sud-est european – Confluențe culturale

Etichete:




Autor(i):




  • An apariție: 2017
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-606-8770-99-4
  • Format: 16x23cm
  • Pagini: 796

Preț: 70.00 Lei

Adaugă în coș:         
       

Ediție revăzută și adăugită

 

Unitatea în diversitate a sud-estului european poate fi circumscrisă de câteva constante ordonate pe cel puţin patru paliere într-o dispunere circulară şi coextensivă: constantele antropo-geografice, comunitatea de destin (verificabilă socio-economic, politic şi cultural), structura mentalităţilor oriental-occidentale şi palierul eminamente reflexiv, cuprinzând o posibilă meditaţie despre statutul lui între al sud-esticului, precum  şi  echilibrul  instabil, constitutiv acestui areal.
Balcanismul (delimitabil de Balcanitate) este, mai întâi, o realitate politică şi etnică fragmentată, generând conflicte armate şi sentimentul/conştiinţa provizoratului istoricizat; este, apoi, din unghiul mentalului colectiv, o dramă întoarsă adesea în derizoriu – parte integrantă dintr-o filosofie a supravieţuirii; există, în sfârşit, balcanismul ca răscumpărare prin artă şi cu funcţie compensativă, provocată dar şi întreţinută de regimurile autocratice şi de spaţiile închise, adiabatice. (Mircea Muthu)

* * *

Profesor universitar dr. emerit la Facultatea de Litere a Universităţii „Babeş-Bolyai”, Mircea Muthu s-a născut la 1 ianuarie 1944, în Iernut, județul Mureş. Este estetician, comparatist, balcanolog, critic şi istoric literar, membru al Uniunii Scriitorilor din România; debutul absolut în revista „Tribuna” (1967). Volume: Orientări critice, 1972; Literatura română şi spiritul sud-est european, 1976; La marginea geometriei, 1979; Paul Zarifopol între fragment şi construcţie, 1982; Permanenţe literare româneşti în perspectivă comparată, 1986; Alchimia mileniului, 1989 şi 2008; Liviu Rebreanu sau paradoxul organicului, 1993 şi 1998; Esenţe (Poeme), 1994; Cântecul lui Leonardo, 1995; Călcâiul lui Delacroix, 1996; Făt-Frumos şi „vremea uitată” – o nouă interpretare a basmului „Tinereţe fără bătrâneţe şi viaţă fără de moarte” (în colaborare cu Maria Muthu), 1998 şi 2008; Dinspre Sud-Est, 1999 (versiune franceză, 2001); Lucian Blaga – dimensiuni răsăritene, 2000 şi 2002; Balcanismul literar românesc, 3 vol., 2002 şi 2008 / Premiul pentru critică şi istorie literară al Uniunii Scriitorilor din România /; Balcanologie, vol. I, 2002; Grafii (Poeme), 2004; Balcanologie, vol. II, 2004; Studii de estetică românească, 2005 şi 2014 (ediţie revăzută şi adăugită); Balcanologie, vol. III, 2008; Ochiul lui Osiris. Dialoguri, 2010; Europa de Sud-Est în memoria culturală românească. Bibliografie, 2011; Panoramic sud-est european. Confluenţe culturale, 2012; Trepte (Poeme), 2013; Repere culturale transilvane, vol. I, 2013; Estetica între mediere şi sinteză, 2016. Coautor la dicţionare de literatură română şi la numeroase volume colective. Ediţii îngrijite: Anton Pann (1973), Liviu Rebreanu (1976), Henri Jacquier (1991), Radu Stanca (1997), Eugeniu Sperantia (1997), Al. Dima (2002). Distincţii: Ordinul Naţional Pentru merit în grad de cavaler (2000); Ordre des Palmes Academiques (2001) pentru servicii aduse culturii franceze. Premiul „George Călinescu” pentru întreaga activitate decernat de Muzeul Național al Literaturii Române, Bucureşti, 2016.

The Romanian Literary Balkanism. A Southeastern European Panorama – Cultural Confluences

 

A revised and expanded edition

 

The unity in diversity of Southeast Europe can be summed-up by a few constants arranged on at least four levels, in a circular and coextensive layout: the anthropogeographic constants, the community of common destiny (which is socio-economically, politically and culturally verifiable), the structure of the Oriental-Occidental mindset and the purely reflective level which holds a possible meditation on the Southeasterner’s ‘in-between’ status, as well as on the intrinsic unstable equilibrium of this area.
Balkanism (not the same as Balkanity) is primarily a fragmented ethnical and political reality, generating armed conflicts and the feeling/consciousness of the provisional historical; secondly, from the stand point of the collective mindset, a drama converted oftentimes to derisory – as an intrinsic part of a survival philosophy; and finally, there is also a form of balkanism as redemption through art that has a compensatory function, provoked as well as maintained by the autocratic regimes and the closed, adiabatic spaces. (Mircea Muthu)   

* * *

Neither the term nor the sphere of ​​what is called the Balkanism of Romanian literature have found, so far, a theoretical basis, so that instead of being consolidated by a comprehensive study, the notion entered the collective consciousness, representing thus more of an ethical component and less of an aesthetic one. This is what determined if not the devaluation of the concept, at least the distortion of its essence. Also, the Balkanic way of "feeling", the "spirit" common to the peninsular peoples – otherwise quite different in terms of their psychological makeup and cultural‑economic orientation ‑ were transferred to the field of art.
The moral ”coordinates” are equally put in a direct relationship, determining in a way through their picturesque, through their ornamentation, the lack of depth of facts which literature, for example, converts into a polychrome show. This situation is, for that matter, the result of a prejudice, as it also derives from confusion. It is as if the Balkanism referred, directly or allusively, to nothing else but to the only Turkish‑Phanariot time, characterized by a complete reversal of the scale of values. The lie, hypocrisy, refined cruelty, the moral rottenness of the phanariotism abusively extend to the whole cultural perimeter, the aforementioned ”coordinates” extending, it seems, until the modern era.

Approached like this, Balkanism is rightly a mere epithet and, therefore explains the pejorative sense of the term, contributing to the same deformation. Moreover, if one refers to the only Phanariot time, it has not been as bleak as one may say, at least viewed from a cultural point of view and from the point of view of the maturation of the idea of national unity. We know that the Greeks considered the Principalities as the place where, they believed, we could revive the Byzantine Empire if not even the old Hellas. The dialectics of times prevented Phoenix to rise from its own ashes, although the idea lasted much longer, until well after 1821. We may also ask ourselves whether there really is a Balkanic way of ”feeling”. An affirmative answer, which is not supported by arguments, would be too vague and would lend itself to speculations of all kinds. The issue is more complex and ‑ as the flourishing of the paremiologic literature or the character of Master Manole, this Faust of the European East testify ‑ it cannot be reduced to a dominant caricatural ethics. But if we enlarge the sphere of Balkanism, we arrive at the very content of the concept. Because to clarify a possible aesthetic concept, or define it through excerpts of artistic practice means first of all locating the concept temporally and spatially as a first step. If the temporal location does not pose apparently any difficulties, the spatial location is related to the forms in which spirituality manifests somehow similarly in this world. We speak about the Balkanism as part of the Romanian literature until the late nineteenth century and, in modern times, ‑ especially during the past decades of the last century – about persisting reflections.

So the issue is to find these thin gold veins which, if braided, give rise to a genuine national school of artistic style. We have to discover these specific elements through which ‑ starting, for example, from the diversity and richness of a language where Slavic, Turkish and Phanariot words are recognizable as such, reunited in a glittering mosaic, on the trunk of a Mediterranean grace of Latin essence – the Romanian nerve cell integrates into universality. An amazing richness of myths, epic patterns and symbols define a territory heavily tried by history. The coexistence of the most striking extremes and their fusion ‑ sometimes on a Thracian background ‑ constitute, perhaps, the veritable stylistic matrix of this peninsular culture. A taste for abstraction (culminating in the art of Byzantine origin) is associated with the fascination for the real in the semi‑anthropomorphic image of the myth ‑ in Neagoe Basarab, Dimitrie Cantemir, Lucian Blaga, Vasile Voiculescu etc. ‑ or in the epico‑lyrical storyline of the ballad of Master Manole, an example of perfect symbiosis of magical symbolism and religious symbolism.

Furthermore, the complementary relationship between the idea of ​​Oriental "fixism" and the sharp criticism of certain ‑ by now outdated ‑ realities (like the one of the act of justice and the one of its aesthetical redemption etc.) demonstrates the permanence of the structural dualism that we encounter in this phase that we call the "tragic balkanity" (illustrated by Neagoe Basarab and partly by the work of Dimitrie Cantemir), a dualism that needs to be researched in depth. In this sense, the Byzantine hieratism "undermined" by an idiosynchratic polychromy in Adrian Maniu, the structure of the tragic in Kyra Kyralina, the relationship between dream and reality in the stories of I. L. Caragiale or in Emanoil Bucuţa's filigree phrase are interesting examples thereof.

As for the extra‑aesthetical determination of the concept, it is true that the actual geographical unity of the Balkans is questionable. Nicolae Iorga challenged it resolutely by replacing it with ethnic unity, of substrate, externalized by the common "historical memories". "A people raised us to the highest culture: the Roman people; a state kept us in a certain political organization: the Byzantine state; a dominant race (the Turks) has given us, with great certainty, also a lot of suffering."

The Thracian background, joint with a turbulent history, linked to "the greatness and decadence" of the Ottoman Empire, have brought together into a giant conglomerate the intellectual strength of the Greeks, the political and military supremacy of the Turks, the clairvoyance and the native equilibrium of the Romanians, the "Occidentalism" of the Serbs, the strong‑mindedness of the Bulgarians and the instinct of national self‑preservation of the Albanians.

There certainly is an ideal of common axiology, traceable in the frequent lexical loanwords (thus, Kristian Sandfeld writes a Balkan Linguistics), even though one cannot speak, as is natural, of linguistic unity. It has been observed that the Balkanic peoples "appear to researchers, in all areas, as a set of intersecting circles with common arcs", affirms D. Papacostea.

By virtue of these arguments, it is obvious that we do not accept the term Balkanism solely in its attribute of epithet, just as we do not accept it in its pejorative sense. In the mentioned context, it becomes also clear that this phenomenon is not the total sum of oriental influences; so it is also wrong to define it as a "decline of the oriental spirit". Seen through the lens of history, Balkanism means neither artifice nor simple decoration or "suburban language", but a drama with multiple tragic accents. This dimension of Balkanism as drama (with its parodic reverse), has been our concern especially in the pages dedicated to the study of the historical gradation of the phenomenon until today. Its aesthetic facet prevails because, as a concept‑image, Balkanism refers to multiple markers, making it difficult or even impossible to delimit it in a definition. The concept, having a diffuse existence in literary or artistic fiction is, ultimately, a hybrid structure: it is located at the confluence (as suggested by its name) of a specific literary geography with elements pertaining to the morphology of art, but also to comparative psychology, and especially to the philosophy of culture.

In such a broad context, the central topic of the first part is, of course, much limited. Our point of view is that of the history of literature. As specified in the introduction, the historical stages of this concept are only the first part of a critical synthesis designed also for methodological reasons in three parts. Since Balkanism has got no aesthetic status like romanticism, classicism or other literary movements, we have proposed one ‑ a simple sketch for now ‑ based, as is natural, on the "praxis" of research in order to finally reach a theoretical conclusion. Methodologically speaking, it is the principle of horizontality ‑ governed by the chronological criterion, by the idea of ​​succession and by the possibility of communication between historical cycles ‑ which is the basis of this volume succeeded, in this order, by the Literary Permanences in the European South‑East including ‑ in cross section [this time, according to the principle of verticality] ‑ the study of a few actual aesthetic series with concrete references to the literature of the peoples of the Balkans and the third part, entitled Balkanity and Literary Balkanism, which draws the conclusions from the other two parts.

The starting point of The historical stages of the concept is the premise that, in the analysis "ab interioribus" of Balkanism and in its possible evolution, one cannot ignore the "balkanity" implied by the religious, philosophical and "artistic" literature of Neagoe Basarab and Dimitrie Cantemir.

From the exhortation of Neagoe Basarab, passing through the equilibrium of the encyclopedic spirit of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir, one attains the sui generis Baroque of the triptych Anton Pann ‑ Nicolae Filimon ‑ Ion Ghica, which asserts literary Balkanism, and later, the "reflections" which, in the twentieth century ‑ through the voice of Ion Barbu, Matei Caragiale, Panait Istrati and others ‑ rehabilitate and reinforce the phenomenon in an aesthetic sense.

The first chapter, The Byzantium from beyond the grave, examines the concept of Balkanism in the work Învăţăturile lui Neagoe Basarab (The Teachings of Neagoe Basarab), which also offers the dimension of a specific "forma mentis" in terms of dramatic posterity of the Byzantine Empire. Written synthesis of the Byzantine‑Slavic period, the exhortation of Neagoe Basarab is a brilliant testimony of the capacity for conservation and transformation of the Byzantine spirit. It highlights the first Balkanism of the Romanian literature, a structural Balkanism, really, encompassing thereby a community of vital interest for the peninsular Christianity confronted with the Ottoman danger, and an aesthetic sensibility, also common to all, manifested in the preference for the same forms of art, especially religious arts originating from a wider, eastern Byzantine area. The realities of the ancient Byzantium, with the symbolism of Christ Pantocrator or with its extraordinary paremiologic backgrounds inscribed in the popular books and going back to Eastern sources, continued to cement, after the disaster of 1453, the conglomerate of the Balkans. If the Teachings foreshadow leniences typical for the universe of Anton Pann, it is also there that we encounter the tragic shiver transformed, much later, into the twilight of  Matei Caragiale's "kings" or into the "melancholia" of Eugen Barbu's Prince (Principele). In a broader sense, the Byzantine dualism, which characterized for a millennium, all the while having normal oscillation amplitudes, the culture and the spirit of the Eastern empire, is a constitutive element of the Teachings of Neagoe Basarab, too, and it is characterized by the coexistence of the sacred and the profane, of the aulic level and the popular level, of hieratism and dynamism on the artistic level etc. We analyze, subsequently, the relationship between the anthropocentrism and caesaropapism of the lingering king, a relation filtered with Christian humanism, the realism of the king's political behavior being added to the mix ‑ in fact the starting point of this ideological testament. The study emphasizes the feeling of tragic history found also in the chroniclers. The hesychastic line coexists therefore with the "praxis" of a time that corresponds to the dualism in the spirit of Neagoe Basarab himself, who also joins thus the great emperors of Byzantium. The hieratic solemnity of the prince, the guidance distributed lavishly in the tone of an oracle, the preponderance of religious paragraphs inviting to hesychastic asceticism ‑ all these locate the Teachings on an aulic level, but an obsolete one. However, Neagoe Basarab's profound humanity, the rational and practical character of some of his statements justify their existence aesthetically also from the perspective of folk art.

For example, the motif of the unicorn, the meanings of which we will comment, approaches ‑ for the first time in the high Romanian literature ‑ the semi‑anthropomorphic image of the myth – which has been a constant in mythology and throughout Eastern and Balkan folklore. The first conclusion we reach is that the dominant ideology in the Teachings is not a rigid structure, but it is rather close to the rhetoric of the great Christian sermons; it subscribes to the enchanted world of popular "novels", concretizing thus the essential dualism that characterizes the culture of the millenary Byzantium, a dualism that integrates the open mentality of this work into the climate of the medieval spirit of the East. On the other hand, we show the manner in which Neagoe Basarab summarizes the essential aspirations of the Balkan peoples oppressed by the Crescent, the Teachings depicting the directions of a collective program, a desideratum that the Slavic and Greek versions justify in turn. The common political ideal, expressed in the fight against the Ottomans by diplomatic or violent means, the dominant orthodox ideology, the determining dualism that defines Byzantine culture, the affiliation of the Teachings to the literary genre of the Eastern exhortation, the combined Serbian‑Bulgarian influences ‑ all these advocate the profound "balkanity" of this period. The Teachings concentrate in their substance "the three remnants of Byzantium: the Siege of Byzantium, the Serbian dynasty and royalty, the Vlach monarchy" (Nicolae Iorga). The memory of a ghostly Byzantium and the awareness of this state of things coalesce in a logical tension, emotionally released through the national and tragic feeling of history, overlaid on the obsessive motif of vanitas vanitatum, of wide medieval circulation. The latter replaces, as a generalization, the "melancholia" traceable in its pure, crystalline form in the only literary "concentrates" of the twentieth century. The study of this first phase in the history of the concept ends with a few considerations on the relationship – in the Teachings between the Byzantine‑Slavic area on one hand and the western area on the other, but also on the posterity of the exhortation of Neagoe Basarab.

The next chapter, Between Balkanity and Balkanism, analyses the work of Dimitrie Cantemir. A Renaissance figure, who accomplished ‑ in terms of the mentality ‑ a genuine synthesis between East and West, Dimitrie Cantemir reconciles, by his encyclopedic activity, the anti‑Ottoman Eastern with Western humanism in a vast, extensive opus. The approach emphasizes the importance of the eastern Byzantine element, an essential component of Dimitrie Cantemir's personality, offering also certain indications regarding the "balkanity" of the seventeenth century which coexisted before the beginnings of the Romanian literary Balkanism: living in a space of geographical and historical interference, Dimitrie Cantemir establishes a connection between worlds with diverging mental attitudes. Hieratic notes coming from the oriental Middle Ages heated by the fervor of the patriotic scholar in terms announcing the emergence of a new epoch of culture. Beyond the duality of the cultural and scientific education of the sources of the literary oeuvre or the sartorial portrait commented by Nicolae Iorga in the same bipolar spirit, Dimitrie Cantemir is committed to a median path leading him to a secular position, distinct from the humanistic orientation, even though Greek‑speaking Orthodoxy represented for these thinkers the only possible cultural solution for both Eastern and Southeast Europe. By appropriating the philosophy of Korydalleus ‑ a fundamental indicator of the "balkanity" of Dimitrie Cantemir’s work ‑ the  Moldavian Prince, aiming to prove our Latinity (cf. Descriptio Moldaviae and The Chronicle), denies the Slavic‑byzantine tradition in the ideologue’s voivodal practice. Byzantine politics ‑ a politics of reconciliation for survival ‑ remains a necessary practice in the Danubian principalities. In this sense, The Hieroglyphic History is, after the literary monument of Neagoe Basarab, the second theoretical work on State governance in Romanian literature.

Subsequently, taking the study of the concept of light as a starting point – a concept truly present in the philosophical and religious thinking of the European South‑East ‑ we analyze, especially in the Divan, the double synthesis which characterizes the thinking of the prince. The first synthesis, typical of the Renaissance, reconciles elements of pagan antiquity (or "heretical" elements) with Christian elements. The second synthesis, yet another expression of Dimitrie Cantemir’s median position, is achieved through the balancing factor of reason in the dispute between the Wise and the World, the Heart and the Body, a dispute which takes place on a medieval background. This is the explanation of the fact that the vanitas vanitatum motif is thwarted by the rational carpe diem motif. On the other hand, the meditation on inconstancy, which emanates oriental fatalism, leads to the image of the world‑wheel, naturally resulting in the thesis of cyclical development, especially applied to the study of history. The conclusion we reach is that cyclical development is a fundamental leitmotif that organizes Dimitrie Cantemir’s thinking. In this sense, Incrementa atque Decrementa Aulae is at the confluence of two combined conceptions, "the monarchs’ state", undoubtedly of Western influence, subscribing to the closed circle, of eastern style and dominant. A significant place in the economy of the study is granted to the commentary of the notes of The Ottoman History, which have both scientific and literary value. These numerous, amplified notes, comprise ‑ intermittently ‑ the central terms of Dimitrie Cantemir’s theory (on the cyclical development) which extend across the vast monograph of the Empire, crystallized in kaleidoscopic manner in details on the intimate life of the sultans, the description of the complicated ceremonial of the Sublime Porte, the story of certain illustrious families, ethnographical descriptions etc. We believe that the mindful observation of the Islamic world has substantially contributed to Dimitrie Cantemir’s formulation of his theory on history. It is not by chance that our historian emphasizes, in relation to Montesquieu, the inexorability of cyclic evolution, although the idea of causality, prefigured by the Antiques and applied by Cantacuzino to the Western spirit, may not have been foreign to the Prince (just like to the entire Southeast), who lists some of the causes of Crescent’s "decadence". The mixture of the two conceptions is equivalent to one of the ideological and cultural evidences of the rule of Tourkokratia in the early eighteenth century. The relation between hieratic and dynamic, visible in the Teachings of Neagoe Basarab, which extend in turn an ancient Byzantine dualism, can be found in Dimitrie Cantemir, in correspondence with the bipolar ideology and, respectively, with the essential components of his theory on history. The historian’s relation in the notes of The Ottoman History slides, on the other hand, toward novelesque fiction, allowing it to sustain itself and marking thus the passage from the deeply tragic "balkanity" of the period of ottoman domination, to the literary‑artistic balkanism that crystallizes attitudes drawn from the practice of survival. Dimitrie Cantemir predicts, by his own means, the aesthetical redemption of these turbulent and morally labile times. From this point of view, The Hieroglyphic History ‑ the allegorical novel to which we devote a detailed analysis ‑ draws a Balkan typology, found later again in the Letters of Ion Ghica. Composed on the model of the oriental tale, The Hieroglyphic History, of a sui‑generis baroque, is written with the unconfessed and perhaps rather subconscious intention, to save aesthetically this outdated world whose morals persist; two centuries later, Ion Barbu and Matei Caragiale will have the same discourse in the interpretation of a space where the sublime and decadence merge into unique shapes. Luxuriant imagination, the genius of plot, the cult of gratuitous talk, oratorical exercises, a disordered rhythm or shady morality ‑ all these elements that have contributed later to the pejorative meaning of Balkanism ‑ we find them all there, without being able to ignore the melancholy that permeates the work and confers another – hardly intended – sense of the concept.

Clinging to the inhibitive ‑ yet so necessary to the preservation of the national Romanian essence in times of oppression – orthodoxism, Dimitrie Cantemir announces the clear victory of secular thinking. The triumph, the liberation of Anton Pann from the tutelage of religious ideology, all these are carefully prepared by the Dimitrie Cantemir moment. "The New Byzantine Renaissance" in Nicolae Iorga’s assertion culminates in the phanariot period that becomes in 1821 aware of the last chimera of the Greek Phoenix. This is a time when "the drinking song", enamoured and devitalized, gives way to the caustic satire signed by Nicolae Filimon, or to the rough wild outburst of laughter of Anton Pann. The chapter entitled The Consecration of Balkanism is devoted to the analysis of this period. A study of the collective mentality of Anton Pann’s age, seen from the perspective of developing new aesthetical series, alongside the ones that continue after the age of the Teachings or the age of Dimitrie Cantemir, this chapter deals with the Balkanism that appears as a product of the urbanism in progress. We aim to realize therein a first draft of the concept, starting from the truth that this aesthetic phenomenon (called Balkanism) cannot be considered a literary‑artistic movement like Romanticism, that is to say a unitary movement with a defined aesthetical status. It is actually a typological category incorporated in the cultural peninsular space and in contrast to the territories at the north of the Danube – apart from the contamination of both Byzantium and Ottoman Crescent that is motivated historically – territories that have the advantage of a ”detachment”, of a possible theoretical existence of the concept. The fact that this result is precisely one of objectification, of distancing, can be seen clearly in that it is only in the last century that we speak of the existence (it is true, in a pejorative sense) of a literary artistic Balkanism, that we keep mistaking (which happens also significantly due to a lack of distance in time) for the "Balkan mentality" with an Ottoman‑Phanariot resonance. The finely nuanced discussion of Heliade Rădulescu’s contradictory ideology, as it appears in the theory of the "balance of antitheses", leads to the conclusion that Balkanism has to be seen as a huge historical and aesthetical drama, without neglecting its parodical reverse. Both as artistic fact and historical mentality, it is defined as a subtle and at times shocking combination of contrasting conditions. The ensued picturesque is now ontologically justified as having a functional role and a status of immanence and as representing less the product of a technique, as it was the case in the last century. Drama and parody of a turbulent age, of the coexistence of two opposite directions – regressive and progressive (synchronic with the assertion of Romanian Romanticism) – a sense that distinguishes Anton Pann ‑ Nicolae Filimon ‑ Ion Ghica on one side of an Eclisiarhul, of Râmniceanu or of Beldiman on the other side, the literary Balkanism being considered as an aesthetical redemption (or surreality) is formed of interfering attitudes, one marked by neo‑Anacreontic mannerism, by a refined and ceremonial art, the other by the proliferation of folk art, quasi folkloric, the latter constituting a genuine revenge of the secular spirit on the religious spirit. Related to the above mentioned problems, the pursuit – seen from the perspective of Southeastern moralism – of the competition, but also of the complementarity between official art and popular (folk) art on one hand, and between sacred and profane on the other hand, shapes the general definition of the concept.

Invoking equally and, in virtue of the cited synchronism, artistic movements of an aesthetical status (such as romanticism, classicism etc), the spontaneous realism of popular books or the somewhat solemn moralism of religious literature and of the "mirrors of the princes", as well as the baroque structure of Phanariot society, Balkanism ‑ as an urban product ‑ is the expression of always more refined formal constructions due to a growing awareness of the crisis of Romanian feudal society, a process that involves critical detachment and, obviously, a polemic attitude at the highest level. In this sense, from Anton Pann to Ion Ghica and passing through Nicolae Filimon, the critical spirit has got an ascending trajectory, directly proportional  (as to the progressive meaning of the concept) to the other line of orientation, rather contemporary and modern, represented by the 1848 writers.

Thanks to Anton Pann (1797–1854), an itinerant book‑vendor of genius, the paremiological pomp is organized in the History of the Word (Povestea vorbii), around the structure of the ”oriental novel with drawers” used also by Dimitrie Cantemir, and is also found in Vepos by Sadoveanu, in the narrative of Panait Istrati or in the novel of Emanoil Bucuţa. Signifying the revenge of secular art on religious art, of the popular level on the aulic level, Anton Pann is, just like Heliade Rădulescu, a balkanic "homo duplex". Nastratin’s mocking spirit, a component of the peninsular spirit, does not hide his tears: drama and parody coexist in his colourful linguistic compositions. The analysis of the Hristoitia’s moralism or to the treasure of wisdom in Archirie and Anadan refers directly to the appreciation of one of the fundamental coordinates of Balkanism, namely the ethics that reflect the attitude towards history perceived permanently as restrictive. It is in the same spirit that we comment the burlesque of the distant Byzantine echo that is The History of the Fruits (Povestea poamelor). Similarly, comparative researches like "Aesop and A. Pann" or "A. Pann and the southeastern proverb" complete the portrait of one of the most complex figures of Romanian culture. Anton Pann’s taste for farce, his "garish humor", his "brash language" correspond as a general attitude to the collapse of the Phanariots, who were losing ‑ for the second time after 1711 ‑ the illusion of a Byzantium based on the Greek heritage, illustrious only in memory.

With the novelesque architecture used by Nicolae Filimon (1819‑1865) – a foreign point to the crucified sensibility in The Hospital of Love – the critical spirit accuses itself, the incisions are tougher, more direct and caused by a romantic necessity, excessively moralistic, of fixation. A visual type par excellence, Filimon complements beautifully Pann’s auditory type, both manifesting a disposition for parody and a vocation for epic forms. With Nicolae Filimon we are no longer in the gnomic present of the proverb. Compared to Anton Pann, there is in Filimon a more accentuated consciousness of retrospection, it is true that accompanied by the passionate attitude of the romantic. The extended descriptions render sensibly, perceptibly, an atmosphere through which the evocative process, constantly renewed, surfaces – a component of the Romanian Balkanism in the twentieth century. If the artistic "redemption" occurs only partially, this is due to the fact that Filimon was too close to the model of his fiction. Ion Ghica (1816–1897) on the other hand, who, especially compared to Filimon, has got the leisure necessary to retrospection, completes the picture with a chaotic motion, like that of a bazaar, of certain types who anticipate directly those in the Eagles (Pajere) of Matei Caragiale. If, in the Chronograph, D. Eclisiarhul equally enjoys history and legend and if Filimon, undecided, oscillates between document and fiction, the travel literature of the Bey of Samos crosses definitely ‑ and perhaps unintentionally ‑ over to exemplary, fine literature.

Realistic in terms of vision, Ghica remains ‑ spiritually speaking ‑ a contemplative whose imaginary builds, by alternating rhythms and narrative levels, an epos of Eastern type. The polemical nerve, the taste for caricature and incrimination, the lack of feeling of space, the eulogy of the "telling", the narration, and therefore of the logos par excellence, the alert rhythm, the obsession for materiality, the involuntary and functional exoticism  ‑ all these place Ion Ghica in the same line ‑ the line of the aesthetic acknowledgement of Balkanism. Moralism, rhetoric, the competition between the sacred and the profane, reminiscences of hieratic visions cross likewise the world of Pann, Filimon and Ghica, come together with other more recent and decidedly more controversial tendencies, that will prolong thereafter, in a notable effort of aestheticization, in a venation growing finer and finer in many writers of the last century.

The Byzantine Empire remains a model of political "praxis", but also a spiritual matrix, traceable in the uninterrupted adventure of moral literature, as well as in the ‑ more or less direct – evocations from the source of which Ion Barbu will later accomplish, by virtue of the metaphor of Isarlîk, the leap into the metaphysical.

The Balkan man, both as a man of contrasts and as a man of the present times, does not disapprove of the projection into the absolute, an idea to which both the author of Miss Hus and Matei Caragiale bow. The contemplative attitude and dynamism meet in the parodic attitude of the individual, who demonstrates that he possesses an even hypertrophied sense of history. The bizarre behavior, the ostentatious gesture, the disposition for sumptuousness do not efface the hieratic tone, nor the asceticism of the ancient "stylist", nor the contemplative attitude of oriental roots, which Dimitrie Cantemir turns into the concept of the "philosophy of history". Is not the parody ‑ aesthetically speaking – a self‑awareness of the literature that arises during all the Alexandrian ages? At least in this "classic" phase of Romanian Balkanism, we are faced with a phenomenon of indigenous literary quixotism. It is not by chance that the very same Ion Barbu believed to have found in the "humor" of this area "the last Greece" of tragic dimensions, characteristic for every decline. The last convulsions of the Middle Ages find expression in accelerated rhythms and an overflowing style that confess – when literally translated – the partly unconscious test of a ending historical cycle.

The spectacular and pictorial intelligence of the Balkans deploys – by means of the word – veritable veils woven of real and fabulous, while drawing at the same time underneath the strong colours quite the reverse of the medal ‑ the melancholy of a society that has irrevocably entered into the twilight of a different history. The aesthetic and thematic increasingly diverse orientations reveal  ‑ as Ion Barbu thought, perhaps the most important interference of a style inevitably meant "to lead to the realm of the virtual and inward".

The sparkling epic presents lyrical fulgurations and the writers who will succeed them in the next century refine the evocation through diffusing lyricism, in consonance with the lyrical background of the North Danubian spirit. The chapter Literary Patterns addresses ‑ in a set of ten studies ‑ some of the most important elements that are part of the Balkan literary spectrum as a typological category. The ascertainment that the heyday of the artistic literary Balkanism is followed, in an almost reversed relation to the actual literary "reflections", by a time of interesting theoretical approximations, a time prolific in suggestions (if they are fragmentary, this might perhaps be because of the different contexts in which they appear), does not avert the investigation from the field of literary fiction. If we highlight the contributions of G. Călinescu, Tudor Vianu or, more recently, those of C. Ciopraga and A. Constantinescu, this does not mean that they have referential value. It's the mundaneness of the evocation of balkanism that presides, according to our analysis, over the "reflections" of the twentieth century literature. Therefore, we may speak with Sadoveanu, Bucuţa, but also with E. Barbu, about a balkanism of the "common historical memories" (N. Iorga), furthermore about a moral and political balkanism (G. Magheru, I. L. Caragiale), a predominantly social balkanism (P. Istrati) or an ethical and religious balkanism (Gala Galaction), but also about the metaphysical (Ion Barbu) and especially the aesthetic  dimension, that softens the evocation by conveying it a distinctive tone in Matei Caragiale, Adrian Maniu, Gala Galaction, Ion Barbu etc. The aesthetic redemption we mentioned in the previous chapters is now fully achieved, equalizing thus the "reflections". The writers are presented one by one, but with natural comparative references: The Memory of Ţarigrad (M. Sadoveanu), "The Balkan Spirit" (I. L. Caragiale), The Unexpected Adventure (P. Istrati), The Aesthetic Evolution of the Epic (Em. Bucuţa), The Moral Picturesque (G. Galaction), The "Ages" of Balkaneus (G. Magheru), The "Byzantinism" of the Image (A. Maniu), Aesthetic Autocracy and Ethical Sanction (M. Caragiale), "The Last Greece..." (I. Barbu), The "Melancholia" of the Prince (E. Barbu).

The last chapter, Contemporary Echoes, refers to certain current aesthetic values ​​that blend in with the Romanian literary Balkanism. We tried to sketch an algorithm able to circumscribe the Romanian prose of Balkan extraction on the basis of certain fundamental attitudes, of constituant elements of a specific problem, of certain forms of literary representation which occur more frequently and of certain modalities made visible on the level of poiesis. In order to do this, we selected twelve novels and analyzed them succinctly from a comparative perspective, treating them as literary medallions: A Romanian Sicily (Oscar Walter Cisek, Zaharia Stancu); Loveless Wasteland (Eugen Barbu); The Tragic Picaresque (G. Banea, Zaharia Stancu); Ulysses, the Last (Modest Morariu); Exoticism and Elegy (Eugen Barbu); The Linguistic "Balkania" (Fănuș Neagu); The Magic Lorgnette (Tudor Dumitru Savu); The Fatigue of the Book (Ştefan Agopian); Between Truth and Rhetoric (Mihail Diaconescu); The Mechanics of Speech (Dan Mutașcu, Silviu Angelescu); The Tragic without Tragic (L. M. Arcade); Speculum Historiae (Mihai Cochinescu); Resistance and Alienation (Teohar Mihadaş, Hristu Cândroveanu); Red Dust (Ştefan Bănulescu).

These novels ‑ chosen more as examples ‑ reveal the diversity of registers and also a common structure, consisting of aesthetic reflexes of an oriental sensibility. The chapter closes with a "spectroscopic" review of contemporary poetry, using as sample excerpts from poems by Ion Alexandru, Teohar Mihadaş, Dumitru N. Ion... The existence of a thematic and livresque Balkanism, rather than an autochtonous, old‑established Balkanism, involves the presence of a genuine Alexandrinism in the current lyric poetry. This is marked, on one hand, by the abatement of the substance in favor of the cliché, that is to say the decorative and less of the picturesque functional; on the other hand, it bears the mark of an approach that is actually less the reflex of a history drama and more the parody of this very drama, hence the need to restore the (aesthetically convincing) creative bonds with its closest antecedent in time, namely the poetry of the interwar period.

* * *

The second part, dedicated to a critical and at the same time typological research, meets the criteria stipulated in the introduction. It proceeds to an in‑depth survey (complementary to the first part of the first volume) of the typologies and the motifs dispersed throughout the tissue of The Historical Stages of the Concept. We resume certain elements for a larger comparative approach; the legitimate, sometimes incomplete references to the literatures of Southeastern Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries aim to define the category of literary Balkanism more precisely. They plead for a morphological approach of  literary forms and constitute the basis for the third part, which is par excellence a theoretical one and offers a possible definition of the concept of literary Balkanism.

The aforementioned ”permanences" begin with a few methodological references that support our option for the chosen period (the nineteenth and twentieth centuries), as well as for both the Romanian modern literature and the southeast‑European one. Therefore, the analysis begins with the observation that, unlike the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the image of the southeast‑European man is restored first and foremost by literature, whose thematic and aesthetic diversity is directly related to the emergence of nations. By flourishing under their own laws and traditions, the Romanian, Bulgarian, Neo‑Greek, Former Yugoslav or Albanian literatures carry, however, common topoï, which demonstrate a common matrix of sensibility and of historical past. However, seen from such a perspective, the literatures of Southeastern Europe trace a territory of cultural interference, a fact that legitimates on one hand the connection of the sociological review and the analysis of mentalities, and on the other hand the comparative approach to literary typologies. In this way, the typological similarities establish a double result – on the level of national literatures, as well as on the level of collective literatures – of the same complex of political, economic and social circumstances triggering almost similar reactions. The concept of "unity in diversity" is hereby clarified in terms of its content and it implies, with good reason, national differentiations.

The first section of the study (Typology) is primarily devoted to the tragic type. The radiography of the myth ‑ as suggested by Hegel (in his Lectures on the Philosophy of History) and by Lucian Blaga (Daimonion) – the so‑called "semi‑anthropomorphic myth", examines its bipolar structure. The unicorn (Dimitrie Cantemir), Pan (Lucian Blaga), the priest of Creanga de aur (The Golden Bough, Mihail Sadoveanu); the old magus in Strigoii (The Ghosts, Mihai Eminescu) or the fish‑man and the wolf‑man in the stories of Vasile Voiculescu confirm the presence of semi‑antropomorphism, seen as a complex relationship between the primitivism of vision and an existential, more and more pronounced, attitude. The refined and subtle relationship between nature and culture (that expresses differently, that is, conceptually, the dual structure of the myth) also helps to emphasize the simultaneous phenomenons of relevance and detachment of the Romanian literature against the cultural background full of archaic resonances. The description of the literary hypostases of the semi‑anthropomorphic myth allows to outline the phases myth‑story‑reformulation of the myth, the latter phase being defined by the very disappearance of the myth itself. The analysis of the general structure of the myth, as well as the delimitation of its hypostases, undertaken by our literary history, have led us to a global assessment: fed by the latent, yet manifest tension between its different facets which are consubstantial in the beginning, this myth appears to be the result of the encounter between two visions: one is cosmocentric, of centripetal orientation, which is the axis of major Eastern civilizations; the other anthropocentric, of centrifugal orientation, crystallized, as we know, in the Greek genius. The median level turns, generally speaking, into the expression of a progressive breach: man breaks away from nature, nature from the spirit, natura naturans from natura naturata.

The same breach, coming this time from culture towards nature, is obvious in the Romanian and southeast‑European variants of the ballad of Master Manole, their study representing the subject matter of the second part of the chapter devoted to the tragic type. The comparative analyses reveal that this widely spread, popular folk motif is resumed and modified ‑ this illustrates the very reiteration of tragedy, characteristic of the ancient Greece; the intrusion of history that demystifies, sometimes didactically, for the Bulgarians; the game of the same dominant history that creates and at the same time dispels the myth that unfolds epically, for the Serbs and the Albanians; and finally, the philosophical meditation of iridescent lyricism, the aesthetic myth par excellence, for the Romanians. We proved that in terms of their aesthetic value and of the unity of vision, the Romanian, Serbian and Greek works rank foremost as to the actual literary representations of the motif. The social (and national) impact of the tragic in the Serbian, Albanian and Bulgarian variants have a counterpart in the existential tragic, in the ”lateral” Romanian and Greek areas.

Comprising the two faces of the tragic type, the semi‑anthropomorphic myth and the eastern Faust (Master Manole) both question the consubstantiality between man and nature and raise the issue of the unstable equilibrium (a defining concept for the "Eastern Romanity" but also for the peoples of Southeastern Europe); irrespective of the direction of the problematisation of the issue, whether going from nature to culture or from the latter to the former, semi‑anthropomorphism has a compensatory function: the arch and the edifice, both built through human sacrifice, communicate by calling for permanence. The nostalgia for cosmocentric integration, the anthropocentric position define the bipolar structure of the myth, as well as the construction built by the legendary master. The historical dispute between paganism and Christianity maintains and sharpens this dualism, that leads ultimately  southeastern man to escape from the mythical horizon in order to meet contemporary history by skipping somehow several stages.

The Hajduk, the wandering wise man and the parvenu or social climber are the main focus of the following chapters of the first section. The types that correspond to the mythical level (the Wise), the national level (the Hajduk) or the social level (the Parvenu or the social climber) acquire ‑ depending on how they are rendered aesthetically ‑ the value of emblematic evidences for the Romanian, Bulgarian, Yugoslav or neo‑Greek literary creation. 

A veritable picaro, the hajduk reiterates the character of the medieval knight and embodies thus a model of human fulfillment. This literary type is all the more structured by the social phenomenon he echoes, as it is a long standing and widely spread phenomenon. This is the exemplary case of the Greek and Bulgarian literatures; for the Romanian writer, however, the hajduk represents a rather accidental occurrence, due to the readers` appetite for sensational in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Whether lyric or epic, the re‑elaborations of the myth refer to the essential spatial topoï, to which the folklore has accustomed us: the mountain (Bulgaria, Albania), the mountain and the sea (Greece, Yugoslavia), the high forrest (Romania). The folklore usually takes on a romantic color and the special skill of the Romanian writer lies in the mythical reconsideration of this type. Being an inherent part of the tragic typology, and strongly marked from a social and national point of view, the hajduk is a term of reference for the study of the morphology of epic forms in Southeastern Europe, while the wise and the parvenu reinforce the novelesque and contribute to maintaining the epic spirit in this part of the world.

The wandering wise, whose distant model is Diogenes of Sinope or Aesop, is the sui generis intellectual whose features correspond to the portrait of a uomo universale. Coming from various backgrounds, being rejected – due to bad luck – from the other side of the river by the elite of his time, which was at the head of Empires, he carries the seeds of renewal and ensures thus the functionality of the popular rhetoric, while preserving the foundations of ancient rhetoric. The collective memory elevates him to the status of a defining sign, around which crystallizes the story or the sapiential text. The Arab Djuha', the Romanian Păcală, the Bulgarian Hităr Petăr and especially the Turkish Nasr ed‑Din Khodja ‑ the latter is perhaps the purest aesthetic sublimation of the wandering wise ‑ illustrate the same fundamental type in whom the buffoon and the wise, the contemplative spirit and the active spirit intersect and portray a chameleonic, essentially dialogic, way of being, rooted in the innermost being of the southeastern man. The variety of forms that the hajduk acquires from Anton Pann up to Kazantzakis or Zaharia Stancu, the various degrees of his epic consistency or lyrical absorption, and finally his oscillation between myth and history – all these do not allow to capture this type in a „freeze” portrait, as Pompiliu Eliade succeeded in accomplishing for the hajduk. The chapter also examines the manner in which the popular wise – the quintessence of cosmopolitism and an artistic expression of balkanity ‑ changes for the Bulgarians and Romanians: the southeastern picaro is transformed into a sophos of these regions. We are talking here about a sedentarisation (or, to be more precise, an assimilation) of this type into the orbit of rural life, essential for the Southeast of Europe, with the exception of Greece.

The subject matter of the following pages is the study of the parvenu. Having his roots in the classic portrait of the Levantine, the parvenu acquires typological value not until the nineteenth century, when his features and his general demeanor penetrate the mentality of southeastern man. If the Phanariot represents, as Nicolae Iorga intuits, the literary model that is probably temporally closest to the parvenu, its frequency in the literatures of Southeastern Europe is certainly due to the diversified emergence of capitalist relations. The literary type becomes the result of a creative process, showing a certain resemblance in Nicolae Filimon, Liuben Karavelov or Jakov Jgniatovič. Their works, like those of other writers, are all specific forms that aim to maintain, adapt and transform the literature of characterological essence. Unlike the hajduk and the wise, this character does not have folkloric antecedents; it remains the product of the city, although at the time of his typological development, he invokes agrarian structures, which are so resistant in the Southeast. The predominant image remains that of the "newly‑rich" (N. Filimon), depicted in different hypostases – bailiff (administrator), politician, fortune hunter etc. – as well as in various stages of evolution and accumulation of capital in the Southeast. His Romanian representations, frequently grotesque and polarized between the farmer and the politician, join the Yugoslavian representations ("the beggar", the usurer, the official enslaved to Authority), the Bulgarian ones (the boyar, often equated to tchïorbadjï) or the Greek ones (the fortune hunter). Under the conditions of national and bourgeois societies, the parvenu is a widespread presence, affirming and supporting – timidly, at first ‑ this fragment of modern epopee that is the social novel of  Southeastern Europe.

The semi‑anthropomorphic myth, the Eastern Faust (Master Manole), the wise (initially wandering, later sedentary), the hero and the parvenu, they all fall within the composition of the modern Southeastern epos. Symbolic and at the same time typological, the aforementioned levels (certainly, more could be added) affirm the unity in the diversity of a group of literatures, from which we are going to detach in the second part of this study (The History's Chant), ‑ and it would not be by chance – the amply represented sequence of the historical novel. The selection is based on the evidence that humanism and, subsequently the emergence of romanticism feature history in the main role in the literature of the area, a history that subsumes and thereby replaces the process of cosmocentric reintegration, a process deciphered by myth and remembered by folklore. The conditions, especially the Ottoman impact, rendered possible not only the construction of an edifice (like a bridge or a church, etc.), but also the birth of a nation, due, first and foremost, to ethnic preservation. Therefore, the ontic survival (illustrated by the semi‑anthropomorphic myth) and the aesthetic survival (the motif of Master Manole) are coupled with the need of temporal survival. The latter is connected to the temporary nature that Southeastern existence assumes; and this is precisely where the active sense of the tragic and the restoring aspect of the poem or the historical novel stem from.

The first part of this section outlines a poetics of the historical novel and it establishes itself partly as a replica and partly as a validation of the statements made by G. Lukacs in The Historical Novel, a work that ignores the representation of the genre in the literatures of this part of Europe. The basic idea emerging from his work is that the historical novel of Southeastern Europe continues the spirit of the epopee, a spirit scattered in folkloric structures. As for its specificity, it becomes apparent at least in three elements, namely: the fluctuating relationship between "autokratôr" and "demos" which creates a mental framework of its own, by crossing the most remarkable epic representations; the dialogue, at times the dramatic confrontation between East and West; the existence – on the aesthetic level – of the parable, connected to the evocation (i.e. reconstruction) of a still recent past, in contrast to the Western novel, where, to speak with Paul Zarifopol: "ancient times decay into slowly sliding layers".

The next chapter shows how Michael the Brave, a personality in Romanian history, evolves into a hero of a virtual southeastern epopee. His frequent presence as an aesthetic motif acquires the value of a cultural index in the world of the Balkans between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The popular song, various editions of Stavrinos’s poem and its revision by Palamedes or "the historical poem" by Nicolae Bălcescu enrich the portrait of the prince of "the whole of Transylvania" and "Lord of Wallachia", by giving him the characteristic features of a literary engraving.

The third chapter examines, from a comparative perspective, the exemplary "transcription" of the story of Sindipa, the Philosopher by Mihail Sadoveanu in Divanul persian (The Persian Divan). The folkloric text, simplified by its millenary usage, becomes more profound, thanks to a sfumatura ‑ a stylistic device typical for Sadoveanu’s art. Specifically, the Romanian writer focuses on the profound relationships without renouncing for all that the surface relationships, imposed by the ethical standards and by the epic paradigmatic context. Divanul persian confirms thereby the affinity of our literature with the structures of the eastern epos.

If Michael the Brave, Vlad the Impaler or Ioan Vodă the Terrible have been blazing apparitions who flashed by, granting no respite to settle for the slow sedimentations required by the actual epopee, in contrast, the humans in a text like Divanul persian turn into signs of the universal sophia. But between the two banks flows the rich river of the historical eastern novel: in its movement of anamnesis, it connects the "concrete prehistory of the present" to the "abstract prehistory of the ideas" (G. Lukács), while aspiring to an incorporative epos, in accordance with the unity of destiny of the peninsular medieval societies. The memory “of the blood and the slumber that have been persisting for five centuries in Eastern Europe” (Dostoyevsky) feeds the novel that connects demystification to a renewed projection into the legendary and the epopee. Mihail Sadoveanu, Anton Doncev, Emilian Stanev, Iordan Iovkov, Sabri Godo, Ismaïl Kadare, Nikos Kazantzakis or Ivo Andrič illustrate, in the last part of the section, the theoretical coordinates of the first chapter. The major historical novels of the Romanian, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, Albanian and neo‑Greek literature represent, from an ideal point of view, just as many national "holy scriptures" (Nicolae Bălcescu). There are analogies and interferences between them that our comparative approach links, as we have mentioned before, to the unity of historical destiny of the southeastern nations during the period of the prolonged Ottoman impact. Whether it oscillates between information and invention (the example of Michael the Brave), whether it is absorbed by the novelesque parable (Divanul persian), whether it renders, in the novel itself, the terrible drama of the medieval East, the chant of history is always perceived as deep, dark and disconcerting in this part of the European world.

The last section focuses on several Motifs of more or less bookish origin, which inspire, polarize and nuance the meditation on history in the works of the romantic and modern writers in Southeastern Europe. The analysis is based yet again on a choice made and does therefore not claim to be an exhaustive inventory concerning the expressions of these motifs, which constitute, each in its turn, the subject of different other approaches. Based on texts that we have analysed also in previous chapters, we examined the function of certain constants that can be found in folklore, in religious or philosophical texts and – and this is where our particular interest lies – in literature.

Firstly, we focus on the question of the historical motif par excellence, the motif of Byzantium, on how the memory of the year 1453 and, above all, the continuity of the "polis" of the Bosphorus turned into the Turkish Istanbul, are reflected in the southeastern epos in different ways. Secondly, we focus on the Wheel or the Ring as an ontological motif, in its radical sense, expressing oriental fatalism, but also in its sense of law of history that, once it has become conscious, it leads to unity and national resistance when circumstances prove to be hostile. Besides the motif of the Cycle, the gnoseological motif of the Light sweeps away the imaginary into a sui generis philosophy, which filters the existential shudder inspired by the religious text. And finally we focus on the Path as a spatial motif in the historical novel, where the individual and the community feel intensely the social, economic and geopolitical instability, a characteristic of the Turcocratie. All these constants, the Byzantium, the Wheel, the Light and the Path ‑ discussed in several chapters – are entangled in the tissue of an epos structured each time differently, but having the same motive: the insuppressible urge to remain within the redeeming power of the word, the logos. Moreover, these motifs revive the sense of the epic in the southeastern literatures.

* * *

The third part, mostly conclusive, is entitled Balkanity and Literary Balkanism,  and is devoted to a possible determination of Balkanism as a typological category in an aesthetic key. Under the title Cultural Context and Determination, the first pages plead for positioning this category inside the ensemble of determinations. Thus, the anthropo‑geographical constants, the community of historical destiny, the specificity of the Eastern‑Western dialogue and the status of "in‑betweenness" of the European Southeast (that can be exemplified by the perpetuation of the condition of unstable equilibrium of the latter) contextualize, more rigorously, what we have assertedly called the southeastern European spirit. The philosophy of "as if", counterbalanced by the intrinsic moralism of the imaginary and perpetuated by the ancient models, a moralism that still puts orality before written communication, the  intersection of the anthropocentric vision with the cosmocentric vision, hence the competition between the inner freedom of the individual (and his energy in the process of social ascent) and the innate skepticism concerning the past and present history, which gives the acceptance of the compromise a soteriological finality. Finally, in mentality the reflexes of orthodoxy  manifest like constituent parts that form the area. But Balkanism as an integral part of the southeastern spirit – a spirit considered from an artistic point of view rather than a political, aesthetic or legal perspective – adds to our approach important elements with more conceptual rigor to our assertions about the Southeast. If we assume a synoptic view, the first chapter, Boundaries, lays down the typology of the debates of the twentieth century around the relationship between East and West, considering it from a global, continental and national perspective. The following pages of this chapter deal with the contribution ‑ with reference value ‑ of Nicolae Iorga (East and West), in order to narrow down later the area of ​​investigation to the study of what is defined as Balkan and what is defined as Southeast European. In the following pages, we consider how the Southeast refers to Mitteleuropa within the corpus of current ideologies (of Central Europe/ Southeastern Europe). In analysing Balkanism/ Byzantinism/ Orientalism, we also examine the – highly stereotyped – meanings of the operated terms. Balkanism (delimitable in relation to balkanity) should be analyzed in at least three coextensive meanings. Firstly, Balkanism is a fragmented political and ethnic reality, generating armed conflicts and a feeling of an unstable equilibrium. Secondly, in terms of mentality, Balkanism ‑ as a collective drama accompanied by its parodic reverse ‑ is an integral part of a whole philosophy of survival. And finally, we speak about Balkanism as a form of redemption through art, having a compensatory function, created and maintained, genetically speaking, by the autocratic regime and the closed, adiabatic space.

The second chapter, Balkanity and Literary Balkanism, develops the enunciated meanings by emphasising the last meaning (Balkanism as a form of redemption through art), but only after having delimited the three ages of balkanity ‑ a background that generates entire aesthetic series, motifs and themes attested by folklore but, also, by the comparative study of the modern southeastern literatures. We speak about classical balkanity at the age of Neagoe Basarab, where the feeling of the tragic history accompanies the general political ideal, which is materialized in the anti‑Ottoman attitude and in the active role of Orthodoxy, through the validation of the post‑Byzantine paradigm within cultural dualism (aulic/ popular, hieratic/ dynamic and so on) and also through the increasing power of the ancient Greek culture. We have to add to this the permanence of modernism and the popular rhetoric ‑ both recorded in a rich paremiologic literature. Later, at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we speak about the second stage of balkanity, a balkanity as a "displaced Byzantinism" (Lucian Blaga), charged with the Greek militance, with the onset of the process of secularization of thinking in contact with the philosophy of Korydalleus or with the circulation of books, whether handwritten or printed. The third stage, lasting until the emergence of romanticism, is the stage of balkanity as analogy and interbalkan cooperation in the conditions of the anti‑Ottoman attitude that continues to determine the diplomatic initiatives and the projects of the Balkan diaspora. Balkanism in its aesthetic sense, oriented in both directions (synchronous and asynchronous), characterized by a combination of contrasting states, is a product of the developing urbanism and it also illustrates a wider phenomenon ‑ that of the positivisation of the negative. The polyhedral shape of the image‑concept allows diverse literary illustrations.

The third chapter, Panoptikum, reinforces the typological category of Balkanism from an anthropological (Homo balcanicus) and categorical‑aesthetic perspective (The Picturesque), but also from the perspective of the North Danubian mentality, of the genre of the "mirror of the other" (Oriental Routes). In this context, we propose the phrase Byzantium without Byzantium starting from the fact that ‑ as evidenced by the imaginary ‑ Byzantium, predominantly historical in the beginnings and mythopoetical after its subsequent decantations, acquires a sense of existential, highly stylized nature. Byzantium transforms into a sort of reverie of space without space and of a time beyond chronology; there is no longer an insistance on the concrete phenomenal, but, instead, we acquire the impression of essence and extreme density, as in Kavafis or, in a different paradigm, in Ştefan Bănulescu. The progression in small steps gives elasticity to the synthesis and, what`s more, it shows how the accumulation gradually concedes to the clarifications converted into theory. Therefore, Balkanity and Literary Balkanism, the third part of our research, preserves the character of a work in progress of our synthesis. Certainly, this also applies to the Addendum that includes approximations on the status of "in‑betweenness" (An Outline of the ontology of "in‑betweenness") and sketches the answer to the question What can the Southeast bring? – all this requiring, in fact, further panoramic studies.

Although we might have fed at the outset the desire to achieve a whole, we are aware of the fact that "we cannot create a mirror from a pile of broken glass, no matter how skillful one might be in reassembling the fragments and no matter how strong the sealant used. But – like Sextil Puşcariu said in 1940 ‑ we do not need the entire mirror to see in it what we are searching for, because even a pile of broken glass, well positioned and having proper light, can reflect as much as the entire mirror". The aphorism also refers to the panoptikum structure of the present volume, disclosing all the inherent risks, determined by the individual character of our project.

* * *

With a puzzling structure, the “cultural confluences” in Southeastern European Panorama (the first edition published in 2012) both fulfill and nuance on one hand the comments from the study The Romanian Literary Balkanism (2002, 2008, 2016), on the other the information from the sectorial and authorial bibliography – The Southeastern Europe in the Romanian Cultural Memory (2011) – by respecting the initial option, that of a work in progress. The eight sections resume and particularly suggest some possible paths to approach the ideological and cultural complex in today and yesterday Southeastern Europe. Theoretical Braces circumscribes terminological clarifications (Balkanity, Balkanism, byzantinism etc), it takes into account the linguistic and ethnological elements constituent of this space, it also recalls the observations about the political ideology of Byzantium and, on another level, the complicated relationships between identity and otherness, invigorated, seasoned with extracts from the culinary southeastern geography. The Inserts into Imaginary, preponderantly analytical, refers to works selected from the Albanian, ex‑Yugoslavian and Romanian literatures, the priorities in this context being the reading of the autochthonous fairy tale Youth Without Age and Life Without Death and the radiography of a tragic type (Kyra Kyralina) that completes the tragic triad outlined in The Romanian Literary Balkanism. The next section, About Romanians in the Balkans, restores and highlights the importance of the studies elaborated by local consecrated scholars, which were preoccupied by the language, the culture and the historical destiny of Romanians located at the south of the Danube. Our selection comprises George Vâlsan, George Murnu, Ioan S. Neniţescu, Silviu Dragomir and Gheorghe Carageani, some of them also having Aromanian genetic antecedents. The section entitled Journals is limited to a monographic sketch of one of the most long‑lasting and highly appreciated publications related to southeastern Europe, Revue des études sud‑est européennes. Multilingual, with a consistent international summary, this journal preserves the high scientific level, honoring the program published in the first issue (1963) by Mihai Berza (1907‑1978), a former student of the School of Rome and follower of Nicolae Iorga – Les études du sud‑est européen, leur rôle et leur place dans l'ensemble des sciences humaines. Instead, the section entitled Documenta has an eminently historical character restoring, alongside related comments, the anonymous and quasi‑folkloric story about the fall of Contantinople in 1453 in a specific Transylvanian tonality; also here – an “advisum” spread across Europe about the battle of Călugăreni. The following sections, with additional and exemplificative value, namely Addenda et Corrigenda and From a diary, treat either the glossary on the edge of a term (Balkania) and the extent to which one could talk about the existence of an ”Albanian Bucharest”, or a few travel impressions impregnated by the livresque within the studiousness. Finally, Memory and Project actually reproduces the preface with the same title in our bibliography: The Southeastern Europe in the Romanian Cultural Memory.

(English version by Alexandra Noemina Câmpean)

Comentarii: 0