College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Full Title of Thesis or Dissertation

Resistance through literature in Romania (1945-1989)

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


Literature of resistance, totalitarianism, communism, Romania, cultural resistance


This thesis analyses how literature, as a form of cultural resistance, offered a small margin of freedom to people in communist Romania. The study is specifically concerned with the intellectual and psychological survival within the Romanian totalitarian system maintained through oppression and arbitrary exercise of power, while prohibiting any manifestation of civil and political rights. Literary production, as a form of contesting the totalitarian regime in Romania, was one of the fewest outlets that allowed the Romanian people to experience freedom within a world dominated by an enormous and ubiquitous apparatus of total control, propaganda and indoctrination. This study uses qualitative research through textual analysis of different literary genres (fictional and non-fictional prose, poetry and children's literature) and the role of literature in producing a discourse that contested the totalitarian regime in which the literature of resistance developed. In order to explain resistance through literature in communist Romania, the present research also includes a discussion of resistance concept, a historical account of communism in Romania as well as the construction of the totalitarian system. By identifying instances of cultural resistance against the regime's policies of total control, this thesis aims to show how writings produced under totalitarian rule can offer to authors and readership alike, the opportunity to experience freedom under extreme conditions.