Editor's Note - The Unsuspected Charm Of Confession

Is a diary sometimes tantamount to confession and, if so, is it, most often, a sincere one? Is it also a means of self-liberation? The most delightful diaries, although usually set off by outside shocks, by major events or dramatic situations, reveal above all the confidential moral and esthetic side of an individuality.Should diaries be considered a literary genre? They undoubtedly earned this right, together with memoirs, correspondence, testimonies, travel notes and other subspecies of what a great critic and esthetician, Tudor Vianu, classified as subjective literature.Are diaries to be considered documented proofs? The answer is yes again, insofar as they are genuine testimonies of their epoch, recorded by outstanding individuals. A good travel journal, for instance, will be an accurate "temperature record" of its time and, as a repository of scientific observation, will become history, such as the great scholar and explorer Emil Racoviţă's, excerpts of which were published several years ago. Essentially, a diary may be one of the most precious documents, irrespective of its initial – political, religious, literary, etc. – intentions.This issue contains selections from the diaries (and, in three cases, Eliade, Constante and Maria Cantacuzino-Enescu, memoirs bordering on would-be diaries in retrospect) of Romanian personalities who, confronted with others and with crucial historical events of the 20th century, sometimes as victims, will cast a surprising, if not sensational, light upon things we have been taking for granted, if only to silence faultfinders who claim that diaries are obsolete. The editors must once again acknowledge their regrets at not including, for reasons of space, remarkable personalities – and diarists or memoir authors, in this case – such as Gala Galaction, Eugen Ionescu, Pericle Martinescu, Petre Pandrea, Geo Bogza, George Georgescu, I. D. Sârbu, Monica Lovinescu, Radu Petrescu, Florin Mugur, Mircea Zaciu, Mircea Cărtărescu – to cite very few.The diary upsurge that, despite the TV and internet rage, took over Romania in the 1990s, after five decades of communism that smothered free expression and the reappraisal of national history, confirms the solid reputation that such literature continues to enjoy.

by Aurora Fabritius