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Ion Vianu

Biography

Ion Vianu (b. 1934) is a psychiatrist, essayist, novelist, and writer of memoirs. He emigrated from Romania in 1977. He has published articles and studies on the history and philosophy of psychiatry in Romania and abroad, and distinguished himself as a regular contributor to Radio Free Europe. Published volumes : Introduction to Psychotherapy (1975), Style and Person (1975, Prize of the Romanian Writers’ Union), Memories in Dialogue (in collaboration with Matei Călinescu, 1st edition: 1994, 2nd revised and expanded edition: Polirom, 1997, 3rd edition : Polirom, 2005), Paramnesias (2005), Curse and Blessing (essays, Polirom, in collaboration with Editura Biblioteca Apostrof, 2007). Polirom has also published two novels from his Archive of Betrayal and Rage cycle : The Notebooks...

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Fiction Ltd." series, Polirom, 2010, 408 pages

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

“THE NOVEL OF AN EDUCATION,” as the author subtitles it, Amor Intellectualis recounts the story of a sentimental and intellectual upbringing against the backdrop of a turbulent period in history: the communist seizure of power in Romania and the years in which the regime entrenched itself. The adolescence of the hero, with its erotic initiations, intellectual explorations, and conflicts between body and soul, is an occasion for pages that are as piquant as they are picturesque, and all the more convincing for their frankness. Likewise the gallery of character portraits: friends, and also disciples and close associates of the Great T. (the author’s father: philosopher, poet and critic Tudor Vianu), bound to him by the ties of an amor intellectualis magistri. Gradually, the personal history fades into the background, as the tragic story of the disappearance of a world and a generation looms ever larger...

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Excerpt from

Critics about

Novel, "Prose" collection, Cartea Romānească, 2008, 160 pages, format 130 x 200 mm

Copyright: Polirom

Translation rights sold to: All rights available

Book presentation

In a small town in western Europe, two men, Daniel and Joseph, become good friends, after discovering a shared passion for making female conquests.
His pointless visits to an ungifted, indifferent and vulgar psychoanalyst bring Joseph face to face with Daniel.
The stories begin to flow, rather like in the 1001 Nights. Ladies with “veils and silks” ; Hélène, the former prostitute ; Fatima, the mysterious Maroccan ; and the beautiful, elegant and liberated Ingeborg are just some of the episodic female characters, partners in erotic adventures, who fall prey to the insatiable libertine desire for sexual conquest shared by the two Don Juans.
After an ad-hoc transformation into a psychotherapist, Daniel listens to Joseph’s stories and begins to recognise himself in them – a declared “proletarian” of sex, a cynical hunter of orgasms. Through a symbolic trick of mirrors, the actions of the two characters seem to reflect each other, creating the impression of a “double” who rests under the sign of multiple deaths foretold and of surprising reversals of situation.
Joseph accepts himself and is accepted by others as “the unbeliever” until the moment when a beautiful Muslim woman asks him to renounce his Christian faith in order for them to be together. And he accepts… The unscrupulous individual, the convinced atheist, who is even hostile to the Church, cannot, however, bear the shame of his betrayal of Christ, and he comes to yearn for death. On looking in the mirror once more, Don Juan sees himself as Judas. This is the culminating moment of Joseph’s existence. But once saved, he will be transformed only in appearance, continuing to seek his own identity.
The encounter with Joseph forces Daniel to accept his own condition, that of a second-rate “unbeliever,” a lamentable conqueror, driven in all his amorous liaisons by a ferocious egotism.
Ion Vianu’s short novel plumbs the darkest reaches of the masculine Eros, in a West where psychoanalysis has come to be the sole religion, the confessional has been transformed into the couch, and the moral imperative is a febrile search for pleasure.

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