Strămoşi pe alese. Călătorie în imaginarul genealogic al boierimii române [Choosing Your Ancestors. A Journey in the Genealogical Imaginary of the Romanian Boyars]

stramosi_alese_mareHumanitas Publishing House, Bucharest, 2013

I urge the reader to immerse in the book, which is not only interesting and often funny, but also truly exciting.

Neagu Djuvara

In general, genealogical fantasies have been seen rather like curiosities, mentioned in marginal notes for their picturesque anecdotal. It is the merit of Filip-Lucian Iorga for having actually integrated this subject into history: in the history of mentalities and in the history of social representations. He convincingly demonstrates that in the end, the thing which really matters isn’t the strict reality of a bloodline, but rather one`s own representation of it and especially the public reception. We are looking at some legitimation strategies, reflecting the desire for affirmation and the struggle for precedence between the boyar families, and equally their effort to become a part of the European aristocracy. It’s basically a takeover of the Western model in this respect also, along with the process of modernization and westernization of the Romanian principalities which started after 1800.

Lucian Boia

Fascinating is the evolution of the type of genealogical fable. The ancients sought their ancestors among the gods. During Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the reference to Antiquity itself becomes predominant. In modern times, people tried to link themselves either to the beginnings of the medieval times or to the Antiquity. In all cases, the effort to find illustrious ancestors went hand in hand with quackery, deception or forgery.
I think that, through his book, Filip-Lucian Iorga lays the foundations of a method (maybe even of a trend) of research, for which it constitutes a preliminary approach, whose follow-up and development we are entitled to expect with great interest. Along with this kind of research, the genealogical science itself is at crossroads.

Ştefan S. Gorovei

A volume written by the historian Filip-Lucian Iorga, about the “genealogical imaginary” of the Romanian boyars was published at Humanitas Publishing House.
By studying the imaginary ”related to the origin, the history and the structure of the families” as ”a symbolic capital”, Iorga is equally influenced by Pierre Bourdieu and Lucian Boia. The result is a well-documented analysis of how the Romanian boyars built a name resorting to invented origins.

Cristian Preda

Filip-Lucian Iorga glosses about the men and women who populated the history of Romania in a serious and scholarly register. Strămoşi pe alese (Humanitas Publishing House, 2013, with a gracious and friendly foreword written by Neagu Djuvara) is a scholarly study which is applied on a fertile ground – where, among others, not few authors of follies find their place… The historian Filip-Lucian Iorga appeals to genuine documents and firm interpretations to cast away the fabulous created by the phantasms which fuelled the genealogical stories of Romanian families. Not only Romanian, as obliviously the room for manoeuvre, in both time and space, is hallucinating. Real stories intertwine with the fictions of the most sparkling kind. In a quasi-literary way, the historian from Bucharest guides us through the Europe of yore. For those interested in genealogy, this is an extremely useful book; for those interested only in a pleasant reading, this is an opportunity to relax, like an old Cotnari wine. From the Terente sisters.

Bedros Horasangian, Observator cultural journal

Strămoşi pe alese is an essential, important and absorbing book, which recovers the Romanian boyars, with their naiveties, ambitions and aspirations. The style is pleasant, not at all excessive. The sentence flows easily, like a discussion at a tea in a summer garden. The elegant and fine style makes you think at the many meetings and visits which the author, Filip-Lucian Iorga, paid to the members of the families he studies. With the rigor of a scientist, he kept the relevant things in those discussions, but the curiosity of the reader, after finishing the book, will be directed to the unmentioned spicy details. Spicy details which could maybe constitute the topic of another book on noble indiscretions?

Ioana Moldovan, Revista 22 magazine

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Photos from the launch of the book, Humanitas Bookstore Cişmigiu, 7th of February, 2013:

TVR 2 News

Presentation of the book at Trinitas TV

Description of the launch of the book, on Poiana Moşnenilor Blog.

Presentation of the book, în Adevărul newspaper.

Summary of the book.