Romania as Europe’s translator

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Constantin Noica&#8217;s philosophy is prominent in multiple domains in Romania, from metaphysics, to cultural politics. The connections between these domains have been heavily contested and confused, in part because of a central paradox: his nationalism is a type of internationalism, his concern with definitions of Romania is a concern, first of all, with the country&#8217;s connections with the West. Noica&#8217;s international nationalism informs two important aspects of his thought: his refusal to adopt a dissident stance toward Ceau&#351;escu, and his definition of Romania as &#8220;Europe&#8217;s translator.&#8221; This chapter defines Noica&#8217;s internationalism through an analysis of his rhetoric of translation from the 1970s and his practice of translation in the 1930s. In particular, I examine his 1973 assertion that Romania is &#8220;Europe&#8217;s translator&#8221; alongside his 1938 translation of <i>Sagittarius Rising</i>, Cecil Day Lewis&#8217;s autobiography. Translation is key to his intellectual formation before World War Two, and it remains central to his thinking about Romanian language and culture during the Communist period. Translations are the laboratory in which he develops his negative relationship with Europe. Noica&#8217;s positions are not, strictly speaking, &#8220;post-colonial.&#8221; Rather, they are characteristic of a small country&#8217;s necessary engagement with the terms of major countries, the international perspective inherent in the cultural self-image of a minor nation.


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