The Contemporanul, founded in 1981, is a national journal for culture, politics and science, including reports on ongoing Romanian and international cultural, social and political events, as well as on quality books brought out by the Contemporanul Publishing in the fields of literature, philosophy, essay, poetry and art.
The Contemporanul Journal (The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal) promotes culture, democracy and freedom of speech.
The Contemporanul Opinion Poll
Echoes . Inquiries. Opinions
Romanian Values – European Values
“Defining for a people is not so much the number of personalities recorded by its history as
the degree of recognition and admiration they enjoy”.
Nicolae Breban: Galeriaartistilor.ro, bibliotecaeuropeana.ro, librariapentrutoti.ro, Contemporanul, Ideea Europeană, and its literary supplements, all these cultural projects are as many instruments in the construction and promotion of national identity through masters of creative genius. Leaving aside the minor issues of our social, forensic, economic and political life, let us focus on themes of long ongoing debates in the West. Moreover, Romania’s response should be even quicker and more straightforward in order to redress the degradation of the country’s image abroad. This deeply hurt face is detrimental first of all to the hundred thousands of Romanians who have been working in Italy, Spain, France and Germany in the last ten or fifteen years. Secondly, this pitiful reputation aggravates the weakness of our economy, affecting in a negative way the alien investors’ interest and the absorption of foreign capital.
Identity has become even more problematic in the approximately last two decades since the Revolution, because the masses of citizens and especially the young ones have been kept away from the essential topics of national history, culture and the church. Pseudo justicers called communism to trial in a superficial, vengeful and off hand manner instead of applying themselves to a competent study of the Romanians’ history in the last half of the century.
The crudely politicized textbooks, the attacks on the nation’s historical and cultural myths, on Romanian literature, culture and art, under the communist regime or after its downfall have effaced or minimalized the history of the emergence of the modern Romanian state, or of the multinational state with its questions of identity. It is a bit late now to try and cure the evil done in bad faith by those who pull behind the scenes the ropes of the mass-media, of post-revolutionary schooling and culture. We, the staff of the Contemporanul Journal, will do now as we did before, i.e., we will not lower our guard, seeing to it that our cultural order, which is comparable to those in countries and civilizations whose history is older than ours, maintains its distinct voice in the European concert.
Prof. Ion Simuţ: The editing and publishing agenda underpinning the projects, collections, series, collaboration with other institutions emerges out of an European perspective on national values, i.e. one that implies critical spirit and a broad cultural horizon. This is a cultural programme promoted once by British Matthew Arnold and Romanian Titu Maiorescu who were contemporaries, a programme set above conjectural interests, ephemerial politics, and mean ambitions, its finality being the defence of an enduring hierarchy of values.
Prof. Marian Victor Buciu: Genuine values, knowledge, an uncompromising critical filter, awareness of national specificity yet openess to universality, this is the trajectory followed by the members of the intelligentsia centred on the Contemporanului. Ideea Europeană Journal.
Prof. Maria-Ana Tupan: The Contemporanului. Ideea Europeană Journal is for me an umbrella term for three miracles: 1. An open, transparent and free access space within what is commonly understood by ”modern slave societies”. 2. Resistance to the pressure of middlebrows and solidarity among personalities in a society dominated by the anti-elite and diversionist politics of postwar communism. 3. Appreciation for the national genius in a country whose foundational myths, The Ewe Lamb and Master Mason Manole, may be summed up as ”Destroy the better of us” and ”Let the master mason die so that he would not build for others the like of this beautiful monastery”…
Liviu Ioan Stoiciu: The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal at this moment: a moderate, open, polemical but unprejudiced, a courageous publication that ”must have its way” (generally avoiding the commonly trodden paths taken by the other publications of the Romanian Writers’ Union, which is cause enough for it being exposed to neglect or even impatient response, a monthly that comes out with enviable regularity, with first-rank contributors (I do not include myself among the ”outstanding personalities of the Romanian literature”), making public files on weighty subjects (often incendiay) and with book-supplements, ambitious projects that no other periodical affords. The ”blame”for all that goes to the door of its chief editors: Nicolae Breban and Aura Christi.
Monica Săvulescu Voudouri (Athens, President of Balkania Contemporană-Σύγχρονα Βαλκάνια): On coming back to Romania after 30 years it was the Contemporanul Journal that opened me the door without me having to force it. I was not asked to take part in political and literary campaigns which my commonsense would have forbidden me to. Quite laudable is the fact that contributors are accepted within the strict limits of their literary capacity and relevance. Personally I feel grateful to the members of the ”Conte Tribe”, and enjoy being one of the team that brings out interesting issues one after another.
Zanfir Ilie: The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal, its supplements and the published books are as many credential letters for Romania in the concert of the nations, thanks to the far-reaching thematics and their in-depth treatment. The major contribution is made by its Editor-in-Chief, Aura Christi, a great and energetic poetess, and its Director, Nicolae Breban, a novelist worthy of a place in any history of contemporary world literature. The whole body of contributors deserve appreciation, however, for their performance in the demanding field of the written culture, as pertinent reflectors on literary, scientific or political issues.
The journal is faithful to its initial agenda of ”familiarizing the Romanian readership with the way contemporary science conceives of the world” by granting support to scholars and making their ideas known. A more ambitious project is thus acccomplished, that of ushering the scientific and cultural assets produced in the Danube-Carpathain space into the circuit of world assets.
As librarians, devoted to the empire of books, we appreciate in the highest degree the way Romanian culture is being promoted at home and abroad by the Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal, its supplements, and its projects, among which special mention should be made of the ”platforma Biblioteca europeană şi galeriaartistilor.ro” (The European Library and the artists’ gallery Portal). May this unprejudiced and valuable publication prosper for many more years, adding new achievements to its ambitious career.
Radu Mareş: What the Contemporanul Journal has been doing of late – the publication of files on exemplary literary destinies – Breban, Buzura and Goma – along with its supplements and valuable books is unique in Romanian literature. Our commendations to the Conte Team!
Sanda Văran (Paris): The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal with its national and European projects, supplements and publishing house is more than just a literary periodical. It is a moving architecture, a vast cultural project, extremely ambitious and courageous, which set out as early as 1990 to resume the tradition of the literary periodicals preceding the onset of the communist regime, and, on the other hand, to make its editorial projects resonate with the those of major western journals. With its firmly stated and generous programme, the Contemporanul has got into the vanguard of our national cultural politics. In the aftermath of the twenty years of divisiveness and derision the Contemporanul editors see for themselves how difficult it is to construct rather than demolish. To many of our contemporaries this project seems sort of in aqua scribere. Fortunately there are also non-typical people in this age who go to all extremes to remain loyal to this Romanian as well as European idea. One could charge the latter with enthusiasm, inexhaustible energy and programmatic ingenuity, but can one blame them?
Diana Cozma: Dear Conte, it is thanks to you that I haven’t lost all hope that one day nobody will start looking for some other people any more, or wish to dream in another language. Thank you! Affectionately, Diana.
Prof. Adrian Dinu Rachieru: Although wars are as a rule waged by men, here comes a woman who is indefatigably defending the assets of the lived Romanian culture on the barricades of the prestigious journal Contemporanul: fragile, delicate, enthusiastic, a warrior-woman but a generous one as well, full of initiatives. In the turmoil of an atomistic and divided literary life, she has managed to impose a direction. She has become a name indeed, a pen name, actually, which was given her by poet Cezar Ivanescu, but more than that: AURA CHRISTI has become an institution.
Gelu Negrea: The first remarkable aspect about the ”Conte phenomenon”, which is a manifold of programmatic directions, is just this projective agenda of pursuing in a coherent and open way the promotion of high standards in Romanian culture, joined by all the members of the group. This is an alternative programme to our confused, lame, intellectually barren and fossilized cultural establishment. But above all, Contemporanul is the hope that not everything is lost!
În contrast to the obscene disorder of indigenous reality, the Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal manages to be a moral landmark and an intellectual model that promotes excellence in the whole public sphere: science, culture, politics, the media …
Nicoleta Sălcudeanu: The Contemporanul Journal is the space of such a hospitable gettogether that it’s easier for them to leave out opponents than friends. So numerous are the latter!
Boris Marian: I think that at the present moment the Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal, as well as its publishers, its partners and their programmes are the nearest to what we mean by cultural Europeanism, which implies multiculturalism and high standards, competently defended by novelist Nicolae Breban and the huge efforts made by indefatigable Aura Christi, poet, novelist, essayist and editor.
Cassian Maria Spiridon: The present series of the Contemporanul Journal links up at the same level of excellence with the series published under literary historian George Ivaşcu; although in a changing context, the journal has remained faithful to the predecessors’programme of selecting contributors from a broad area of literary and cultural coverage.
This achievement has been possible thanks to its main editors, novelist Nicolae Breban, and, especially, Aura Christi, Editor-in-Chief, capable to construct a publishing project worthy of its name: Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană (The Contemporary. The European Idea).
Theodor Codreanu: Apparently acting in the so-called national-communist style under Ceausescu, the Romanian intelligentsia abandoned completely the nationalist structure of feeling after 1989 in favour of another ideology, of ”political correctness”, which turned out to be a version of cultural Marxism that flourished in the 50s under the patronage of Georg Lukacs. It is this context that saw the rise of the second Kominternist generation with their utter contempt for the national spirit that made fashionable the practice of ”demythologizing” personalities of culture and of history. The invasion of the first kominternist wave is mentioned in the 1953 essay, The Destiny of Romanian Culture, by Mircea Eliade. The well-known historian of religion prophesizes a reaction against the danger of his countrymen being transformed into cultural hybrids. That reaction came in the 60s, and singnificantly enough it is the survivors of that generation which included, among others, Nichita Stănescu, Nicolae Breban, D.R. Popescu, Eugen Simion, Augustin Buzura, that managed to rally around them writers of the new generation in order to fight back the alienating tendencies encroaching upon our literature. They are centred on the Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal.
Ştefan Borbély: Except for the Echinox (Equinox), the review of my formation years, the Contemporanul Journal has done more for me, as a writer and as a man, than any other. For twenty years I contributed to a review which systematically and discretely sabotaged the critical response to my books without me admitting – as insider – to anything of the kind being possible. It was eventually a friend in Cluj who opened my eyes, making me understand what I had forgotten since I left the city after graduation: that our literary life includes, apart from ingenuity, much conjecturalism and Nepotism, as well as a good doze of perfidious communitarian scheming, the distribution of ”glory” being determined, not by the intrinsic worth of the one aspiring to it, but according to the rules of a subtle game of chess played more often than not with the black pieces …
That is why I came to the Conte with the anxiety of someone long trained in suspicion, yet the first thing the editorial board did for me was to suppress my apprehensions. It is not enough to say that in their company one feels free and good, being respected as a man before being accepted as a writer. It is here one can still find an old asset which you will search for in vain elsewhere: the enthusiam of producing culture, the almost childish joy of writing books and articles. I cannot imagine something more energizing than Aura Christi’s unfailing call for articles month after month, her absorbing dedication to projects and utopias, building an enduring and friendly empire of ”living”. I respect this version of authentic humanity and feel privileged for having been admissioned to it.
Liviu Franga: I feel proud and, believe me, happy for being a contemporary of the Contemporanul Journal. I discover myself in it, and there cannot be a greater satisfaction for readers than that of discovering themselves in what they read. To discover themselves in part or (just think of it!…) in everything. That is why one feels the impulse to go through the journal again. Or to open again a book carrying the insignia of the Contemporanul Publishing, to take it from the book shop shelf or from the shelves of one’s private library, drawn to it by the familiar name of the author. Books which are as many gifts to all of us.
Only later did I approach this group formed inside contemporary Romanian culture. My reason was maybe that, by postponing the encounter, I would show up as a better, wiser, worthier applicant. Reading first and writing afterwards, i.e., after having put one’s understanding to the test. This is, I think, the lesson taught to us by the Contemporanul issue after issue, online project after online project, one book after another. The journal is waging a war using the inimaginable power of the printed word – and who else is doing that today with such ardour and irrepressive faith – in order to keep alive the European idea out of which Romanian culture itself was born? Its language and the people speaking it today were born at a kairos hour of history, once with the entry of an arrested autochthonous identity into authentic duration: the ancient Roman world, the original civilization of Europe. The Contemporanului Journal is now gathering the fruit of this war, which is primarily a war with oursleves. Sub specie historiae, a war for ourselves, so as to be able to see others and be seen as we are, as we should be seen, as demanded by The Truth.
Prof. Virgil Nemoianu (Washington): If not the first then my second job with me barely past twenty was at The Contemporary. It was a journal open to the world, at least to the extent that was possible back then in the early 60s. I was happy to see the journal coming through even if in a much changed form. I seem to identify a certain non-conformism, a sanitarian and healing one, in its pages. I wish it endure and go ahead on the same tracks. One feels the need for some diversity in the media of Romania’s capital city, doesn’t one?
Dragoş Nelerşa: The Contemporanul team are a source of authentic culture, of quality journalism. I relish each issue. My congratulations to Aura Christi, Nicolae Breban, and to the entire Conte Team. .
Cătălin Ghiţă: The Contemporanul Journal is a quality paper housing cultural debates on challenging themes and promoting uncommonly courageous positions in the public sphere of discourse. Thanks to first-rank contributors, such as Irina Petraş, Ştefan Borbély or Ion Simuţ, the journal has secured a faithful and enthusiastic readership. I wish success to the entire team!
Constantin Coroiu: The campaign instrumented by the Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal around the promotion of authentic Romanian values seems to be most welcome in this age of surfaces when the critical spirit and the enlightened, creative patriotism are spiralling down. It is this journal that fuels my conviction that the ”impossible demolition” of our cultural assets is not just an illusion of mine. Neither is resistance through culture, which has been talked about extensively and superficially these 23 years, an empty word. It is the condition of our survival as a nation. This is all that has not yet been taken away from us. Everything else has been bought and stolen as one feels to do in an unguarded forrest. The forrest too, by the way …
Dana Duma: I am not only a contributor to the Contemporanul Journal but its reader as well. The truth is I feel good every time I open a new number. The journal disseminates interesting ideas and names that deserve being read. The only shortcoming is its rare periodicity.
Constantina Raveca Buleu: The exceptional intellectual level of the journal’s guardian spirits, Aura Christi and Nicolae Breban, who are worthy legatees of the prestigious Contemporanul tradition, calls for a curtsey. The cultural stock of a journal founded in the late nineteenth century, magnified by the magnetic human warmth emanating from its managers create a space of free expression and demanding standards. One cannot fail to remark an idealism quite at odds with out ugly and pragmatic age, the energy of far-reaching projects, and, especially, the will to open a new direction forking away from the one already traced by our cultural institutions.
Călin Căliman: The Contemporanul Journal is for me the most beautiful four-leaf clover of my life. Not just because last summer was the 56th of my column contributed to it (everey week, for years, every month, more recently), but because its cultural and civic initiatives continue to be substantial and engaging. Enduring has also been the steady promotion of authentic Romanian values. I go through all the pages, one number after another, reading affectionately and approvingly. A team of excellent contributors from all generations, guarantors of continuity, with skilled, intelligent and devoted journalists in the lead. Turning this monthly back into a weekly periodical would be a good idea, reminding one of the time when tens of thousand professors, students and professionals were avidly waiting for Friday in order to read the mysanthropist optimist’s column (G. Calinescu’s). A heartfelt thanks to those who address me with a friendly „Mister Contemporanul”!
Carmen Duvalma: The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal is an original publication in its effort to promote national and world values. Personally I experience a sense of freedom, an open attitude as never known elsewhere, as here I feel appreciated for what I am, irrespective of my commitment to one or other of the cotteries founded by our contemporaries. It is obvious that this atmosphere, this blue sky would not exist without
Nicolae Breban and Aura Christi– an invincible team, sharing a common ideal.
Olimpia Iacob: The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal? Yes, a secret desire of all poets to see their works translated and published here. For me, a candle burning for my crucified people …
Liviu Antonesei: In my opinion, the Contemporanul Journal and its associated publishing and institutions are together one of the most efficacious instruments of foregrounding our national culture. I’m having in mind both the classical and the lived culture that is being created under our own eyes. I have reasons to thank the Conte team for publishing my work as well as reviews of my books. I wish them a prosperous future.
Teşu Solomovici (Israel): The Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal has become a cultural battery for our progress to truth and beauty. From my place which is thousands of kilometers away from Bucharest, I watch with curiosity and satisfaction your labour, waiting for each new issue as well as for news about your projects. May Nicolae Breban and Aura Christi and all their eminent contributors live on in good health as living pieces of that spiritual engine which is called Contemporanul. We need you and feel grateful for what you are doing.
Livia Cotorcea: Our national culture, history, religion and psychology, our mental make-up, analyzed comparatively with those of other nations are the ground for defining our identity and for measuring the level we have reached on an international scale of values at the turn of the twenty-first century. Entering these issues on your editorial agenda is an act of courage and an act of will to culture of remarkable energy showing at the same time the desire to break up with an ideological climate more propitious to stifling than to encouraging the blooming of authentic values.
The Contemporanul Journal has assumed such tasks of aesthetic and cultural import, undertaking also an ethical revaluation of our culture’s relevance and specificity, of our specific mode of relating to history, to geographical, cultural and human neighbourhoods. The editors’ enthusiasm, good faith and efficiency are unique in our time, a merit which deserves being supported by the government through state-funded publishing and translations. Such projects would well serve Romanian classics and contemporary writers in a comparative assessment as that suggested by the contributors to the Contemporanul Journal.
Irina Ciobotaru: Intellectually and psychologically, we are culture-dependent. Our identity is culturally constructed. Our national culture is grafted on the deep marrow of our being like some pia mater. It is grafted on European culture too. Nothing of what I’m saying is new. Everything is axiomatic. And yet … Why all this tension then when one mentions national culture, national intellectual landmarks, the national cultural elite? It is not values, landmarks or elites that sound disturbing but this adjective: ”national”…. Any appeal to their promotion is then in vain. In no other European country does one need to spend so much energy in order to see their own values acknowledged. On the contrary, they are supported by generous and coherent cultural and educational programmes. The young ones are brought up in respect for values, and, in their turn, they will shape their children’s deferential attitude to identitarian values and high standards. My students grow up with a cynical grin in the corner of their mouths looking like a scar. They are not shown any genuine axiological landmarks and are unaware of their existence. Even if the curriculum might give them an idea of the literary canon, their out of school experience makes no room for the living culture. They live in the shadow of the rotten communist society, surrogate values are dished out to them, culture is programmatically replaced with entertainment. They are the objects of statistics, judged according to rates of graduation, employment, emigration…. But this life is all they have, and such a grey, bleak affair has it become with most of them …
This is the disturbing truth for many of us. The Contemporanul Journal has taken it upon itself to make this painful, exasperating truth public. Thereby it has become an inconvenient monitor. It has assumed the exhausting task of militating for high standards. All its actions are subsumed under this project of identifying and promoting an intellectual and cultural elite of authentic relevance. It is trying to earn a place for our culture, built on great precedents, among the nations of the world. It is waking people to an awareness of individual and collective identity. It is waking up my students out of their consumerist nightmare. For that I am grateful.
Magda Ursache: It is with a sense of danger, born out of his love for the nation that Petre Ursache confesses in his last interview with Mircea Dinutz for the Saeculum review: ”We are witnessing a change of paradigm, commuting from cultural to non-cultural, a war against nations under buzz words such as integration and effacement of identitarian features. Authentic values are not however random or surface aspects, they are vertically built, rooted in the abyssmal and eternal interiority of perfectly distinct and creative communities.” ”The solution? The scientific reconstruction of the past which does us credit in many respects, providing models of moral conduct.” It was anomia, the absence of resistance to the export of ideology that he hated, and I do too. That is why we are backing up the Conte campaign. The Eurofate of our culture is for the time in our hands. Just for the time …
Nicolae Bârna: Nobody doubts it that by keeping aloof from extremes and partisans of all kind, by publishing and promoting art works of seminal significance, the Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană Journal (along with the homonymous foundation and publishing house) has lately secured a unique place in the context of our national culture.
Constantin Severin: It is with great joy for me, as reader and writer, to share in the impressive saga of our national culture’s revival in a persuasive and authentic hypostasis which should have a far reaching impact on European and world culture. So much enthusiasm and effective energy would not have been possible in the absence of the Contemporanul team, guided by two major writers: Nicolae Breban and Aura Christi.
Contemporanul. Ideea Europeană, Number1, January 2013