Transfiguring Depression: Personal and Collective Identity in Cioran’s Interwar Writings

In: East Central Europe
Ștefan FiricăFaculty of Letters, Literary Studies, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
Institute of Literary History and Theory “G. Călinescu” of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania,

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Comparative research conducted recently proves that the antimodernist national characterologies produced by interwar authors from the mesoregion make up a transnational genre. This article looks into the texts of the young Romanian Emil Cioran, a prominent writer of the group, in order to support two lines of argument. First, that it is topical for researchers to consider the ways in which these authors construe the relationship between personal and collective identity, since their historical discourses often draw on narratives of authenticity or self-actualization. Psychological and political patterns can merge, and we will examine how the semantic field of mental depression imbues Cioran’s ideological vision. Second, we will illustrate the pivotal role played by the metaphor of the “leap” in his discourse. Finally, the inclusion of literary studies in the analysis of national characterologies is advocated in the spirit of identity research after the narrativist turn.

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