Based on the idea that there is a considerable difference between reality and discourse, the author points out that history is constantly reconstructed, adapted and sometimes mythicized from the perspectives of the present day, present states of mind and ideologies.
He closely examines historical culture and conscience in nineteenth and twentieth century Romania, particularly concentrating on the impact of the national ideology on history. Boia's innovative analysis identifies several key mythical configurations and shows how Romanians have reconstituted their own highly ideologized history over the last two centuries.
The strength of History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness lies in the author's ability to fully deconstruct the entire Romanian historiographic system and demonstrate the increasing acuteness of national problems in general, and in particular the exploitation of history to support national ideology.
Lucian Boia is Professor of History at the University of Bucharest
Sorin Antohi, Professor of History at the Central European University wrote:
"The publication of this book in Romania, in 1997, sparked a passionate national debate on the writing of history, on the methodology of historical research, on the public uses of history, and on patriotism. For the first time after decades of censorship, a critical synthesis on the Romanian historical vulgate was exposing the traditional ingredients of the nationalist narrative: wishful thinking, myth, autochthonism. The book inspired a whole new trend in Romanian historical studies and became a best-seller."
"Boia's study is an
important contribution to establishing more accurate historical discourse, and
offers a salutary corrective to those who peddle national histories elsewhere in
historian before Lucian Boia has applied reason to myth on such a grand scale."