Anti‐modern Deprovincializations. The Case of the Interwar ‘Young Generation’


Abstract: This study focuses on the case of the Interwar ’Young Generation’ as a symptom of the antimodern turn in the Romanian and European 1930s, and also as a strategy of self‐assertion and national deprovincialisation. The action of this cultural group had an essentially synchronic character, apparently in line with the ‘revolutionary forces’ defined in E. Lovinescu’s Istoria civilizaţiei române moderne [The History of Modern Romanian Civilization]. Its synchronism was not, however, liberal and pro‐Westernization, but anti‐liberal and anti‐Occidentalist. It was also anti‐modern, as it rejected the minor status of ‘servile imitation’ – a position conclusively illustrated by young Eliade’s articles regarding the promotion of Romanian culture in Italy, by his cultural propaganda as a diplomatic envoy to Lisbon, and by the similar propagandistic activity carried out by Emil Cioran and Eugen Ionescu during the period when they worked at the Romanian Legation in the Vichy regime. Mention should be made that here the term ‘anti‐modern’ should be understood, as with Jacques Maritain and Antoine Compagnon, as ultra‐modern à rebours.

Keywords: modernity, identity, vitalism, province, synchronicity, communism, fascism