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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Bikulčius, Vytautas
Title: Kultūros saulėlydžio ženklai Romaino Gary romane „Europa“
Other Title: Signs of cultural sunset in Romain Gary‘s novel “Europa”
Is part of: Darbai ir dienos, 2009, nr. 51, p. 199-208
Date: 2009
Abstract: This article analyzes Romain Gary‘s novel Europe (1972), which looks at Europe‘s fate through the prism of the crisis of culture. Oswald Spengler, the philosopher of culture, is joined to Gary, the writer, via the 18th century, to which both awarded an important place in the history of Europe. Their starting positions, however, differ in that the French writer associates the sunset of culture with the antagonism between reality and culture, whereas the German philosopher believes that every culture sooner or later turns into a civilization. At the novel‘s center there stands Jean Danthès, the French ambassador in Italy, a survivor of Nazi concentration camp horrors. Surveying Europe‘s history, he not only judges the fate of culture but also seeks to comprehend Europe‘s unity. Because in this work the protagonist and other personages (Malvina, Erica, Mark) state their views on Europe and its fate, Europe may be called a thesis novel. Moreover, Jean Danthès himself becomes a multifaceted personage embodying diverse ideas. In his novel the author opposes the 18th and the 20th centuries. If through the eyes of his protagonist he looks at the 18th century as a sort of ideal, then the 20th is compared to a horrible misfortune manifested by two world wars, Naziism and Stalinism, the Holocaust, and the victims of Stalinist deportations. But even in the bleakest of epochs, in the author‘s opinion, islands of culture may appear, or at least a glimmering of culture. It is no accident that the protagonist ties Europe‘s vitality to culture, although sometimes the elite is powerless to change the situation. Nevertheless the author understands perfectly well that even the road suggested by Danthès‘s son Mark, that of the permanent revolution, is just another kind of utopia. Therefore, the author deliberates on Europe‘s fate and is sorry to see the signs of culture‘s sunset but is unable to suggest a specific vision for the future. But in describing the situation as it exists in reality, the author is as it were inviting his readers to think about where Europe is headed.
Appears in Collections:Darbai ir dienos / Deeds and Days 2009, nr. 51

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