THE IDEA OF BIOGRAPHY IN G. CĂLINESCU’ S WORK
As Adrian Marino suggests in his Dictionary of Literary Ideas (Dicţionarul de idei literare, 1973), only with Călinescu alone “the biographical issue starts being diligently debated in Romanian literature”. However implicit, his particular way to cast aside a whole historiographic heritage drives the Romanian critic to a series of interesting remarks, though scattered in the miscellaneous articles and lacking a real “theoretical core”. Yet, since its one and only function is to explain the artist’s masterpiece, his consistent idea of biography is that it should be worked out as an “ideological synthesis” of all relevant moments from one’s existence and, on the structural level, as a novel narration. In a nutshell, he opposed romanced biography to biographical romance. Well, it is also true that our greatest literary historian used to say the “intimate” diary is nothing else but childish nonsense or, anyway, the most “stupid thing” to do, since, but for few exceptions, it does not raise to the standard of real literature. Anyway, the diffuse intimations – as shown by Eugen Simion’s version of Călinescu from Fals jurnal (False Diary) can assemble, in spite of the critic’s discretion, into a species of autobiography. Is it true then that Călinescu’s literature succeeds, as the author would have certainly wished for, in chasing away autobiographic accounts and in touching the myth’s classical and impersonal formula? Of course not! Barely does it fulfill this aim, and when it really scores, the purely subjective notes of the chore-voice cannot pass undertone. In spite of his principles from The Meaning of Classicism, when dressed in a writer’s robe, Călinescu is not, by any means, an anonymous and does not vanish from his own work. The individual signature lasts as a permanent presence, as well as the traces of the world he lived in, a world whose reality and concreteness is never fully transfigured into a realm of ideas.
Keywords: biography, romanced biography, biographical romance, autobiography, realism.