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Norman Manea

Aesthetics as East Ethics

Claudiu Turcuș

The book offers the very first critical biography on Norman Manea, a widely respected writer and multiple Nobel Prize Nominee. It follows two main objectives: an aesthetic interpretation of his literature and a contextualization of his ethical discourse. Manea's aesthetics is seen also as an Eastern European ethics, significant for the writer’s status while living and working under the Communist censorship in a totalitarian state and in the global context of World literature.

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Chapter III. The (Un)reality of Exile


1. The (Im)possible Return (The Hooligan’s Return, 2003)

The Bucharest chapter of Norman Manea’s biography ends with an anniversary. Surrounded by close friends in the apartment on Victoria Avenue, which will eventually remain just another past address, Augustus the Fool is preparing to become Leopold Bloom. The socialist equivalent of Dublin in the year 1986 facilitates his metamorphosis:

I was finally leaving, I refused to become a mere fictional character in the place where I had hoped to be counted as a writer, and I had accepted the fact that I was not going to die in the place where I had been born. And yet, in exile, what else was I about to become but a character in fiction – a Ulysses without country and language? However, there were no other alternatives, I had run out of excuses for delay (The Hooligan’s 127).

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