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Flying Against the Arrow
An Intellectual in Ceausescu's Romania

Horia-Roman Patapievici is a leading intellectual in contemporary Romania. He received his MA in Physics and his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Bucharest. He is a writer, essayist and a researcher in the field of the history of science. He is also involved in politics: he is a member of the National Council for the Search of Security Archives.

Translated by Mirela Adascalitei


Translated from the best selling Romanian edition, Flying against the Arrow, this quasi-autobiographical book describes the life of an intellectual living under extreme political conditions, paying particular attention to the ‘unbearable 80s’. The book vividly portrays the difficulties encountered by a young intellectual trying to shape himself under the oppressive Ceauşescu regime and provides a stark depiction of a man’s intellectual suffocation under hard-line socialist rule. The book’s overall significance is therefore far more wideranging than just Romania or the 1980s.


"There is a feeling unpleasant to the writer; namely that what is said darkens the capricious richness of life. That I used this to be the way in which I describe myself is beyond question, and yet, if the meaning is well enough expressed, the immediate body of my already shattered life is not quite there… All that cannot become intelligence is condemned to perish, which is unfair. No increase of intelligence can be achieved without a preliminary mutation in the refining of sensibility. To talk endlessly about what you have thought is vain and deceiving… When you do not believe in miracles you are likely to have a distorted vision of what a miracle is: you believe that a miracle is something which does not happen. On the contrary, what is characteristic of a miracle is its presence.” – Excerpt from the Book


“This is indeed a unique writing in Romanian culture, mainly owing to its quality as a moral and intellectual Bildungsroman, in effect unprecedented to this date. An exciting book, extremely inquisitive, sparkingly elegant and always freshingly invigorating.” - Mihaela Lidia Irimia, University of Bucharest , Romania

2003, 262 pages
ISBN 978-963-9116-57-3 cloth $55.00 / €46.95 / £40.00