History of Communism in Europe

Volume 6, 2015

(Dis)Embedding. The Institutionalization of the Social Memory of Totalitarian Pasts

Ruxandra Câmpeanu
Pages 21-38

“Revis(it)ing the Romanian Cultural Heritage” during Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej’s Regime
The Role of Literary Critics in the Battle for the Canon as a Form of Preserving the Cultural Memory of a Community

As an instrument of preserving the cultural memory of a community, the literary canon is usually a highly stable structure in its core elements. However, with the advent of the Communist regime after the Second World War, the Romanian literary canon underwent a drastic process of reconstruction. As early as the 1940s, what was euphemistically dubbed “revisiting our cultural heritage” actually equated to a radical revision—a purge of the literary canon through the fi lter of Marxism-Leninism. Not only writers of literature, but literary critics themselves were subjected to this process. In this paper, I aim to discuss the role played by literary critics active during Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej’s regime in rehabilitating their predecessors. My focus will be on the press debate surrounding Titu Maiorescu’s rehabilitation in 1963.