Romanian Protochronism

Katherine Verdery

in National Ideology Under Socialism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 1991 | ISBN: 9780520072169
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520917286 | DOI:
Romanian Protochronism

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This chapter looks at Romanian protochronism. Protochronism was an intensified resuscitation of interwar indigenist arguments about the national essence; yet its context distinguished them from it. During the 1970s and 1980s, increasing numbers of Romanian writers and literary critics were drawn into an argument over an idea called “protochronism.” This idea encouraged critics and literary historians to look for developments in Romanian culture that had anticipated events in the better-publicized cultures of Western Europe. Clearly symptomatizing the plight of subaltern cultures dominated by metropolitan centers, protochronism soon attracted the attention of a Romanian party leadership that also wished to raise Romania's image in the esteem of the world. Romanians and outside observers alike have considered protochronism among the strongest manifestations of national ideology under Ceauşescu, as basic ideology.

Keywords: Romanian protochronism; indigenist arguments; national essence; plight of subaltern cultures; Ceauşescu

Chapter.  19405 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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