From 1981 to 1983, Liviu Petrescu (1941-1999), lecturer of Comparative Literature with the “Babeş- Bolyai” University in Cluj, at the time accompanied his wife, Ioana Em. Petrescu (1941-1990, lecturer of Romanian Literature at the same University) to the University of California, Los Angeles, on a Fulbright scholarship. For both of them, that was the only period of their lives when they really lived in a Western world and could pursue their research in a Western university. These letters, sent by Liviu Petrescu, from America, to his parents in Cluj, provide us with a very significant picture of how two Romanian intellectuals could, in those times, relate to the free world, what were their expectations but also their difficulties when living there. A complete edition of the “American letters” sent home both by Liviu and Ioana Petrescu is to be published, based on the discoveries made in the family’s archives, which (after Liviu Petrescu’s death) were deposited at the District Library “O. Goga” from Cluj and are actually studied by a research group coordinated by Ioana Bot.

Keywords: Letters, intellectual history, Liviu Petrescu, Ioana Em. Petrescu, Romanian communist era.