The Encyclopaedia of Outstanding Romanian Personalities
Cluj Napoca, 2013, Octavian Capatina, Corneliu Tarba, Constantin Craciun ...
Translated by Carmen Veronica Borbely
RisoPrint Cluj Napoca

Preface to the English Version

Added to historical ignorance, responsible for much trouble and many wars, is the contemporary phenomenon of globalisation; what is globalised, in fact, is ignorance, that which is ephemeral and superficial. Consequently, the purpose of this small “encyclopaedia” is to restore value, to give an account of the great men born among the Romanians, to lay a stone in the foundation of a life principle - respect. Wherever we have found texts about the prominent people we have selected, authored by outstanding representatives of Romanian culture, such as Eliade, Eminescu, Noica, Halipa, Iorga, Istrati, Prodan, Rebreanu, Țuțea, we have used them. We have resorted to the views of our great men of culture, often quoting their value judgments. Whether they have embarked on a systematic description of a particular personality and his work or not, the authors of this encyclopaedia have all aimed to emphasise quintessential values. For example, to render the portrait of the bio-speleologist Emil Racoviță, I have preferred a text written by Mircea Eliade, who sees beyond, into the depths of the research undertaken by the founder of speleology, instead of reproducing “standard” information, which is repeated in many other encyclopaedias. Likewise, instead of honest but dull narrative accounts relating to John Hunyadi and Stephen the Great, I have preferred to render the perspective of the same Mircea Eliade. Some “unknown” or relatively little known personalities have been allotted generous spaces; such is the case of Ștefania Mărăcineanu, who discovered artificial radioactivity and is not featured in Larousse or the Encyclopaedia Britannica or in the Brockhaus Enzyklopädie! Neither is Augustin Maior, the inventor of the simultaneous transmission of electrical signals on the same medium by multiplexing carrier frequencies, mentioned in these dictionaries that are known to be so prestigious. The philosopher Lucian Blaga, who retrieved the philosophy of culture from the morphological dead end to which Riegl, Frobenius or Spengler had relegated it, is also not mentioned in the aforementioned encyclopaedias, which contain instead references to trade union representatives, rugby players, skiers and second-rate politicians, who are of little cultural or political significance in history! Der Brockhaus mentions nothing about Hermann Oberth’s precursor - Conrad Haas - who, in around 1550, described multistage rockets! Finally, certain encyclopaedias still mistake some criminals for “heroes” and so on. Obviously, the fault lies equally with those who know but keep silent, because encyclopaedias are re-productions of earlier versions. Not all the difficulties have been surmounted because certain recent historical phenomena have not been decanted yet, and the reassessment of other processes is fully underway after the communist period. We have created, nonetheless, an opening that may bear fruit in the future. The 67 values belong to the following categories: science and technology, culture and the arts, moral values and leaders. We have thus brought to the attention of the readers not only the great creators of art, culture and science, but also the moral values that have marked Romanian and European history. We have given great attention to the moral values (Brâncoveanu, Grigore Ghica III, the coryphaei of the Transylvanian School, Eminescu, P. Istrati, Vulcănescu, Goma, Steinhart, I. D. Sîrbu), who represent universal values through their martyrdom, even though they manifested themselves in an obscure corner of Europe. There is a thread running through the entire construction: the vast anonymous creation, polished throughout millennia - the pre-Christian forms, essentialised and abstracted, the hoard awaiting for elite creators to valorise it - Blaga’s thinking, creators who may continue the work of Eminescu, Enescu, Brâncuși, Noica...

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