Electronic literature in post-communism. The Romanian case

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The focus of my paper is to bring forward some information regarding the development of the electronic literature in an ex-communist country, Romania, at a certain, representative moment: after four decades of communism and almost thirty years of democracy and free book market. 

In the first part, the main purpose is to explain how the Romanian writers’ literature was affected over the last decade of communism: on the one hand, the technological deficiency, which made difficult, almost impossible for the Romanian writers to investigate new digital creative writing formulas, and, on the other hand – and the most important one – the excessive political control of CeauČ™escu’s regime that cut off absolutely the contact with the international literature. 

In my thesis I will try to lay out how the literary scene has been working during the last thirty years: the recovery of the freedom and the reconnection of the Romanian writers to the international literary world, with an emphasis on the process of linking of the Romanian writers to the experimental-technological sphere of fiction in the universal field. 

I focus on the beginning of the ’90s, when, in the post-communist Romania, the political censorship has been abolished, being replaced, first of all, with the „financial censorship” and with the publishers’ attempts to the financial struggle. In order to publish literature with a promising success and an aura of a bestseller, the publishers had to follow a specific „recipe”: potential financial successes instead of literary creations opened to innovation. Moreover, this happens in a context in which, after almost a half of a century of censorship, the readers wanted to recover the most important forbidden or censured books, being less interested in reading experimental literature. 

I plan to pay a special attention to the last decade, a period when, along with the tremendous spreading of the Internet connection, the first Romanian electronic literary experiments have appeared slowly, in the marginal fields, especially in the Science-Fiction genre. Afterward, the change continued to spread in the sphere of literature. 

Overall, this study regarding the level of development of electronic literature in post-communist Romania – restrained by technological barriers and excessive political control during the Communist era, followed by a complicated period of free book market – reveals a lot of similarities in most of the Iron Curtain countries.

(Source: Author's abstract from ELO 2018 site)

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Miriam Takvam