Trecutul este viu. Filip-Lucian Iorga în dialog cu Neagu Djuvara [The Past is Alive. Filip-Lucian Iorga in dialogue with Neagu Djuvara]

Humanitas Publishing House, Bucharest, 2014

Any dialogue with Neagu Djuvara quickly leaves the conventions of the genre and becomes an instance of casual talk. Today, there are few people who have the chance of going through such a communication experience. The interlocutor of the venerable historian is Filip-Lucian Iorga, already noted in Romanian historiography due to his researches on the genealogy and history of Romanian nobility. Therefore, there is a happy encounter of the historian who studies the history with the historian who has lived it. A chat which is copiously sprinkled with reflections on faith, destiny, childhood, education, the role of the political and intellectual elite, the patience that two or three generations should have in order to legitimately come to occupy a certain title in the state. This book however is not only interesting through the biography of Neagu Djuvara. His profession of faith as a historian and philosopher of history is just as appealing. As they get to talk, the two will try to find the truth about objectivity and relativization in the study of the past and eventually reach the conclusion that history is a story with meaning, constantly reinvented. Thus, through those present, the past is always alive.

Presentation of the book on the back cover

There is no definitive history, there are only theories and the historians will always find new explanations for historical facts which have already been explained many times before. The quantity and quality of the remnants the historian uses in his work are not the only things that change from one generation to the next, but our understanding of the past mostly.

Neagu Djuvara

No matter how busy he is and regardless of the number of minutes you get to spend in his company, Neagu Djuvara will never give you the feeling he is in a hurry. He always has time to spare. Maybe his life, which he has lived so gracefully, is an argument against the meaningless struggles and the useless and unseemly haste of our lives. The senior Neagu Djuvara knows how to walk slowly, firmly and gracefully, without letting himself be daunted by the passage of time. His boyar attitude is not conceited at all, but full of humility: the lived stories and the written histories have taught Neagu Djuvara that us, people, are so petty and that we don’t truly master anything in this world.

Filip-Lucian Iorga

Excerpts from this book were included in the volume 444 de fragmente memorabile ale lui Neagu Djuvara, Humanitas Publishing House, Bucharest, 2016.

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Review by Mircea Morariu, in Adevărul newspaper:

”Filip-Lucian Iorga is still a very young historian, with a solid PhD paper at the University of Bucharest and with important internships at prestigious Western universities. He is known to be an unconditional admirer of the old boyar families and a devotee of genealogy and heraldry.
I can only notice that the young intellectual Filip-Lucian Iorga is a hopeful exception among his generation. A generation which hurries to say, over and over again, to whoever has the time and wants to listen to it, that it needs, that WE need, role-models; and then, just seconds later it will proclaim the lack of role-models; and then adding that this is the very reason why they should do everything on their own and mop the floors with everyone and everything. One of the role-models of Filip-Lucian Iorga was Alexandru Paleologu. He read his books, he wanted to know him better, he dedicated a volume to him. Another role-model is Neagu Djuvara. For Filip-Lucian Iorga, Neagu Djuvara is more than a trend, more than a charming storyteller, more than a curiosity. He is a role-model, a man, an intellectual, a scholar, a repository of knowledge, but also of awareness. For Filip-Lucian Iorga, Neagu Djuvara is a man who expresses himself through his books, but who has to be known also in a different way than by reading his books.”

About the book, în Adevărul newspaper.