A Man from the East and Another from the West

By Mara Magda Maftei.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The world changed dramatically because of both World Wars. Humans felt a strong urge to return toward nihilism, revolt and toward the absurd. The wars engendered the distrust of rationalism, of the Cartesian philosophy. This trauma produced a confessional type of literature, engaged in a political cause. The article first briefly presents the historical interwar context in Romania and France and the respective countries’ attraction to communism after the Second World War, especially because of the communists’ implication in the Resistance movement. The article, then, focuses on two philosophers, Cioran and Sartre, who devoted their writings to and against totalitarianism. If Cioran pledged for the Iron Guard in the 1930s, Sartre supported communism long after the Soviet invasion in Eastern Europe and despite the efforts of Eastern intellectuals to make all communist atrocities public. The political philosophies of both Cioran and Sartre are based on the same ingredients as their subjective philosophy: the man and his feelings toward the system. The two philosophers have many things in common. Both oscillated between being convinced liberals and experienced totalitarians, neither properly internalizing the benefits or side effects of either side. Even if this article represents just a bird’s eye view of Cioran’s and Sartre’s political options, there are many similarities among their subjective philosophies, influences and arguments deployed in their writings.

Keywords: Cioran, Sartre, Political Philosophy, Experimentalism, Iron Guard, Nae Ionescu, Communism

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.29-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 343.896KB).

Dr. Mara Magda Maftei

Ph.D. Reader, Foreign Literature, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania

Mara Magda holds a PhD in economics from the Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest and a PhD in literature from the University of Bucharest. She is also a PhD at the Université Paris - Sorbonne. She is an associate member at CERACC – Université de Paris 3 Sorbonne la Nouvelle. She is a reader at the University of Bucharest and has published around 100 articles in literary national reviews, scientific reviews edited by the Romanian Academy, international scientific reviews, and studies published in the volumes of international scientific symposia.