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Political oratory and literature. A case of crossbreeding and contamination in 19th century Romania

Publication: The Proceedings of the International Conference Literature, Discourse and Multicultural Dialogue. Section: Language and Discourse, 1, p. 190-199
Editors:Iulian Boldea
Publisher:Arhipelag XXI Press
Abstract:At one with institutional up-to-date and state modernisation in the 19th century, Romanian political speech got through a process of formulation, settlement and clarification. After the ex-pulpiters had turned into laic orators, political speaking actually developed hand in hand with a growing class-awareness, which implied the following strategies: 1. the choice of the most persuasive approaches (visionary, commonsensical, technical, cultivated speech, and so on); 2. the creation of a masters’ gallery (public personalities who, in a relatively short time, took the lead in the ranks of eloquence); 3. the establishment of a tradition (corresponding to an increasing interest in the publication of political speeches, either fresh or cannonical).
The present paper inquires into the relationship between political speech and literary references, by ‘references’ understanding not only virtual allusions to literature, but also the political orators’ condition of former literati. On the one hand, the massive use of literary figures, as well as the appeal to quotation (one of the favoured speech techniques), points up an intrinsic ‘crossbreeding’ of political speech and literature. On the other hand, if we take into consideration the basic formation of personalities such as Mihail Kogalniceanu, I. C. Bratianu, C. A. Rossetti, B. P. Hasdeu, Titu Maiorescu, Petre Gradisteanu, Take Ionescu, Barbu St. Delavrancea, we discover an extrinsic contamination of political speech and literature, as all the names just mentioned were involved in literary business, whether as journalists or as aspiring writers.
Our presumption is that the stylistic mutations, the ideological sideslips and the generic mobility of modern political eloquence owe much to the specific production conditions within the context of 19th century Romania. First of all, the construction of Romanian political idiolect relates to the process of elites constitution and self-assertion; second, lacking the conditions of free speech, forum debate and democratic fairness, the political oratory is not cut according to a rationale of oral communication, but according to the rules of written discourse. After all, the texts issued by the great masters of Romanian eloquence illustrate an interesting crossbreeding and contamination between the strategies of oral and written communication.
Key words:Political oratory; Literary references, Literate orator, Eloquence, Written discourse
Language: English

Citations to this publication: 2

References in this publication: 0

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