Round table on the theme of “Panait Istrati, Romanian writer, Levantine author”



Screening of the documentary film titled „Panait Istrati – the sentiment of fraternity”, created by Stanca Ciobanu and Geo Tuică Emil Constantinescu, President of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization: “Understanding the Other

“Whenever I have the opportunity to present our Institute’s activity, I find myself speaking of the heritage left to us by the old Levant, and about its role in creating a new kind of relationship between states and between peoples. We cannot build anything without a dialogue based on a thorough understanding of the Other. The work of Panait Istrati is one such lesson, and his life a tragic story about misunderstanding the Other. Perhaps now, 135 years from his birth, we can finally begin to understand Istrati as a national writer and Levantine author alike.”

Andreea Grecu-Ciupală, General Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization: “Istrati’s characters, between individual choice and destiny”

“Simplu put, Panait Istrati writes about life. Sometimes, he helps us to again resonate with our own convictions, on one condition: that we exit the prison of societal norms which, in fact, destroy our willpower and creeds. Istrati narrates us beauty, at time savage, at times amoral. A beauty which opens a new project of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, one dedicated to writers and poets such as Ion Barbu or Mateiu Caragiale, which we aim to pay homage to throughout 2019 for works that capture the so-called laissez-faire of the Orient. It provides another perspective: Life can indeed be beautiful. It all depends on the role one chooses to play within it.”

Mariana Nicolae, Bucharest Academy of Economic Sciences, “Lingua Economica” Association: “Panait Istrati for digital natives. A world without limits?”

“Why Panait Istrati? Because he is a fascinating author, of resounding success internationally which, paradoxically, is relatively ignored in his homeland. What informs his continued success in France? In Turkey? And why not in Romania? One of the possible answers is that, simply put, the younger generations have not really heard of him. And why is that? I will attempt to explore a series of answers to these questions during the roundtable organized by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization.”

Dana Radler, Bucharest Academy of Economic Sciences, “Lingua Economica” Association: “Istratian narrative as a visual state in the Oriental landscape”

“Within the Istratian literary universe, meetings create a state of communion of (often times painful) personal experiences. Physiognomies, vocal timbre and rash action transpire from a past relatively close to the author’s own childhood, of Oriental inspiration, in which individual experience needed to be passed on at any cost, firstly through oral storytelling, and later through writing. The characters’ gazes are fiery, alluring or saccharine, at times sharp, while the impulse and actions of the male characters equal those of the female characters in vigour and movement. Through a minute attention to the most insignificant of details, Panait Istrati’s storytelling closely resembles the outlook of a masterfully conceived motion picture!”

Camelia Stănescu Ursuleanu and Mugur Popovici, “Friends of Panait Istrati” Association: “The Levant – an initiatic pilgrimage for Panait Istrati”

“One of the great voices of the Romanian and European literary conscience, Panait Istrati arduously claimed his roots as a Romanian writer. Although penned in French, his opus is conceived in Romanian, yet open to universality. It is no wonder, then, that we are celebrating his legacy today, on the Day of National Culture. The Levantine dimension of his work is, likelwise, essential, and brimming with Oriental exoticism. In our intervention, we shall attempt to portray a different kind of Orientalism than that created and imposed by Western literature.”

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