Item description for The Paltinis Diary: A Paideic Model in Humanist Culture (Central European Library of Ideas) by Gabriel Liiceanu...
The intellectual resistance to totalitarian regimes can take many forms. This remarkable volume portrays one such story of resistance in Romania during the reign of Ceausescu: that of Constantin Noica, one of the country's foremost intellectuals.
Noica was an original thinker belonging to the remarkable intellectual generation of important figures such as Mircea Eliade, E.M. Ciorin and Eugene Ionescu, but he chose to stay in Romania after the communist takeover when many others fled. Harassed and jailed for six years, Noica retreated to the mountains and gathered around him some brilliant young minds and future talent to challenge and nurture them in a time when communism denied them the materials of true intellectual importance.
This group of students withdrew to Noica's retreat for intensive philosophical sessions to debate the works of Kant, Plato, Heidegger and discuss humanistic values. The author of this volume Liiceanu, himself a brilliant philosopher, was Noica's closest disciple and during every meeting he noted every conversation in a diary which came to be known as The Paltinis Diary. These conversations were secretly published and quickly devoured by intellectuals in Romania who were prepared to sacrifice part of their food provisions to acquire the book. The Paltinis Diary sold out within a matter of days and because of Secret Police censorship and was not published again in Romania until 1991 by which time Noica had died and the group had disbanded to help with the reconstruction of post-Ceausescu Romania.
The Paltinis Diary is a wonderful homage to an intellectual master and to the power of intellect and freedom. The book will be of interest to philosophers, non-philosophers alike, and to anyone who seeks to grasp the true meaning of survival under totalitarian conditions.
Part of the new series Central European Library of Ideas a series of books that will shape and fuel current Central European debates. The series editor, Sorin Antohi, and an international advisory board will select the most innovative and challenging titles that set the intellectual agendas of whole societies, or which take issue with central concerns in the region. The series will be of interest to anyone concerned with the current ideologies shaping the future of Central and Eastern Europe.
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Studio: Central European University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.5" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Publisher Central European University Press
ISBN 9639116882 ISBN13 9789639116887
Availability 0 units.
More About Gabriel Liiceanu
Liiceanu is Professor of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest. He is founder and director of the publishing house Humanitas.
Gabriel Liiceanu currently resides in Bucharest. Gabriel Liiceanu was born in 1942.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Paltinis Diary: A Paideic Model in Humanist Culture (Central European Library of Ideas)?
Butter vs Culture. Dec 31, 2002
Philosophy is a way to leave your life. This book helps you to understand better the difference between this two questions: "What are you doing for living?" and "What are you doing in life (or better with your life)?". You have to make the choice between "butter" and "culture". But when Noica talks about culture, he doesn't mean: food, clothing, religion or holyday customs. Noica talks about having the "Greek Miracle" and the" German Idealism" as the only tools which will help you to do CULTURE (Philosophy). So let's start to study Ancient Greek for the "Greek Miracle" and German for the "German Idealism" so maybe we can answer the second question: What are you doing in life ?.
Unspoken Truths Oct 20, 2000
There were many forms of resistance under communism and we don't know them all yet. Liiceanu's Paltinis Diary constitutes such an example no doubt. Articulated as a reverential homage to Constantin Noica, Liiceanu's master, this book is full of insights into a subculture of intellectual resistance through the "paideic model" to communist ideology and dogmatism generally. The "master" also seems to be proposing a resistance to "modern rationality," or capitalism, into culture, spiritual elevation, and political passivity, as a form of legitimate apolitical disengagement. Today, the west is generally used to identify forms of resistance to communism with the help of a tripping "grand theory" of dissident-intellectuals: active, politically militant, promoting "socialism with humane face" or outright liberalism. Think only of Adam Michnik, Václav Havel, the leaders of the Solidarity movement in Poland, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, or the technocratic elite in Hungary. But what could one do in Romania under a tyrant, Ceausescu? Nothing? This book is indicative that subversive resistance existed and that if dissent was impossible to utter in the open air, a duplicitously undermining complicity managed to leave some gray areas for alternative knowledge.
If there are some moral problems in this form of Noica apolitical resistance, then these are exactly the lack of any intention of engaging into political action, in any form, in any way. We are left with some kind of a disconcerting idea of mystico-humanistic deliverance. There is also a sectarian feeling traversing the book--which is also understandable in light of Ceausescu's cruelly autocratic governance--but one keeps wondering if the paideic model is an elitist formula for a "city of gods." What about the average Romanian citizen, student, reader--in either communism or post-communism? How could such a paideic model empower them change their "human condition" and command them as masters over their own destiny as individuals, as "citizens of the polis?" Yet another problem is the total absence of a critical discussion over Noica's fascist past as an intellectual-legionnary in interwar Romania. The distinction between, on the one hand, Noica, Mircea Eliade Emil Cioran, and their master Nae Ionescu, and, on the other hand, the Iron Guard, the legionnaries par excellence, is quite significant, but there is no debate about this issue in the book, at least in a preface or introduction. One wonders if this is not an effort to mystify uncomfortable unspoken truths. It is a great mistake to leave Noica's past open to speculation and re-appropriation by ill-intentioned neo-fascists. On the other hand, a critical engagement into the political positioning of this interwar generation of intellectuals would clarify if and how such a political dedication could alter Noica's philosophy, Eliade's myths, or Heidegger's philosophy, as various pros and cons have been voiced in this regard. Finally, are these things discussed in Romania or are they "politically incorrect" critical approaches? It is interesting that neither the publishing house nor the editorial review mentions such insights, which are normally studied in the history departments of any decent western university.
Nonetheless, the Paltinis Diary remains a valuable proof of "life under communism," of human aspiration for knowledge, of the particular intellectual conditions of Romania, and of challenging intellectual relationships between past, present, and future.