“Full of Horror, but not Desperate”: Reflections on Social Violence in Mihail Sebastian’s Journal Cover Image
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“Full of Horror, but not Desperate”: Reflections on Social Violence in Mihail Sebastian’s Journal
“Full of Horror, but not Desperate”: Reflections on Social Violence in Mihail Sebastian’s Journal

Author(s): Emanuel-Marius Grec
Subject(s): Cultural history, Social history, History of Antisemitism
Published by: Editura Hasefer
Keywords: Mihail Sebastian; Journal; social violence; Holocaust; Romanian society;

Summary/Abstract: This article examines the ways in which social violence of the interwar Romanian society was reflected in the Journal of Mihail Sebastian. The Jewish Romanian author, writing in terms of his deep personal connection to both Romanian society and his own Jewishness, felt betrayed by the escalation of violence that had taken grip of his beloved Bucharest and country. His diary is much more than a personal recollection of events and feelings. Rather, it stands as an examination of Romanian society in its entirety: its eclectic moods, political scandals, social relations, as well as its propensity towards violence. An odyssey of suffering and a quest for hope, the Journal shows, more than any other historical document, the moral decay and rationalization that befell a society under the influence of authoritarian thinking. In this short piece I look at how the Journal reflected the tenors of Romanian society. In this sense, I examine the main themes and ideas of the work, as well as what it represented for the author himself and what it came to mean for those that engage with it. Furthermore, I show how the Journal links up with other works of Sebastian to expose the escalation of violence in interwar Romania and its increased acceptance among both the intellectual elite and wider population. In other words, the paper looks at how Sebastian’s work dealt with the darkness that started falling over Romania and Europe in the 1930s and ‘40s.

  • Issue Year: 2020
  • Issue No: 4-5(20-21)
  • Page Range: 188-196
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: English