The Pãltinis Diary

A Paideic Model in Humanist Culture
Out of print
Out of print
Publication date: 
260 pages

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 Pãltinis 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 Pãltinis 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 Pãltinis 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.

Commuting to Castalia: Noica's `School`, Culture and Power in Communist Romania by Sorin Antohi

By way of preface

Pãltinis Diary
21st to 24th March 1977
2nd to 12th October 1977
12th to 19th Novermber 1978
11th to 28th December 1978
17th to 25th February 1979
27th Semptember to 5th October 1979
21st to 26th January 1980
23rd to 25th March 1980
19th to 22nd November 1980
October to December 1980
19th to 25th January 1981
7th to 11th May 1981
July 1981

Addendum to a biography

"The Pãltinis 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 Pãltinis 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... more
"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."