Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 11, 2016

“The Americans are Rumored to be Eccentrics”: On Los Angeles through the Romanian Cultural Lens

Georgiana Lolea

Abstract

My essay brings into focus the ways in which Petru Comarnescu – the first Romanian Americanist – depicted the Los Angeles of the late 1920s, and it shows that his cultural encounter triggered both processes of representation and of misrepresentation, giving rise to varying cultural constructions of place. This is tied to the fact that making the new and unfamiliar meaningful presupposes a continuous process of ‘translation’ laden with approximations, misconceptions, distortions, half-truths, and varying authenticities. When Comarnescu sought to pin down otherness, it was the familiar which resurfaced, and the cultural heritage of the place left behind ‘taught’ the traveler what and how to see. In doing so, travel writings could best exemplify that cultural boundaries are fluid and permanently drawn and redefined.


Corresponding author: Georgiana Lolea, PhD, Department of Modern Languages and Literature, West University of Timişoara, Office 422, 4 Vasile Parvan, 300223 Timişoara, Timiş, Romania, e-mail:

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Published Online: 2016-3-11
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

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