Minor Cultures, National Culture, and the Administration of Culture
Carmen Andras (Targu Mures, Romania)
Images of Romania in Contemporary British Fiction
If in the past Romania's condition of in-between ness made it very difficult (or even impossible) to be defined, compared and classified, in terms of its hybrid historical, geographical, cultural, social or psychological characteristics by the British visitors, nowadays Romania is a puzzle even more difficult to solve. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Romania does not represent the epicentre of evil anymore, but neither does it concentrate what is valued as good in the West. Now, good and evil are mixed giving birth to images always coloured in grey, lacking in individuality, stability, character, honesty. Nothing is what seems to be in Romania, and British writers waver between extremes of feelings and opinions. Nevertheless they keep looking for a genuine Romania, and this search becomes both a psychological quest of the Other (and, at the same time of the self engaged in an initiating experience) and a detective investigation about a character whose destiny is in close relation to the narrator and to Romania. Even if these Romanian "cases" remain unsolved, keeping their aura of mystery and insecurity, British novelists such as Alan Brownjhon, Paul Bailey, Helena Drysdale, and Bel Mooney keep their eyes and minds open to the Romanian realities. They are actually visiting Romania often and can really communicate with the people, finding what is commonly shared in Romanian and British culture. The study applies to the methodology of imagology and comparative cultural studies.