N. D. Cocea


N. D. Cocea
Nicolae Dumitru (N. D.) Cocea

Late 1930s photograph of Cocea
Born November 29, 1880(1880-11-29)
Bârlad
Died February 1, 1949(1949-02-01) (aged 68)
Sighişoara
Pen name Nely
Occupation journalist, critic, novelist, politician, activist, lawyer
Nationality Romanian
Period ca. 1898-1949
Genres satire, parody, essay, prose poetry, erotic literature, political novel, travel writing
Literary movement Symbolism, Naturalism, Modernism


N. D. Cocea (common rendition of Nicolae Dumitru Cocea, Romanian pronunciation: [nikoˈla.e duˈmitru ˈkot͡ʃe̯a], also known as Niculae, Niculici or Nicu Cocea; November 29, 1880–February 1, 1949) was a Romanian journalist, novelist, critic and left-wing political activist, known as a major but controversial figure in the field of political satire. The founder of many newspapers and magazines, including Viaţa Socială, Rampa, Facla and Chemarea, collaborating with writer friends such as Tudor Arghezi, Gala Galaction and Ion Vinea, he fostered and directed the development of early modernist literature in Romania. Cocea later made his name as a republican and anticlerical agitator, was arrested as an instigator during the 1907 peasant revolt, and played a leading role in regrouping the scattered socialist clubs. His allegiances however switched between parties: during World War I, he supported the Entente Powers and, as a personal witness of the October Revolution, the government of Soviet Russia, before returning home as a communist.

During the interwar period, Cocea was elected to Romanian Parliament as an independent socialist, campaigned for the outlawed Romanian Communist Party, and found his press banned by the authorities on several occasions. In 1923, he was found guilty of lèse majesté. Cocea, although kept under constant surveillance, was rumored to have been an opportunistic double dealer, and his personal life was a matter of public scandal. His novels, the vast majority of which are samples of erotic literature, fueled innuendo about his sexual exploits, which also resulted in his sentencing for statutory rape. After World War II, Cocea was again close to the Communist Party and, from 1948, rose to prominence as an official writer for the communist regime.

For a while the son-in-law of journalist Constantin Mille, N. D. Cocea was from a theatrical family: his daughters Dina and Tantzi, like his sister Alice before them, were acclaimed actresses. Another daughter, Ioana-Maria Cocea, is a noted sculptor.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Born in Bârlad, Cocea claimed lineage from the lesser boyar aristocracy of Moldavia region.[1][2][3] His father, Dumitru Cocea, was a Romanian Land Forces officer, later a general.[3][4][5][6] The family descended from an 18th century Albanian Moldavian Serdar Gheorghe Cocea,[7] but claimed lineage from a 16th century soldier in the armies of Michael the Brave.[5] Nicolae's mother Cleopatra was a published author and a journalist.[3] She came from family of yeomen (răzeşi)[7] or landowners, and her artistic education helped shape his cultural tastes from early childhood.[8] Although he made his name as a writer and journalist, his most ardent wish was to become an actor.[5]

Nicolae attended primary school in his native town, and had a hectic adolescence, shaped by his father's successive postings and making him move between high schools at regular intervals.[7] During the late 1890s, young Cocea was in Bucharest, attending the Saint Sava National College in the same class as Galaction, Arghezi and future novelist Vasile Demetrius, all of whom became his friends.[9] Another student, Ion G. Duca (the Prime Minister of Romania in 1933), was occasionally present among them, but political differences drew them apart with time.[9] The group's main interest was in left-wing politics, driving them to attend the conferences of senior socialist leader Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea.[10] According to literary historian Tudor Vianu, the four youths, including the "restless, daring and ingenious" Cocea, were mounting an independent protest against "bourgeois" values.[11]

In parallel, the eclectic four were becoming campaigners for Symbolism, Parnassianism and literary naturalism, together perceived as the modern shields against traditionalist culture.[10] Inspired by the works of Charles Baudelaire,[12] they soon joined efforts with the Romanian Symbolist movement, visiting Symbolist doyen Alexandru Macedonski[10]—although Cocea himself was reportedly first discovered as a writer by Symbolist academic Ovid Densusianu and his Vieaţa Nouă literary review.[13] Individually, Cocea rebelled against paternal and institutional authority. Under the pen name Nely, he published the defiantly erotic novel Poet-Poetă (1898, with a preface by Galaction), which resulted in his expulsion from public high school.[14] Around the same time, Galaction married Cocea's cousin Zoe Marcou, a laicized Romanian Orthodox nun; she would inspire him to become an Orthodox priest.[9]

Around 1900, Cocea, who had graduated in Law,[15] was in France, undergoing specialization at the University of Paris. At this stage in life, he was probably acquainted with the French roots of Romanian radical liberalism, which he blended with his left-wing activism.[16] A sympathizer of the Dreyfusards, he was also becoming interested in the project of transforming the Kingdom of Romania into a republic,[17] in marked contrast to his father's ardent monarchism.[5] He witnessed first-hand the progress of trade unionism in France, and had personal interviews with writer Anatole France and sculptor Auguste Rodin.[18] Cocea's sister Alice, the future comedienne, was born in Sinaia, where Dumitru Cocea was stationed in 1899, and also settled in France at a later date.[4] She was joined there by Cocea's younger sister, Florica.[4]

Socialist clubs and the 1907 revolt

Upon his return to Romania, Cocea was for a while employed as justice of the peace,[19] but was later largely inactive as a lawyer.[15] He began frequenting the Romanian socialist milieu. He was at the time married to Florica Mille, daughter of Constantin Mille, founder of Adevărul daily and co-founder of the Social-Democratic Workers' Party (PSDMR). She was from Mille's first marriage, which ended in divorce, and her sister Margareta was married into the Messerschmitt family of German industrialists.[20] Through Mille, Cocea became related to another Moldavian boyar family, the Tăutus.[2] Cocea's marriage, which resulted in the 1912 birth of Dina Cocea, was troubled and ended in divorce.[5]

Like some of the veteran socialists (Garabet Ibrăileanu, Henric Sanielevici, the România Muncitoare group), the young journalist made repeated attempts to revive and reunite the socialist clubs, left in disarray by the 1899 dissolution of the PSDMR.[21] Cocea, with Arghezi, Demetrius and Galaction, stood out for marrying this political ideal with the artistic credo of Symbolism. This unusual vision was preserved in the magazine the three published together during 1904, Linia Dreaptă ("The Straight Line").[22] In 1905, Arghezi left for Switzerland and entrusted Cocea with his collection of rare books, which Cocea reportedly lost some time later (this event marked the first rift between the two figures).[23]

With the March 1907 peasant uprising, N. D. Cocea's profile in political journalism was boosted. He is often indicated as the source for the account according to which Romanian authorities had killed 11,000 or more peasant insurgents: much circulated by Adevărul and other leftist publications of the period, the claim was later described by various researchers as a canard.[3][24] He himself eventually settled for a death toll of 12,000, claiming that, "had the peasants' bodies been lined up and down on Calea Victoriei", Romanian King Carol I of Hohenzollern could have walked over to Dealul Mitropoliei "on a soft rug of peasant flesh".[24]

During the actual revolt, N. D. Cocea was active on the lower course of the Danube, putting out a regional daily named Dezrobirea ("The Emancipation"). It was reputedly funded by a local banker, Alphonse (or Alfons) Nachtigal.[15] Drawing official suspicion for its republican agenda,[15] it was especially noted for fueling the revolt at a regional level. After the România Muncitoare circle organized a mass rally in Brăila, Dezrobirea's entire staff was arrested on orders from Prefect Nicolae T. Faranga, who also confiscated most of the printed issues (although some 1,000 were still freely distributed among curious peasants).[25] Cocea was eventually tried as an instigator, and sentenced to a term in prison.[18]

Upon his release, Cocea was one of the Romanian delegates to the International Socialist Congress, held by the Second International in Stuttgart.[26] It was there that Russian socialist opinion leader Vladimir Lenin publicized a thesis according to which the Romanian revolt and the Russian Revolution of 1905 were similar in nature and impact.[24] Back in Romania, Cocea was resuming his contacts with Dobrogeanu-Gherea, who was by then all but withdrawn from active socialist politics. As Cocea later wrote, the veteran leader confessed to him that he was being brought down by acute insomnia.[27]

The young activist was blending his socialism with a critic's interest in modern art and experimental literature. Literary historian Paul Cernat argues that, like Symbolist poet N. Davidescu, Cocea spent the 1900-1920 period disseminating modernist literature "on all fronts".[28] He made his name as an art critic by 1908, when, like Arghezi, he defended the Romanian post-Impressionist faction, whose members were being marginalized by the Tinerimea Artistică society, and saluted Iosif Iser's popularization of foreign post-Impressionist works.[29] The following year, Cocea was assigned the art column at Noua Revistă Română, an eclectic journal put out by Romanian thinker Constantin Rădulescu-Motru. His chronicles reflected the author's own militancy in support of modern art, urging artists to destroy "antiquated artistic formulas" and subvert "the laws of nature".[30]

Viaţa Socială, Rampa and Facla (first edition)

In February 1910, Cocea and Arghezi set up a new periodical, Viaţa Socială. The magazine, which received contributions from Dobrogeanu-Gherea, militated for universal suffrage, social equality and land reform, while informing about socialism worldwide.[31] It enlisted collaborations from a number of anti-establishment journalists, from agrarian militant Vasile Kogălniceanu and socialist physician Tatiana Grigorovici to writers Ion Minulescu, Lucia Demetrius or Constantin Graur, and republished contributions from some of Europe's known social critics: Eduard Bernstein, Rinaldo Rigola, Vsevolod Garshin, Leo Tolstoy, Jean Jaurès, Emile Vandervelde and Hubert Lagardelle.[15] According to Cocea's future friend and foe Pamfil Şeicaru, that year was also the time when Cocea, with Rakovsky, Ecaterina Arbore, I. C. Frimu and Ilie Moscovici, was in the "chief of staff" of the newly created Romanian Social Democratic Party.[32]

Culturally, this moment saw Cocea and his friends coordinating the transition from Symbolism to the early 20th century avant-garde.[33] This transition was also accelerated by art critic Theodor Cornel, who was for while a staff writer for Cocea's publication.[34] In his first Viaţa Socială editorial, Cocea himself deemed Arghezi "the most revolutionary poet" of the period.[35] His unsanctioned initiative to publish Arghezi's poem "Evening Prayer", as a sample of cultural rebellion,[36] greatly enraged the expatriated author.[37] They resumed their friendship a while after Arghezi returned from his Swiss sojourn, and Cocea, with Galaction, Dumitru Karnabatt and various others, frequented the salon formed in Arghezi's Bucharest home.[38]

Through Galaction's interventions, Viaţa Socială maintained links with the more mainstream and home-grown current on Romania's leftist scene, Poporanism, as well as with the post-socialist magazine of Iaşi, Viaţa Românească.[39] It also published several poems by the young Poporanist George Topîrceanu.[40] Also in Iaşi, the Viaţa Socială circle acquired a number of young disciples, involved in editing Fronda and Absolutio magazines: Isac Ludo, Eugen Relgis etc.[41] The traditionalist critic Ilarie Chendi however noted that Viaţa Socială as a whole failed, because the Symbolist and post-Symbolist contributors were not ardent socialists, and the combative socialists did not include any "notable poets or prose writers".[42]

Cocea was by then a frequented the anarchist boyar Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti, an art patron, cultural innovator and personal friend of Arghezi.[43] In 1911, he visited Italy together with Lagardelle, the French Syndicalist militant, and personally met with liberal theorists Benedetto Croce and Guglielmo Ferrero, as well as with Syndicalist Arturo Labriola and fellow journalist Giuseppe Prezzolini.[7] His travel account, which includes essays about art and civilization, was published the same year as Spre Roma ("Toward Rome").[44] Also in 1911, N. D. Cocea launched Rampa, a theatrical review originally published as a daily, and set up the independent socialist newspaper Facla.[45] The latter, identified as Romania's first socialist and satirical magazine by Arghezi himself,[46] was soon joined by the 18-year-old poet Ion Vinea, as literary columnist and campaigner for post-Symbolist literature,[47][48] with painters Iser[49] and Camil Ressu[50] as illustrators. The other noted contributors to Cocea's publications were Toma Dragu, Saniel Grossman,[46] Camil Petrescu[51] and avant-garde critic Poldi Chapier, whose 1912 article for Rampa chronicled the international success of Futurism.[52] Also featured were poems and translations by the post-Symbolist H. Bonciu.[53] Cocea's own contributions include the chronicle of a play by Henry Bataille.[54]

Alongside renewed attacks on Romania's cultural traditionalism, Cocea and Arghezi initiated a lengthy campaign in favor of universal suffrage.[55] Their articles and headlines were often sensationalist and provoking, variously calling Carol I, the aging King, Ploşniţa ("The Tick"), Gheşeftarul ("The Shop-Keeper") or Neamţul ("The Kraut").[56] At the time, Facla, with media support from Adevărul and the Romanian anarchist milieus, was staging its own mock trial for lèse majesté, in an attempt to taunt the authorities.[56] Facla's anticlericalism, specifically aimed at the Orthodox Church, formed part of a larger scandal which had earlier seen Arghezi renouncing his status as hierodeacon.[57] Likewise, the satirical antimilitarism of Cocea's Facla articles, in particular his mockery of General Grigore C. Crăiniceanu and his sons, resulted in his preemptive and dishonorable military discharge.[58]

Culturally, Facla was a leading adversary of traditionalist literature and the nationalist periodicals which supported it. Its attack was concentrated on Drum Drept and Convorbiri Critice magazines (through the voice of Vinea)[59] and on antisemitic historian Nicolae Iorga, who had claimed that Facla was a venue for Jewish Romanian interest.[60] Facla also inaugurated the conflict between Cocea and the Viaţa Românească Poporanists, whom Cocea attacked for their support of native sentiment in art, and progressively for their conjectural alliance with the dominant National Liberal Party.[61]

World War I, October Revolution and Chemarea

At an early stage in World War I, public opinion in neutral Romania was divided between the Entente Powers and the Central Powers, both of which held Romanian irredenta. In this context, the Francophile Cocea manifested himself as an outspoken partisan of Romania's alliance with the Entente.[62] There followed a split between Cocea and his erstwhile partners Arghezi, Galaction and Bogdan-Piteşti. The three were committed Germanophiles who proceeded to publish their own review, Cronica.[63] Chemarea, a mainly political magazine published by Ion Vinea in 1915, stood between the two groups, but was probably presided upon by Cocea, who allegedly came up with its name (lit. "the calling").[64]

When the 1916-1917 Campaign turned into a defensive war, N. D. Cocea joined the government and Land Forces on their retreat to Moldavia. Reunited with Vinea, he helped publish a daily named Deşteptarea ("The Awakening"), flirting with the Germanophiles and Zimmerwald neutralists, hotly criticizing the Ententist and National Liberal establishment.[65][66] He was nevertheless still an otspoken critic of public figures whom he branded German hirelings, from politician Alexandru Marghiloman to Arena newspaperman Alfred Hefter-Hidalgo.[65] As later acknowledged by Vinea, Cocea and his Deşteptarea colleagues had formed a conspiratorial "revolutionary republican committee".[67] Both of them were also affiliated with a wing of the Romanian Freemasonry.[68][69]

Later, Cocea made his way in the Russian Republic, Romania's Entente ally, and settled in Petrograd.[70] His activities there including printing a French-language magazine, L'Entente ("The Entente").[55] A resident of Hotel Astoria,[71] he witnessed first-hand the October Revolution, and became a pssionate supporter of the Bolshevik cause. He later claimed to have been present, on Revolution day, in the Petrograd Soviet hall, hearing the victorious speech of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin,[72] and to have later witnessed the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets.[73][74] As representative of the International Association for Information of the Labor Press of America, France, and Great Britain, Cocea exchanged notes with Lenin, interviewing him about the Bolshevik objectives and assuring Lenin that he was going to publish his replies verbatim.[75]

Under Cocea's direction (December 1917 to February 1918), Deşteptarea became a new edition of Chemarea. It was often issued with large blank spaces, the result of intervention by military censors,[65] and, after advertising its "radical socialist" agenda, was promptly shut down by the Alexandru Averescu cabinet[76] (Cocea later referred to Averescu as the organizer of "White Terror" in Romania).[77] Before its closure, the gazette had also published poet Benjamin Fondane's protest against the Ententist critique of his mentor Arghezi, branded a traitor.[78] In August 1918, Cocea, who was a strong critic of Romania's separate armistice with Germany,[65] launched Depeşa ("The Dispatch"), later a third edition of Chemarea. A new presence on these periodicals was writer Jacques G. Costin, who signed political pieces (including a denunciation of his other patron, Hefter-Hidalgo) and later the musical chronicle.[65][79] Its other staff writers were young men who later built career in the political press of various hues: Vinea, Demostene Botez, Alexandru Busuioceanu, Cezar Petrescu, Pamfil Şeicaru[65] and Adrian Maniu.[15] During this period, Cocea briefly left Iaşi to visit Bessarabia region, a former Russian province which was in the process of being united with Romania.[65]

Victorious in its lengthy conflict with Hefter's Arena, Chemarea eventually relocated to Bucharest, where it suffered from the nation-wide paper shortage.[65] It survived until November 1, 1919—when its lampoon of Romanian King Ferdinand I again prompted the intervention of military censorship.[76] On November 2, shortly before the general election day, Cocea profited from the temporary suspension of censorship to reissue the same paper, subsequently renamed Chemarea Roşie ("The Red Call"), then Facla, Torţa ("The Torch"), Clopotul ("The Bell") and again Chemarea (changes which were supposed to keep censors always a step behind Cocea).[80] These publications were attempts to revive and radicalize the socialist literary press, which had virtually succombed in Romania after the demise of Facla's first edition.[81] The Marxist critic Ovid Crohmălniceanu argued that such ventures had largely failed to revitalize socialist literature in Romania, "because they had not managed to have, in troubled times, a sufficiently clear vision".[82]

Parliamentary mandate

Cocea was elected to the Lower Chamber during the November 1919 suffrage (reelected during the May 1920 suffrage). He represented a non-partisan electoral list for Bucharest (the Citizen's List), whose other two candidates, physician Nicolae L. Lupu and lawyer Constantin Costa-Foru, also won seats.[83] Although officially an independent, he rallied with the Socialist Party of Romania in the Chamber minority group led by Gheorghe Cristescu and Ilie Moscovici.[84] Cocea's mandate was immediately contested by his National Liberal adversaries. They sought to invalidate his candidature, citing a law which prevented those with a military discharge from running in elections. The National Liberal motion was however defeated when Cocea, who presented himself as a political victim, earned unexpected support from the Romanian National Party and the Democratic Nationalist Party.[85]

In opposition to the People's Party and dominant anti-communist opinion, he spoke positively in Parliament about Soviet Russia, arguing that the Bolshevik foreign policy had saved the whole of civilization, and relaying the positive testimonials of war Romanian prisoners.[86] His theory, according to which the Comintern was a legitimate successor of the First International, contrasted with the more moderate reformism of another socialist deputy, Toma Dragu—a difference in opinion which announced a later schism between the socialist-communists and those who followed the Vienna International.[87] In one of his addresses to the Chamber (July 28, 1920), Cocea presented a vision of socialism that was neither "unilateral" nor "narrow", but suited to the needs of "all peoples and all times", and quoted from The Internationale.[88] Cocea's other speeches equated the October Revolution with the birth of Christ and glorified the Slavic soul, being ridiculed from the benches as samples of "Russian mysticism".[89] For a while, his sympathy gravitated toward the Peasants' Party. This Poporanist group, which reacted against National Liberal politics and sought peace with the socialists and the Soviets, was called "civilized and Westernized" by the socialist journalist.[90]

Cocea was progressively disappointed with the parliamentary system of Greater Romania. He argued that Parliament itself should be replaced with a technocratic body, elected by a form of universal suffrage more extended than Greater Romania's,[91] and clamoured his belief that "in short while, [...] Romania will be socialist."[77] In August 1920, he voted in favor of Grigore Trancu-Iaşi's National Liberal labor law, although he found it unsatisfactory—his stated belief was that the law's inequities would spark a "social revolution".[92] During December, following a general strike and a state of siege, Cocea and Lupu were behind parliamentary efforts to investigate the alleged murder of socialist activist Herşcu Aroneanu by People's Party authorities.[93]

When, in early 1921, Cristescu, Moscovici and the other socialist-communists established a Romanian Communist Party (PCR), Cocea became an outside sympathizer of their cause, protesting against their imprisonment and prosecution in the Dealul Spirii Trial.[94] In May and June of that year, when Chamber was assessing the case of Moscovici's seat, left vacant by his sentencing, Cocea asked for it to be filled by Constantin Popovici; Popovici, next on the electoral list, was himself under arrest.[95] His speech about "government terror" ended in a heated dispute with People's Party deputies Berlescu (whom Cocea called a descendant of Romani slaves) and Alexandru Oteteleşeanu.[96] Shortly before the 1921 suffrage, Cocea's Chamber statements labeled Conservative-Democratic leader Take Ionescu, the Prime Minister-designate, of being the pawn of King Ferdinand's "camarilla".[97] Early in 1922, Cocea joined Dem. I. Dobrescu and other prestigious lawyers on the Dealul Spirii Trial defense team.[98]

Facla revival and 1923 trial

In 1920, Chemarea came to its end, and instead Cocea put out another edition of Facla weekly.[76] The newspaper acquired offices in the Frascatti Hotel (later the Savoy branck of Constantin Tănase Revue Theater), redecorated by artist Marcel Janco.[99] According to political scientist Stelian Tănase, this enterprise was secretly financed by Soviet Russia as external agitprop, and reports of the Siguranţa Statului intelligence agency evidence that Cocea was a regular guest of the Russian mission in Romania.[3]

Cocea's disciple Ion Vinea went on to publish the magazine Contimporanul, originally as a socialist tribune, but later as a modernist forum.[100] Cocea was an occasional contributor to this venue, separated from its avant-garde core group by a less rebellious writing style and a more structured political vision.[101] In exchange, Vinea was an occasional contributor to Facla, particularly during those periods when Contimporanul was facing financial difficulties and appeared intermittently;[102] he was also the editorial director from 1925 to 1926 (the year when Facla again closed down).[47][103] Ion Vinea's own political articles were noted for their anti-National Liberal themes, claiming that liberal Romania was in reality a Brătianu family dictatorship, and campaigning for socialist groups.[103][104] Around 1924, the Facla group was also joined by "Red Prince" Scarlat Callimachi, a modernist promoter and communist militant,[99] by aspiring critic Şerban Cioculescu,[105] and by the Zionist opinion maker A. A. Luca.[106] Cocea was at the time the animator of cultural debates at Terasa Oteteleşanu, where he introduced the young novelist and journalist I. Peltz.[107][108]

The early 1920s also witnessed the diversifying of N. D. Cocea's civic and cultural interests. He became, in 1922, a member of the Romanian Friends of Nature, a socialist-inspired environmental organization, and, the following year, joined Dem I. Dobrescu in creating the League for Human Rights.[109] He was among the regular guests at International Red Aid "literary tea parties", later described by historian Adrian Cioroianu as "one of the ruses the communists used to collect money for their comrades in prison".[109] With Fondane, director Armand Pascal and various others, Cocea participated in creating Insula, a company of actors which was supposed to revolutionize Romanian theater but which disappeared after only a few months (February 1923).[110] He was later one of the intellectuals who gave moral support to the Jewish modernist Vilna Troupe upon its 1924 relocation to Bucharest.[111] That year, Cocea also published the book Ignoranţă ("Ignorance").[112]

After the adoption by a National Liberal legislature of Romania's 1923 Constitution, Cocea publicized his claim that King Ferdinand and his favorite minister Brătianu had legally cemented a plutocracy.[113] He was taken to court and lost, being sentenced for crime of lèse majesté.[3][15][113] Reputedly, the authorities also confiscated samples of Cocea's anticlerical fiction, recovered and published by Contimporanul in 1925.[114] Through the voice of Vinea, Contimporanul protested the decision, depicting Cocea's career as "a spectacle of modern dramatism".[113] The trial attracted significant attention among the Romanian youth, which divided itself into monarchists and republicans (as attested in notes kept by the very young Mircea Eliade, the later novelist and philosopher).[106]

Cocea's conduct was the topic of controversy throughout the early 1920s: in 1922, Cocea's influential modernist rival, the literary theorist Eugen Lovinescu, bitterly attacked him, Arghezi and Bogdan-Piteşti for their wartime conduct.[43] Noted for its xenophobic attacks on Contimporanul's editors,[115] the nationalist review Ţara Noastră celebrated the news of Cocea's arrest. An unsigned note in that paper announced that Cocea had been imprisoned "for the least of his crimes", while recalling Cocea's lampooning of Ţara Noastră editor Octavian Goga.[116] The antisemitic publicist Alexandru Hodoş called Cocea's supporters at Adevărul or Cuvântul Liber "Shabbos goyim", also suggesting that Cocea was a habitual prankster, a renegade of socialist parties and a dishonorable figure.[117]

Cocea eventually returned to life in freedom after serving his sentence of one year and a half at Craiova penitentiary, and paying the 10,000 lei fee.[3][15] He was afterward involved in pro-PCR agitation, speaking at rallies in Câmpina (1925), Soroca and Otaci (during the 1931 electoral campaign).[15] By 1929, Vinea and Contimporanul were toning down their socialist agenda, beginning a cooperation with the moderate National Peasants' Party and drawing suspicion from the left that they had become sympathetic to fascism.[118] Generally a critic of the National Peasantists,[7] Cocea quit Facla when it resurfaced during 1930, leaving Vinea in charge (Vinea was to lead the newspaper until its 1940 disappearance).[47][103]

1930s novels and Era Nouă

Over the next few years, N. D. Cocea was perceived as largely withdrawn from the political press.[119] He made his return to fiction writing in 1931, when his novel Vinul de viaţă lungă ("The Wine of a Long Life") was first published by Editura Cultura Naţională.[112] Its critical acclaim was unmatched by Cocea's later works in the genre, which critics often found unpalatable for their erotic content.[120] These include: Fecior de slugă ("The Son of the Servant"), published in 1933 by Cultura Naţională; Pentr-un petec de negreaţă ("Over a Black Patch", also known as Andrei Vaia), 1934, Alcaly Publishers, and Nea Nae ("Uncle Nae"), 1935, Alcaly.[112]

During that interval, Cocea was again brought into custody, tried and imprisoned for statutory rape, after eloping with Gina, 16-year-old orphaned daughter of the wealthy National Liberal politico Ion Manolescu-Strunga.[3] The liberties he took in public life and the provoking nature of his writings resulted in other polemics with the nationalists, part of a larger conservative crusade against pornography and the avant-garde. The traditionalist periodical Neamul Românesc, edited by Nicolae Iorga, included "Cocea Niculae" on its blacklist, as the third most offensive Romanian author (the avant-garde authors H. Bonciu and Geo Bogza were at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively).[121] In parallel, Cocea was becoming involved in a publicized controversy with his wartime colleague Pamfil Şeicaru, who was by then a figure similar to himself, but enlisted by the nationalists and traditionalists.[3][122]

By 1930, N. D. Cocea was again in touch with underground Communist Party, whose leaders were often Cocea's guests at Frascatti.[123] In 1934, he joined a group known as Amicii URSS, formed on the basis of a PCR initiative and formally seeking to normalize Romania's relations with the Soviet Union.[124] In November of that year, Siguranţa Statului was reporting that Cocea and Callimachi, together with Petre Constantinescu-Iaşi, were going to establish in Bucharest a "far left platform" with a "pronounced Semitic tendency"; known as Ideea Socială ("The Social Idea"), it was supposedly part of the Adevărul-Dimineaţa network.[125] The period also brought Cocea's brief and uneventful marriage with Lila Stănescu. She was in reality the lover of PCR activist Ion Gheorghe Maurer, whom the journalist continued to view as his friend.[5]

In 1936, the year when he married his long-time lover Gina Manolescu-Strunga,[5][7] Cocea again returned to the forefront of Romania's left-wing press, launching the theoretical magazine Era Nouă ("New Era"). Also a front for the PCR, replacing the previously banned Bluze Albastre of communist writer Alexandru Sahia, Era Nouă was itself shut down by the authorities in 1937.[126] It had published only two issues. In one of its internal reports, Siguranţa Statului noted that the first of these was inoffensively "academic", the second "agitatorial".[15] Elsewhere, the agents also noted that Cocea, with Dobrescu and Callimachi, was making efforts to assist the PCR activists tried in Chişinău, and trying to obtain further support from left-wing National Peasantists (Virgil Madgearu, Grigore Iunian).[125]

Era Nouă's main contributors were young communist essayists such as Sahia, Miron Radu Paraschivescu, Ştefan Voicu and Silvian Iosifescu, but the magazine also published avant-garde authors with Marxist sensibilities: Ion Călugăru, Stephan Roll, Virgil Teodorescu, Dolfi Trost[127] and Paul Păun.[128] These were joined by communist polemicists Ghiţă Ionescu and Belu Zilber.[128] In its first issue, Era Nouă prophesied that the general crisis of capitalism was evident in the rapid decay of "its culture and ideology", leaving the proletariat in a position to reinterpret mainstream culture "on the large basis offered by dialectical materialism".[129] According to cultural historian Zigu Ornea, such pronouncements, echoed throughout the communist press, were in reality a left-wing totalitarianism and, in practical terms, equivalent to fascism.[130]

Reporter magazine and tensions with the PCR

Cocea was reputedly pondering the relaunch of Chemarea as a communist newspaper, supposedly with Ştefan Foriş, the ex-convict head of PCR Agitprop, as its manager, and Paraschivescu, Voicu, as well as other Communist Youth activists, as co-editors.[15] Siguranţa men later claimed that Cocea had later shocked his communist partners by making it known that he intended to make Chemarea a "centrist" platform, with no known communist among its staff writers (and also that he had plans to establish another newspaper, Terra).[15] However, the senior socialist remained active in proximity to the PCR over the next year. In May 1937, he again caught Siguranţa attention as a would-be collaborator to Callimachi's anti-fascist review Munca ("The Labor"). Making overtures toward the National Peasantist left-wingers, Munca also received contributions from poets Mihail Cruceanu and Sandu Tudor, from sociologist Mihai Ralea and journalist Tudor Teodorescu-Branişte, and from writer-director Sandu Eliad.[125] In summer 1937, Azi daily published his renewed criticism of censorship, part of a series of replies to the moralistic discourse of far right journalists.[131]

He was again mandated by the PCR to lead Reporter weekly, beginning with its issue of November 1937. The periodical, already in existence for five years, was making efforts to become more accessible to the general public.[132] In an editorial for Reporter, Cocea made comments similar to the Era Nouă program, with a more pronounced satirical tone and allusions to fascism: "however massive the stupidity of dictatorial rules, man's intelligence, honesty in convictions [and] the fervor of the masses will in the end topple them. [...] The greedy satraps, the leeward adventurers have been tumbling down, one over the other."[133]

Reporter's agenda was generically anti-fascist: campaigning for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, it lampooned Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and repeatedly attacked the Iron Guard or other Romanian fascist groups.[134] Its political journalists included, alongside Voicu, Paraschivescu and Călugăru, the future communist historian Ion Popescu-Puţuri, reporter Aurel Baranga,[135] and anti-fascist poet Gherasim Luca.[136] Other members of the Reporter circle, whose contacts with Cocea were closely investigated by the authorities, included a diverse gathering of PCR figures: Foriş, Trost, Marxist sociologist Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, unionist Ilie Pintilie[3] and the Bessarabian poet Emilian Bucov.[137] Reporter also published the militant poetry of writers such as Demostene Botez, Liviu Deleanu and Al. Şahighian, together with translated fragments from international leftist literature (Ilya Ehrenburg, André Malraux, Nikolai Ostrovsky).[138] The maverick dramatist Mihail Sebastian was, for a while, Reporter's literary chronicler.[139]

Only two months after Cocea took over, Reporter was banned by state censorship, accused of "communist tendencies and [publishing] alarmist articles."[3] The sincerity of Cocea's political credo was by then coming into question: the maverick communist Petre Pandrea alleged that Cocea was infiltrated into the party ranks by Siguranţa Statului.[107] Stelian Tănase also describes Cocea as a double agent, notoriously close to Siguranţa director Mihail Moruzov (his Bucharest neighbor), trafficking in information from the communist movement and the court of Carol II, but also advising PCR Agitprop man Foriş.[3] Cocea was nevertheless being closely watched by the Siguranţa Detective Corps, which kept notes on his meetings with French press correspondents, Spanish Republican diplomats or Jewish Romanian journalists such as Jacques G. Costin.[3] According to these notes, Cocea discussed political matters with opponents of Carol II, including National Peasantist Iuliu Maniu and communist sympathizer Petru Groza.[3]

A 1939 entry in Cocea's own diary admits that the "unexpected" Non-Aggression Treaty between the Soviets and Nazi Germany was the source of "doubting" and "bitterness" among left-wing Romanians, but scolds his old friend Nicolae N. Lupu for having then lost faith in socialism.[140] In contrast to his earlier political stances, Cocea was, by 1938, a member of the National Liberal Party, probably because repression had rendered the PCR insignificant as a political force.[141] He remained registered with the National Liberals until after Carol II's National Renaissance Front pushed them into semi-clandestinity, and still enjoyed a privileged political relationship with them throughout World War II.[141]

World War II and later life

Cocea was inactive during the war, when Romania was allied with the Axis Powers, and the successive dictatorial regimes. Inhabiting a private villa in the Transylvanian town of Sighişoara, he began a set of diaries which offer insight into his various political dealings.[3] Around 1939, he was separated from his wife Gina, following a series of family disagreements.[3][5] The fascist National Legionary regime continued to keep track on his movements during 1940, alarmed by rumors that he had been operating a clandestine printing press, but unable to determine whether he was still a communist.[3]

Around 1944, Cocea resumed contacts with the since-revived PCR. In June, Siguranţa reported that he was rounding up support for communist sympathizer Mihai Ralea and his underground Socialist Peasants' Party.[125] He later served as the communists' liaison with the National Liberal Party wing led by Gheorghe Tătărescu (later the National Liberal Party-Tătărescu). Cocea's intervention made possible an alliance between the two parties, within a coalition which toppled fascist Conducător Ion Antonescu (see King Michael's Coup).[73] Cocea's actress sister Alice, who was living in Nazi-occupied France, was taking a different path: she and her manager, Robert Capgras, had a friendly relationship with the Germans and were later deemed collaborators with the enemy.[4][142]

In September 1944, Cocea was elected Vice President of the Romanian Writers' Society, which was in the process of expelling writers associated with the wartime regimes.[143][144] He personally proposed for some 50 "valuable writers", from Maria Banuş and Ury Benador to Radu Tudoran and Gheorghe Zane, including many of his left-wing friends, to be admitted into the Society (only 20 of them were eventually received).[143] The following month, he participated with Callimachi in the creation of a unified Journalists' Trade Union. Split between PCR and rival National Peasants' Party representatives, it was created on the conjectural goal of purging from Romania's press those influences which it deemed fascist.[145] It was originally presided by a Committee comprising Cocea, Callimachi, Nicolae Carandino, Miron Constantinescu, Eugen Jebeleanu, Octav Livezeanu, George Macovescu, Nicolae Moraru, Ion Pas, Grigore Preoteasa, Tudor Teodorescu-Branişte, Alfons Vogel and several others.[146] In May 1945, Cocea represented the Writers' Society at the funeral of Mihail Sebastian, who had been killed in a road accident.[147]

The Romanian Society for Friendship with the Soviet Union (ARLUS), which offered a good reception to Soviet occupation forces, counted N. D. and Dina Cocea among its earliest members, although they was probably not among the founders; in December 1944, father and daughter were co-opted on the ARLUS Leadership Committee.[148] The ARLUS Press Section, headed by Teodorescu-Branişte, had Cocea as one of its first-ever vice presidents, alongside Ion Pas.[109] Around 1946, he approached Arghezi with a PCR offer to become a paid communist writer, but, according to his own classified report for the party, was unable to convince his former friend.[3] Cocea's various efforts earned praise from official poet Mihai Beniuc, who included his colleague among the writers most active in disseminating communist principles after August 1944.[149] According to Tănase, Cocea "offered himself to the Soviet occupier, with the same amoralism and cynicism that have followed him through life."[3]

Between 1944 and 1946,[17] Cocea was also editor and publisher of Victoria ("Victory") daily. Although nominally independent, this paper was a tribune for the PCR, supporting the policies of communization and popularizing Stalinism.[150][151] It fostered a new generation of journalists and activists, among them Vera Călin,[152] B. Elvin[153] and Marius Mircu.[154] Other Victoria contributors, including Iosifescu, Constantin Balmuş, the avant-garde writers Radu Boureanu and Geo Dumitrescu, wrote articles which condemned the various traditional seats of learning and the Romanian Academy, as reactionary", while nominating the senior far right supporters in the cultural field (from Ioan Alexandru Brătescu-Voineşti and D. Caracostea to P. P. Panaitescu and Ion Petrovici).[151]

In September 1947, a few months before the Romanian communist regime officially took over, Cocea was reelected to the Writers' Society Leadership Committee.[143] On January 9, 1948, he was made Vice President of the reformed Writers' Society (later Writers' Union of Romania), alongside Galaction, Gábor Gaál and Al. Şahighian (Zaharia Stancu was the President, Ion Călugăru the General Secretary).[144] He died the next year at his home in Sighişoara, shortly after a spiritual crisis had resulted in his return to the Romanian Orthodox Church.[7]

Personal life and family

N. D. Cocea had a notoriously promiscuous lifestyle, which became the topic of gossip and urban legends. In his recollections, fellow journalist Constantin Beldie alleged that Cocea once owned a summer pavilion frequented by debauched young women, a veritable "seraglio".[155] A writer named Bogdan Amaru noted in autumn 1934 that "Nicu D. Cocea always walks around with two girls on his arms. The women sense in him the writer who is at all times willing to render them immortal with the tip of his pen."[156] However, the intelligence agents keeping Cocea under surveillance during the 1930s and '40s also collected rumors according to which their target was a homosexual,[3] while the Ţara Noastră polemicists claimed that his pederasty was a matter of public record.[116]

Cocea's marriages and relationships resulted in four children: Tantzi, Dina, Radu and Ioana-Maria (also known as Maria Cocea).[5] Florica Mille, who was his first wife, left him for his many affairs with younger women, even though, Dina Cocea recalls, she was fascinated with his intellect.[5] After their 1920 divorce, Cocea is said to have lived with a Maria[3] or Zoe Grigorescu.[7] Tantzi was born to him from this relationship (1909).[3] The writer's second marriage to Lila Stănescu was allegedly one of convenience,[5] and he was at the time still in a physical relationship with Gina Manolescu-Strunga, the reason for his statutory rape trial. Their affair continued even after Gina married art critic Petru Comarnescu, and she was carrying Cocea's child when the marriage was annulled.[5][157][158]

The daughter, Ioana-Maria, was later recognized by Cocea, and earned her artistic reputation as a sculptor;[2] through her mother, she was related to the Ghica family and banker Iosif Pincas.[5] Like Comarnescu before him, Cocea became disenchanted with Gina and repelled by her public persona: his diaries contain sarcastic comments on her supposed lack of principles and naïvete, calling her Gina Balamuc ("Madhouse Gina").[5] After parting with Cocea, Gina was married to communist journalist Ghiţă Ionescu (later known as an anti-communist academic, relocated to England).[5] In the 1940s, while in Sighişoara, Cocea had as for a mistress Ioana Mosora, who was more than 40 years his junior.[3][5][7] One of his final projects was to educate Ioana, the daughter of impoverished peasants,[3][5] on art and literary history.[7]

According to literary historian George Călinescu, Cocea was only devoted to "the cause of the proletariat" in his public life: "in his most intimate life, an aristocrat, worshipping preestablished order and the supreme factor."[7] The anticlerical journalist had lifelong dilemmas about belief and organized religion: in Spre Roma, Cocea confesses about having piously knelt in front of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, and about finding the arguments of Roman Catholic preachers to be almost irresistible.[7] Cocea was active in the Romanian Freemasonry, with those dissidents who owed allegiance to Grand Masters George Valentin Bibescu and Grigore C. Grigoriu, and was himself, after 1945, a Deputy Grand Master.[69] Reputedly, it was him who advised Grigoriu and Mihail Noradunghian to send this Masonic Lodge into "sleep", as a means to preempt communist suppression.[159] In old age, he rediscovered Romanian Orthodoxy. He made arrangements for his parents to be reburied in Sighişoara, recognized all his illegitimate children, and, on his death bed, demanded to be buried with an Orthodox service performed by his old friend Galaction.[7]

Cocea's image with his two friends Galaction and Arghezi had a more shady side. Cocea himself divulged Arghezi's private anti-communism in his 1946 note to the PCR overseers, insisting on the sarcasm and pride with which Arghezi rejected offers for collaboration.[3] Arghezi's private notes, and some of his published lampoons, make several biting remarks on Cocea and his political career.[160][161] In a 2005 interview, Galaction's daughter Elena also stated that her father had only remained in contact with Cocea because of Cocea's kinship with Zoe Marcou-Galaction; the family, she claimed, mistrusted and feared Cocea, whom Zoe herself likened to the devil, but whose conversation skills they all found irresistibly entertaining.[161]

Literary work

Satirist

In George Călinescu's definition, Cocea was "more of a yellow journalist than a talented one".[7] Reviewing Fecior de slugă for Gând Românesc magazine in October 1933, cultural journalist C. Pastia sarcastically commented that Cocea's lampoons had "taught boys how to curse", in which action he identified the author's lifelong goal.[119] Similar assessments were later passed by other authors and researchers. Paul Cernat described Cocea the pamphleteer as "feared" and "vitriolic",[18] while Stelian Tănase summarized his writing as "sharp, polemical and vulgar".[3] Likewise, critic Mihai Zamfir calls Cocea's republican pamphlets "filthy", accusing them of promoting, together with the "stupid little poems" of the much older Alexandru Vlahuţă, a distorted image of the Romanian monarchy.[162] Stelian Tănase also notes that Cocea resorted in blackmail, just like his ex-pupil turned rival Pamfil Şeicaru, but was less interested than Şeicaru in accumulating fortunes.[3] Cocea himself was vexed by Şeicaru's style, which he argued was the written equivalent of "postilion curses".[122]

The harsh pronouncements on Cocea's journalistic contributions are nuanced or contradicted by the verdicts of other writers and critics. Scarlat Callimachi spoke of his comrade, the "feared polemicist", as in reality "a good man" of "amazing generosity", and, stylistically, "a poet": "Even in his most violent articles one finds glimpses of true poetry."[99] The latter trait, Callimachi assessed, survived even though Cocea trained himself to repress it.[163] His skill was emphasized by his love rival Comarnescu, who believed Cocea to be a "semi-failure" as an intellectual, but also a "joker" of genius,[158] and by Pastia, according to whom: "no one in Romanian literature has ever speculated paradox with as much courage and talent."[119] Writing in 1936, the young Facla essayist Eugène Ionesco (later a world-famous playwright), listed Cocea and Arghezi among the "peaks" of an older generation, as Romania's two "greatest lampoonists".[164] Various other authors have also seen in Cocea a founding figure of the more satirical and politically aware side of modern Romanian humor.[165]

Poet-Poetă and Vinul de viaţă lungă

The writer's early debut with Poet-Poetă saw his participation in Symbolist prose poetry, with a strongly erotic tinge. According to George Călinescu, the "vehemently priapic and monotonous in its excess" book borrows its tone from Alexandru Macedonski, its titillating subject from Pierre Louÿs, and its plot from Mihai Eminescu's novel Cezara.[7] The protagonists of Poet-Poetă, Iulius and Ersilia, purely driven by their erotic desires, discover each other and then the joy of dying, hurling themselves off a precipice.[7] Writing in 1911, Ilarie Chendi described the book as Cocea's insuccess, speculating that this failure had relegated Cocea to the promotion of more talented Symbolists.[42]

Călinescu sees the positive aspect of Poet-Poetă in its "delicate description" of the human form (Ersilia's hair, for instance, is stofă fără preţ, "priceless fabric").[7] Fellow literary historian and critic Ştefan Cazimir has included Cocea's work among the Symbolist novels directly influenced by Vienna Secession art and the Secessionists' feminization of nature.[166] Such traits also stand out in Galaction's biblical preface, a new Song of Songs: "Ersilia's eyes are as green as the depths of the ponds at Heshbon; and her breasts like twin does grazing among the lilies."[7] Such interventions were attacked in writing by a hostile literary historian, Eugen Lovinescu (who was a lifelong adversary of Galaction): "A militant Orthodox, [Galaction] prefaced in his youth novels which defile all things sacred".[167]

Vinul de viaţă lungă is considered by some to be Cocea's main work as a novelist.[168] The main character, Manole Arcaş, is, like Cocea himself, a Moldavian boyar. Successive episodes in the book reveal his complex worldview: Arcaş is an atheist with modernist sensibilities, a lover of nature and a utopian socialist who has turned his estate into a commune.[169] Having reached a venerable age, he slowly reveals the secret of his longevity in conversations with the much younger judge: after decades of experimentation, the Arcaş estate produces a special sort of Moldavian wine; the grapes pressed by Manole and a Romani (Gypsy) girl, during the love-making process.[170] The object of Arcaş' olfactory fetish, she has since died tragically, inspiring the boyar to take up the project as a sort of symbolic rebirth.[171]

With its aesthetics and its tone, Vinul de viaţă lungă is an unusual sample of militant literature, contrasting with the work of socialist or Poporanist writers from Cocea's time. French historian Bernard Camboulives notes that Cocea made a point of reacting against the Poporanist thesis on the preservation of "Romanian specificity".[168] Similarly, George Călinescu notes that the Poporanist setting is rendered original in Cocea's novel by the strange erotic episodes.[7] In Callimachi's account, the book shows by itself a rare moment when Cocea the poet vanquished Cocea the journalist,[163] while Camboulives sees in it "a eulogy to life, to love, to the senses and to the most elevated thoughts".[172] In Călinescu's more skeptical interpretation, it merely stands for "a journalistic narrative, with the stylistic decency of well-read men", its author being less than a "creator", its dialogues characteristic "chatter".[7]

Fecior de slugă, Pentr-un petec..., Nea Nae

During the interwar period, Cocea could at times register significant successes, but one due to the scandalous nature of his novels than to his writing skills. This was notably taken into consideration by Călinescu, who referred to Cocea's "exaggerated, but explainable" popularity.[7] C. Pastia also suspected Cocea of pulling a prank, by "leaving the impression that he had dedicated himself to literature" in Vinul de viaţă lungă, and later by returning to the stage with novel-lampoons.[119] Cocea found critics among his fellow modernists: writing in 1935, modernist critic Lucian Boz created a separation between the "pornographic novels" of Cocea or D. V. Barnoschi, which "have orgasm as their goal", and the controversial but "brave" literature of James Joyce.[173]

Fecior de slugă, the first of Cocea's political novels, takes its artistic inspiration from the fin de siècle novelist Duiliu Zamfirescu, creator of the social climbing protoype Dinu Păturică.[174] Cocea's Dinu is Tănase Bojogeanu, named "son of the servant" in the book's title. As a child, he is shown competing in school with Nelu Azan, the daydreaming aristocrat, profiting from his generosity and overtaking him in many respects.[175] However, while Nelu preserves ideals which lead him into the communist movement, Tănase, the corrupt clerk, rises through the ranks to become King's Commissioner.[7] The two are pitted against each other, their ideological conflict made worse when Bojogeanu sells a young female militant into sexual slavery.[7]

Present throughout the work are masked portrayals of Cocea's political allies and adversaries, some of whom were identified by Pastia, who found them one-sided but interesting: Alexandru Averescu, Ion I. C. Brătianu, Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea, I. C. Frimu, Dumitru Iliescu-Turtucaia, Take Ionescu, Nicolae Iorga and some others.[176] The same commentator found Cocea's central thesis, whereby Bojogeanu stood as for the bourgeois spirit suffocating ancient boyardom, both conventional and irrelevant: "That may well be, and we agree that our morals may permit the decay of the Azans and the ascent of the Bojogeanus. But this did not a novel make. An issue of Facla would have sufficed."[177] Călinescu spoke with displeasure about Fecior de slugă as an illustration of Cocea's "strident, violent style, excessively vulgar and of a sexuality that is never redeemed by a hint of whatever is eternally human."[7] Pastia however found that Cocea wrote his book with noticeable talent "in rendering that which is vulgar", a Romanian prose equivalent of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal.[177]

Pentr-un petec de negreaţă, its name borrowed from peri-urban Romanian folklore,[155] shows its male protagonist Andrei Vaia alternating between dreams of free love in the countryside and the adulation of Bucharest as a hotspot for erotic pursuits. Of the adventures depicted, some are believed to have been modeled on Cocea's own sexual exploits.[3][155] A pivotal moment in the novel shows Andrei discovering that his Bucharest lover, Mira, is cheating on him with the hunchback Bergher, who has purchased her attentions with stockings and silk.[155] Through meditative fragments, the book offers Cocea's conclusions on the female heart and body, the eternal insecurity of men, and the mystery of female orgasm.[155] Pentr-un petec... was also a barely disguised satire of the political class, in this case specifically directed at the National Peasants' Party—according to Călinescu, this was a selling tactic, as were its depictions of "fornication" and "sexual abnormalities", or its licentious quotation from the Book of Proverbs.[7]

In Nea Nae, the eponymous protagonist is a boorish and thick potentate, who is on the hunt for what Călinescu has called "beastly erotic pleasures" which also involve thinly disguised public figures from Cocea's lifetime.[7] Călinescu was in particular displeased with how Cocea chose to render Nae's speech, in caricature form and "without the gifts of the picturesque".[7]

Legacy

Cocea greatly influenced the journalistic style of young Vinea[103][104][178] and Callimachi.[99] In addition to his presence in the memoirs or diaries of his friends and enemies, Cocea is the republican revolutionist in Cronică de familie ("Family Chronicle"), by the communist writer Petru Dumitriu—a text allegedly plagiarized from the unpublished works of Ion Vinea.[67] Among the better-known visual portrayals of Cocea is a 1928 ink drawing by Marcel Janco.[179]

Some of N. D. Cocea's writings enjoyed a good standing throughout Romania's communist period. During the early 1960s, official textbooks described him as one of the persons responsible for having maintained the links between 19th century Realism and Romanian Socialist Realism.[180] In particular, the communist regime promoted and overplayed Cocea's take on the Romanian monarchy, presenting him as someone who had undermined the nation-wide credibility of Michael I and his predecessors.[56][162] In one instance, communist historiography even claimed that Cocea and Arghezi had together served time for their 1912 anti-monarchy campaign, taking Facla lampoons at face value.[56] Cocea's World War II diaries were passed on to his relatives in Switzerland, and have not been published except for the short fragments hosted in the 1960s by two Romanian reviews: Magazin Istoric[3] and Secolul XX.[74] In 1970, an edition of his Jurnal ("Diary") was issued by the PCR's Editura Politică.[140] A previously unknown novel by Cocea was signaled in the late 1970s, and noted for its virulent attacks on Pamfil Şeicaru.[122]

Cocea's literature and political controversy were also publicized outside Romania. From his refuge in Francoist Spain, Şeicaru made public his decades-long polemic with Cocea. His repeated talk about Cocea's immorality prompted literary historian Nicolae Manolescu to note a paradox: "It is somewhat strange to see accusations of immorality being launched by people who, beyond their talent [...], do not even possess the most basic moral sense. The mere fact that the pamphlets they hurl at each other, like hogwash, have morality as their stake (never their own, always the other's), should make one think."[122] A French-language translation of Vinul de viaţă lungă was published by Jean de Palacio (Le Vin de longue vie, Le Serpent à Plumes, 2000).[181] According to Romanian literary critic Mircea Iorgulescu, the positive reception of such works in France "would probably astound the Romanian literary environment, for whom Cocea hardly even exists."[182]

Streets named after Cocea exist in Bucharest, Sighişoara, Braşov, Oradea, Sibiu and Timişoara. His residence in Sighişoara is preserved by the local authorities as a "memorial house".[183] The same city is home to the N. D. Cocea Literary Club, established 1979.[184]

Notes

  1. ^ Călinescu, p.919; Camboulives, p.183
  2. ^ a b c Mihai Sorin Rădulescu, "Despre aristocraţia românească în timpul regimului comunist", in Lucian Boia (ed.), Miturile comunismului românesc, Editura Nemira, Bucharest, 1998, p.352. ISBN 973-569-209-0
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Stelian Tănase, "N.D. Cocea, un boier amoral/N.D. Cocea, an Immoral Boyar" (I), in Sfera Politicii, Nr. 136
  4. ^ a b c d (Romanian) Mihai Dim. Sturdza, "Alice Cocea", in Revista 22, Nr. 1087, January 2011
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q (Romanian) Simina Stan, "Scandalurile familiei Cocea", in Jurnalul Naţional, February 5, 2011
  6. ^ Călinescu, p.919; Cernat, Avangarda, p.18
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Călinescu, p.919
  8. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.18
  9. ^ a b c (Romanian) Z. Ornea, "Ediţia Galaction", in România Literară, Nr. 47/2001
  10. ^ a b c Vianu, p.280
  11. ^ Vianu, p.279-280
  12. ^ Vianu, p.280-281; Pastia, p.290
  13. ^ Crohmălniceanu, p.194
  14. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.18. See also Călinescu, p.919, 1026
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l (Romanian) Stelian Tănase, "N.D. Cocea, un boier amoral" (II), in Sfera Politicii, Nr. 137
  16. ^ Camboulives, p.183. See also Călinescu, p.919
  17. ^ a b Camboulives, p.184
  18. ^ a b c Cernat, Avangarda, p.29
  19. ^ Camboulives, p.183-184
  20. ^ Călinescu, p.549, 919
  21. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.29, 133-134, 140. See also Cioroianu, p.135
  22. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.29. See also Călinescu, p.678, 682, 808; Vianu, p.478
  23. ^ Anghel, p.45
  24. ^ a b c (Romanian) Cătălin Mihuleac, " '1907' şi '1989' - două mari manipulări prin presă", in Convorbiri Literare, April 2007
  25. ^ (Romanian) "Brăila fierbea încă din 1899", in Obiectiv-Vocea Brăilei, March 20, 2007
  26. ^ Călinescu, p.919; Camboulives, p.184
  27. ^ I. Felea, "Gherea şi alţii despre Gherea", in Magazin Istoric, December 1971, p.52
  28. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.22
  29. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.46-47
  30. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.8
  31. ^ Vianu, p.479
  32. ^ (Romanian) "Social-democraţia românească faţă în faţă cu tradiţiile ei", in Curierul Naţional, June 14, 2003
  33. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.23, 29-32
  34. ^ Dan Grigorescu, Istoria unei generaţii pierdute: expresioniştii, Editura Eminescu, Bucharest, 1980, p.430. OCLC 7463753
  35. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.30; Michael H. Impey, "A Polemical Interpretation of Tudor Arghezi's 'Testament' ", in Keith Hitchins (ed.), Rumanian Studies. Vol.IV: 1976-1979, Brill Publishers, Leiden, 1979, p.196. ISBN 90-04-06003-0. See also Vianu, p.479-480
  36. ^ Vianu, p.479-480
  37. ^ Anghel, p.47
  38. ^ (Romanian) Vasile Man, "Repere argheziene", in the Vasile Goldiş West University of Arad Studii de Ştiinţă şi Cultură, Nr. 2 (17), June 2009, p.67
  39. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.8, 30, 34. See also Călinescu, p.678
  40. ^ Al. Săndulescu, chronological table and notes to George Topîrceanu, Scrieri, Vols. I, Editura Minerva, Bucharest, 1983, p.XX, 307-308. OCLC 10998949
  41. ^ Cernat, Avangarda, p.55-57
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