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Academic Freedom. The Global Challenge
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From Central Planning to the Market by Libor Žídek

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Landscapes of Disease - Malaria in Modern Greece
Katerina Gardikas

Nationalism and Terror - Ante Pavelić and Ustasha Terrorism from Fascism to the Cold War
Pino Adriano and Giorgio Cingolani

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The Păltinis Diary

Gabriel Liiceanu, is a brilliant philosopher and Professor of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest.

The intellectual resistance to totalitarian regimes can take many forms. This remarkable volume portrays one such story of resistance in Romania during the reign of Ceausescu: that of Constantin Noica, one of the country's foremost intellectuals.

Noica was an original thinker belonging to the remarkable intellectual generation of important figures such as Mircea Eliade, E.M. Ciorin and Eugene Ionescu, but he chose to stay in Romania after the communist takeover when many others fled. Harassed and jailed for six years, Noica retreated to the mountains and gathered around him some brilliant young minds and future talent to challenge and nurture them in a time when communism denied them the materials of true intellectual importance.

This group of students withdrew to Noica's retreat for intensive philosophical sessions to debate the works of Kant, Plato, Heidegger and discuss humanistic values. The author of this volume Liiceanu, himself a brilliant philosopher, was Noica's closest disciple and during every meeting he noted every conversation in a diary which came to be known as The Păltinis Diary. These conversations were secretly published and quickly devoured by intellectuals in Romania who were prepared to sacrifice part of their food provisions to acquire the book. The Păltinis Diary sold out within a matter of days and because of Secret Police censorship and was not published again in Romania until 1991 by which time Noica had died and the group had disbanded to help with the reconstruction of post-Ceausescu Romania.

The Păltinis Diary is a wonderful homage to an intellectual master and to the power of intellect and freedom. The book will be of interest to philosophers, non-philosophers alike, and to anyone who seeks to grasp the true meaning of survival under totalitarian conditions.

"The Păltinis Diary... would be difficult to summarize, because it 'encapsulates the substance of a whole culture.' Further, it encapsulates a spirituality and a view of culture that have enormous weight, despite their problematic history and antecedents. The Diary is dominated by the figure of the philosopher Constantin Noica, and his project of maintaining, even in the darkest years of Ceausescu's communist dictatorship, an informal school... devoted to high culture--especially philosophy--in a remote mountain village... It is easy to see why The Păltinis Diary invoked such a passionate response when it was published, and why for a time even photocopies of the book could fetch high prices. Anyone who reads the Diary carefully will find that Noica attained his goal of intellectually mastering the western canon, and of spiritually residing somewhere near the heart of European culture... What is one to make of such a record of peculiar place and time?... No terror is left to the slain dragon of communist dictatorship. But it is completely probable that the end of history has not arrived, and that resistance might again be called for. Might we not, one day, stare into the 'cosmic night' of total technocracy?... But there is another side of Păltinis. The Diary offers a very appealing vision of mutuality and companionship, and devotion to scholarship and ideas, in a moral setting created and reinforced by the conditions of political tyranny... This edition begins with an important, critical introductory essay by Sorin Antohi, professor of history at the Central European University in Budapest, and editor of the series in which this volume appears. Antohi offers an erudite introduction to the milieu of Păltinis, its historical antecedents, and the cultural context of Noica's thought. The translation by James Christian Brown seems clear and convincing, and the book features a wonderful glossary of Romanian scholars and thinkers." - East European Politics and Society

"Als das Jurnalul de la Paltinis (Das Tagebuch von der Hohen Rinne) 1983 in Bukarest erstmals erschien, wurde es bald zu einem vielbeachteten Werk. Die Auflage von 8000 Exemplaren war schnell verkauft, und Kopien auf dem Schwarzmarkt wurden für bis zu 200 Lei behandelt (der Ladenpreis war 9 Lei). In einer Zeit, als das Ceausescu-Regime immer unerträglicher wurde und in der die Kultur bzw. die Geistwissenschaften stark auf eine nationalistisch-protochronistische Linie ausgerichtet waren, die letzlich das Regime zu legitimieren hatte, musste ein werk wie das vorliegende einer nach geistiger Nahrung dürstellenden Elite wie eine Offenbarung vorkommen." - Zeitschrift für Siebenbürgische Landeskunde

250 pages
ISBN 978-963-9116-88-7 cloth $27.95 / €24.95 / £22.99
ISBN 978-963-9116-89-4 paperback $22.95 / €19.95 / £17.99

Published in the series:
Central European Library of Ideas
ISSN 1586-6335