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Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association (Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe)

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20 review for Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association (Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Ramsey

    I was a little intimidated when I chose this book because it is definitely academic. I was not a history major but I absolutely love history – I knew about Romania growing up because I had a friend in school whose family was from there. So I knew about Ceausescu and communism and how much the country had suffered. So I have always had this interest in Romanian history, which is why the book caught my attention and fascism is such an en vogue topic now I thought I had to give it a try. I didn’t k I was a little intimidated when I chose this book because it is definitely academic. I was not a history major but I absolutely love history – I knew about Romania growing up because I had a friend in school whose family was from there. So I knew about Ceausescu and communism and how much the country had suffered. So I have always had this interest in Romanian history, which is why the book caught my attention and fascism is such an en vogue topic now I thought I had to give it a try. I didn’t know that Romania was fascist before it became communist and I thought this book could teach me about that period of history. It’s an amazing book, Bejan paints a vivid picture of the politics of the country after World War I. The main characters of her story are a group of intellectuals who created the Criterion Association, which was an impressive society that had events about everything you could possibly imagine. The majority of this group falls into fascism and Bejan explores how and why. She writes like a storyteller, honestly, not like some incomprehensible academic, which is why I enjoyed reading the book so much. I felt like I learned about 20th Century Romania, I discovered some fascinating figures such as Mircea Eliade and Mihail Sebastian (among so many others – she even has a Cast of Characters at the beginning so you can keep it all straight!) who I now want to read their works (novels, plays), and in terms of our contemporary discourse about fascism and extremist politics, I feel like I have a firm understanding of a historical case. There are also – for those who like old photographs – some great photographs throughout the book that really make the personalities come alive. So, it’s a history book but not like that – it’s an engaging read about an important topic in a lesser-known country. As we move further into the 21st Century, what happened in the 20th can feel more and more distant. This is a book that brings it to life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Justin Goodman

    It might be the thrill of learning about a historical moment entirely unknown to me, but Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania is surprisingly gripping. I say surprisingly because it's prone to the formula of academia ("in this book I will..." etc) with several paragraphs that whose entire content was listing playbills for symposia (which, to be fair, had a purpose in context). What's particularly fascinating about this monograph is tentative it is about its subjects. The fascism of seve It might be the thrill of learning about a historical moment entirely unknown to me, but Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania is surprisingly gripping. I say surprisingly because it's prone to the formula of academia ("in this book I will..." etc) with several paragraphs that whose entire content was listing playbills for symposia (which, to be fair, had a purpose in context). What's particularly fascinating about this monograph is tentative it is about its subjects. The fascism of several Criterionists, most strongly felt with Mircea Eliade (who seems to have never apologized or made amends for his Iron Guard activities) and Marietta Sadova (who remained a staunch Iron Guardist until her death), is displayed almost with a feeling of betrayal. It's bruised pride, and it makes for an unnerving tone - probably the most engaging part for me. Bejan's not apologetic so much as torn on how to engage with their works. Appropriately she uses Julian Benda's The Treason of the Intellectuals as her framework, more or less condemning the politicization of the non-political. Which might be where I'm wariest about the book. It's one thing to say an academic has to look clear-eyed at the life and work of an author - that's entirely reasonable and needed. It's another to frame the problem of the Iron Guard Criterionists as 'giving into politicization,' as if the problem was merely that they politicked too hard. This comes with the old Cold War tone of equating Communism and Fascism, which, while relevant to the modern world, is it's own conversation not entirely relevant here. Point being that the reluctance to condemn unapologetic fascists comes across as the flip side of a reluctance to acknowledge the political reality of all intellectual activity. This feels a little too much like taking on the position of the subjects - in particular the Criterion Association founder and 'hero' of the book, Petru Comarnescu - as opposed to typical academic distance. Nonetheless, setting aside the record-keeping requirements and the ambiguous politics, it's a thorough attempt to broach what is an immensely complicated legacy for the Criterion Association and for the nation Bejan has familial ties to. History, it turns out, is a muddle; if I had to write about the Modernist circles of America, I would find my sad share of fascist sympathies and apolitical self-conceptions. Bejan's book makes it easy to appreciate the grapple with history, all the more so because of its thoroughness.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Wow! Felicitari Cristina! Ma bucur de autograf si partial am gasit din raspunsurile cautate. Te felicit pentru curajul de a atinge asa o tema. Astept urmatoarea carte cu o tema si mai interesanta. Go girl!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan Gabriel Ontelus

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

  6. 5 out of 5

    Razvanciobanu

  7. 4 out of 5

    Răzvan Necula

  8. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Wittman

  9. 5 out of 5

    Judy McCord

  10. 4 out of 5

    Isabela

  11. 4 out of 5

    G

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tom Calvard

  14. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vasilis

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Juozapas Žiža

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ion

  20. 4 out of 5

    A Young Philosopher

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