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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Proper Names in Camil Petrescu's Work

O Arhip
Petre Andrei University Iasi, Romania

Camil Petrescu (1894-1957) was the most important Romanian interwar novelist and playwright who affirmed his revolutionary aesthetic ideas in his theoretical studies. The poetics of character reveals an original and “segregated” designation of proper names which is caused by a misogynist perspective visible for critics and readers. Looking particularly at his novel Patul lui Procust (1933) [The Bed of Prokrustes], we analyze and classify the names according to relevant criteria: “serial” characters, names from Romanian common onomatology, and heroes’ names. Regarding the last category, we dwell on the feminine character-principal narrative voice: Mrs. T. The abbreviation T. is logically justified in his novel’s footnotes, developing a multiple and parallel narrative expansion. T. can be considered the author’s pen name with intratextual effects and a heteronym when the duality of the author-character emerges. In early criticism, she is presented as a biographical, and later as being a fictional person. The abbreviation becomes a way of establishing the character’s denomination (pars pro toto). The standard connotation of this kind of name (insignificant, episodic and ephemeral) is not valid for Mrs. T. She benefits from all the narrative vantages, and fulfills major mythical functions:
– standing for the immolation of Art itself (based on Romanian folklore);
– holding two positions: she is animated like Galatea, and in her turn, fails to give life to a masculine character involved in proving his narrative function by writing literature at the author’s specific request (Pygmalion myth).

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