The Social, Political and Cultural History of an International Prestige Language
Edited By Vladislav Rjéoutski, Gesine Argent and Derek Offord
12. The Beginnings and the Golden Age of Francophonie among the Romanians
The cultural and literary contribution made to francophonie in the twentieth century by certain writers of Romanian origin who wrote in French has rightly been considered particularly striking and has consequently received much attention.1 However, France’s cultural influence on Romanian civilization, especially from the eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth, is also a topic that may yield some pleasing finds for researchers. From the late nineteenth century to our own day, it has occasioned many studies, including some, written in French, which have found a readership in France,2 where they have caused some surprise. How, for example, can one explain the appearance of francophonie, or more precisely Francophilia, if not Francomania, among the Romanians, whose history, not to mention ← 337 | 338 → their geographical position, had never had any points of contact with France? And when French political influence on Romanians’ destiny did become significant, especially from the time of the French Revolution of 1848 and the Second Empire (1852–70), it should be considered the effect rather than the cause of their francophonie. French influence would eventually give rise to Romanian writings in French, some of which may be said to belong to Romanian literature but others of which – by French-speaking writers of Romanian origin such as Dora d’Istria, Hélène Vacaresco, Anna de Noailles, Benjamin Fondane, Eugène Ionesco, Emile Cioran and so on – have enriched French literature.
It will be the aim of this chapter to examine the spread and impact of...
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