Ioan Iacob – Reminder: The First Edition of ‘The EMINESCU – POE Transatlantic Online Conference’ & Interview with Professor Dr. Robert Tally Jr. (Texas State University)


I. Reminder: The First Edition of ‘The EMINESCU – POE Transatlantic Online Conference’, June 14, 2021.

The ‘EMINESCU POE transatlantic project’ (of which this online transatlantic conference is part) was a dream that began to become a reality thanks to the extraordinary journalist Doru Dinu Glăvan, President of the Union of Professional Journalists in Romania (U.Z.P.R.).
Fr. Prof. Univ. Dr. Theodor Damian (New York, S.U.A.), Prof. univ. Dr. Robert Tally Jr., (Texas State University, U.S.A.), Prof. univ. Daniela Gîfu, co-moderator with Mr. President of UZPR, Doru Dinu Glăvan, Miron Manega (spokesperson of UZPR, Romania, with a meteoric appearance), Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacob, TV Artpres director, President of the HESPERUS Cultural Foundation that this year celebrated 30 years of activity, among the founding members being one of the pioneers of The Romanian Radio, Eng. IC FLOREA, but also the director Nicolae Corjos, poet, translator and editor RTV Maria Urbanovici, professor Daniela Marin, Dr. Ing. Ileana Tipuriță, and later joined the poet Traian R. Coșovei, who was also Executive Director of the HESPERUS Cultural Foundation, a position taken over at the disappearance of Traian Coșovei by Dr. Ec. Greta Popa, then came Ethnologist Researcher Prof. Dr. Rusalin Ișfănoni, who is also General Secretary of the foundation).

At the end of the event I thanked Professor Traian Lupu, General Manager of Mangalia News, expressing solidarity for the recent disappearance of his wife Elena, Mr. Lucian Blaga, CEO of Arca TV, the first American media channel to take over the launch of my doctoral thesis / a premiere in Universal literature / TRANSATLANTIC POETIC ARC: MIHAI EMINESCU – EDGAR ALLAN POE, at GAUDEAMUS, to the journalist Marian Petruţa, President of the NORTH AMERICAN ROMANIAN PRESS ASSOCIATION (who sent me, when I was working on my doctorate, a volume of complete POE me), the Canadian journalist Adrian Ardelean, to all those who supported the Transatlantic Project EMINESCU – POE over the years and, last but not least, to President Doru Dinu Glăvan, who offered me (in the context of my birthday in May 29, 2021, when I turned seventy) maybe the most beautiful gift of my birthday: The transatlantic project EMINESCU – POE begins to work eze and in reality, not only in the comments!

The transatlantic event organized by UZPR, at the initiative of the HESPERUS Foundation, was joined by the famous translator of EMINESCU in English Adrian G. Săhlean (Boston, USA) and His Excellency, Mr. Călin Humă, Honorary Consul of Romania in Winchester, United Kingdom, which supports HESPERUS projects.

Despite some technical problems, this first edition of the EMINESCU – POE Online Transatlantic Conference was a success. Many journalists and personalities on both sides of the Atlantic have begun to wonder when the second edition will take place.
Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacob.


II. After this transatlantic online event, Professor Dr. Robert Tally Jr. (Texas State University) has offered this interview:

1) Dear Professor Robert Tally Jr., you have participated at the first edition of The Eminescu Poe Transatlantic Online Conference, on June 14, 2021. Would you like to tell your opinions about this transatlantic online premiere and about my idea that The Atlantic Ocean can not only separate, but unite?

It was a very nice event, and I enjoyed meeting the Eminescu scholars and others there. I am very supportive of the project, and I believe that so-called American literature – perhaps especially in the nineteenth-century – can only be properly understood in a transatlantic context, since the writers in question were in constant dialogue, literally and figuratively, with European writers and traditions. Nationalist ideologies, which include the idea of a “national literature,” are what truly divide, whereas the literary imagination is always a means by which different regions and cultures have forged and maintained connections.

2) Since when does your interest in Poe date and what would be some of the highlights of your work dedicated to Poe?

Like many readers, I enjoyed Poe’s stories as a child, but I became most interested in his work from a scholarly perspective while working on my dissertation on Herman Melville in the mid-1990s. I was intrigued by the idea, promulgated by a number of critics within American Studies, that Poe and Melville represented something like opposite traditions within U.S. literature. While they also share things in common – both were vehemently anti-Emersonian, for instance – their work is powerful in rather distinctive ways. My book on Poe, Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique (2014), is in some ways a sequel to my earlier book Melville, Mapping, and Globalization (2009). I argue that Poe is best understood as a kind of literary practical joker who uses satirical critique to undermine the emergent national discourse of his time. This, in turn, paves the way for an alternative vision of literary practice in the United States in our time as well.

3) How do you comment the fact that between Poe and Eminescu are some similarities and that Prof. Amy Branam Armiento, ‘Poe Studies Association’ President, has stated she is fascinated bythe coincidences between Poe and Eminescu?

Amy Branam Armiento is a wonderful Poe scholar, and I think she knows much more about Eminescu’s work than I do, so I cannot really comment. I do think, in general, that Poe Studies as a field was always properly located within the study of World Literature, rather than American Literature (which, as a disciplinary field, has been rather provincial during most of its history). Poe opposed national literatures as well as all forms of nationalism, and he noted that “the world at large” is the only “proper stage for a literary histrio [actor].” Thus, I think he would be pleased to see himself considered alongside other great writers from other parts of the globe.

4) Are you going to participate at the second Edition of The Eminescu – Poe Transatlantic Online Conference?

No, I don’t think so. My current work is moving away from Poe Studies and from American literature in general, so I do not think I would be able to contribute very much to the project.

5) What are your literary and university projects and if you’d like to send a message for the readers of ‘Gândacul de Colorado’ newspaper, readers which are both in America and Europe?

My newest book is titled For a Ruthless Critique of All That Exists: Literature in an Age of Capitalist Realism (forthcoming in 2022), which argues for a renewed commitment to Marxist critical practice in literary studies and in society at large in the present era. I am co-editing with Dr. Ying Fang of Zhejiang Gongshang University a collection of essays, Spatial Literary Studies in China, also due out next year. Additionally, I am working on two books, one tentatively titled The Fiction of Dread: Dystopia, Monstrosity, and Apocalypse in Our Time (Bloomsbury), the other a critical study of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit for “Palgrave SFF: A New Canon”, a new series published by Palgrave Macmillan and edited by Keren Omry and Sean Guynes.

Interview conducted by Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacob.

MN: Other writings bearing the signature of our distinguished collaborator, Mr. Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacob, you can read HERE.

MN: Alte scrieri ce poartă semnătura distinsului nostru colaborator, domnul Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacobputeți citi AICI.

Mangalia News, 16.10.2021.

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