“umbra unei lumi”: Doina Rusti’s Fantoma din moara Uncovers Romanian Heritage in the Shadows

Today I started working on one of the two MLA papers I will be giving in January. Since there is no end to my Female Scribe project in the foreseeable future (at least that is how it feels at the moment), I figured I should make some simultaneous progress elsewhere – January is bound to be upon me sooner than expected.

I won’t post the the paper until after I have given it, but it won’t hurt to post some of the research I am doing in the meantime, especially since a lot of it probably won’t fit into the paper due to time constrains anyway. To begin, here is the original proposal:

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Determining nationality is never a straightforward endeavor, and this remains true in attempting to define being Romanian. In Doina Rusti’s Fantoma din moara she synchronously isolates the Romanian identity while examining its multifaceted pieces via an exploration across time and through disparate perspectives that all reify within the frame narrator.

This paper will orient Romanian recent history through a lens of mysticism that staunchly relies upon the written word to perpetuate itself.  History and fantasy hyper-spiritually combine as Rusti’s main character, Adela Nicolescu, unknowingly encounters her own biography, experiencing both past and present negating a temporal axis. Nevertheless, her lack of control over the material challenges the power that gives authority to authorship and brings to question the very premise of that title.

Thus, if authorship is questioned as Foucault would have us believe, and writing itself becomes a form of death according to Barthes, then the reader who usurps the role of author is thus positioned within a space to witness and transcend death. The hermeneutic activity of reading becomes the ethical area of relegating “author” to “other,” which, in Adela’s situation, as she remains author/creator and reader, the distinction becomes highly problematic, but nevertheless a space worth negotiating.

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Even though I know where I think this is going to go, I am very curious and excited to see where it actually ends up.

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