Minding Literature’s Business: Cultivating a Sense of Evanescence Within Political Affairs (pages 481–491)

Roxana Patraș

ABSTRACT: The paper investigates the relationship between political oratory and literature in Romania during the second part of the 19th century. Extending the theories of Jacques Rancière, Fredric Jameson, Slavoj Žižec, and Leonidas Donskis, I analyze the relationship between politics and literature by comparing a set of illustrative speeches delivered by Take Ionescu and P. P. Carp, who distinguished themselves as brilliant political orators and also as personalities who gave up literature in order to assume a political career. My main goal is to determine how much of one’s appetite for aesthetic autonomy turns into mere appetite for political autonomy, and thus for dissent and dissidence. Both examples chosen for illustration brought me to the conclusion that prior literary habits and practices into a politician’s public career can determine his/her ways of legitimizing party-switches or volatile doctrinarian attitudes.

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