Interview with Prof. Ernest Latham on “Romanian Intellectuals” by Dan Dimancescu

Prof. Ernest Latham – Historian and Retired Foreign Service Officer. He served at the U.S. Embassy in Romanian early in the 1980s and developed a strong academic interest in Romanian history and culture. In more recent years he taught at the Babes-Bolyai Univ in Romania. The interview by Dan Dimancescu in Bran, Romania, is divided into seven segments.

Filmed by Nicholas Dimancescu – Copyright © Kogainon Films, Cambridge, MA

Asked about what qualities characterize Romanian ‘intellectuals’, Prof. Latham provides some keen insights as well the observation that the 20th century ‘intellectuals’ were principally of the ‘right’ ideologically – unlike those of most other western nations. The mentor was Nae Ionescu (see below). Most prominent internationally, in that regard, was Mircea Eliade.

ABOUT Nae Ionescu (1890-1940): His life’s work had a profound effect on a generation of Romanian thinkers, first for his studies on comparative religion, philosophy, and mysticism, but later for his nationalist and far right sentiment. Some of the figures he influenced include Constantin Noica, Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran, Mircea Vulcanescu, and Petre Tutea. The existentialist and partly mystical school of thought Ionescu introduced bore the name Trairism. Trairism intersected at several points with the ideology of the Iron Guard; the connection became even more direct when many of its adherents also publicly associated with the latter.

6: Romanian Intellectuals – 4:00 mn