Radu Florescu

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Radu Florescu
Portrait of Radu Florescu.jpg
Born 23 October 1925
Bucharest, Romania
Died 18 May 2014
Mougins, France
Occupation Historian, Professor

Radu Florescu (23 October 1925 – 18 May 2014) was a Romanian academic who held the position of Emeritus Professor of History at Boston College, where he gained worldwide renown for his work on Vlad Dracula, including a series of bestselling books that he co-authored with his colleague Raymond T. McNally. Along with serving as Director of the East European Research Center at Boston College, Florescu was also a philanthropist and an adviser to Edward Kennedy on Balkan and Eastern European affairs. At the time of his death, Radu Florescu was considered the patriarch of the Florescu family.[1]

Life[edit]

Escape from Romania[edit]

Florescu was born in Bucharest to an aristocratic family, the oldest of the extant Romanian boyar families.[2] He left Romania at the outbreak of World War II and moved to London, as his father, a pro-Allied diplomat who held the post of acting ambassador of Romania to the United Kingdom, defied a recall order from the pro-Axis government of Ion Antonescu.[3][4] In protest of Romania's new alliance with Nazi Germany, Florescu's father resigned his post and joined the Free Rumanian Committee in opposition to the fascist Antonescu regime.[5] After leaving school Florescu received a scholarship to study the historical sciences at Christ Church of the University of Oxford. He completed his studies at Indiana University-Bloomington, from which he earned a Ph.D.

He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Christ Church, Oxford in Great Britain, before moving to the United States, where he completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University.

Boston during the Cold War[edit]

He then began an academic career as a professor of history at Boston College. There he met his future colleague, Professor Raymond T. McNally. At the beginning of Florescu's teaching career in the 1960s, he wrote several books on the history of Romania such as The Struggle Against Russia in the Romanian principalities, 1821-1854.

Radu Florescu created a diplomatic bridge between the United States and Romania. He advised Edward Kennedy on matters of the Balkans, and also the press staff of the White House during the state visit of President Richard Nixon in 1969 in Romania.

In 1986, Florescu became the Director of the East European Research Center at Boston College and remained in that position until his retirement in 2008. In that function, he organized symposiums on themes varying from the diffusion of Thracian culture in antiquity to the rise of antisemitism in interwar Romania.

Post-revolution Romania[edit]

From 1996 to 2004, Florescu served as Honorary Consul for New England by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the first person to be appointed to such a position in the United States. His first job as honorary consul was to oversee voting by Boston-area Romanian citizens in one of the first democratic Romanian elections since the Revolution of 1989. He was Emeritus Honorary Consul.

Upon his death, the Romanian royal family released a statement of condolences and recognition for Florescu's work.[6]

Dracula research[edit]

In his bestseller In Search of Dracula (1972), co-authored with Raymond T. McNally, he claimed that the brutal Vlad III, voivod of the principality of Wallachia, was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Vlad was a member of the House of Drăculești, and Stoker's novel took place in real locations such as Transylvania and Tihuta Pass, including even correct rail lines. For this reason, Florescu concluded that the main character must also be inspired by facts. Vlad Țepeș, known for the slaughter of many Saxons and Ottomans, with a penchant for impaling his enemies on stakes, was the logical choice as the model for Dracula. The book was translated into 15 languages and boosted the Romanian tourism industry as young Westerners flocked to Romania to trace the footsteps of the historical Dracula.

Florescu also wrote about literary creations like Frankenstein with In Search of Frankenstein (1975) and the Pied Piper of Hamlin with In Search of the Pied Piper (2005). In the former, Florescu advocated the theory that the German theologian, alchemist, anatomist, and physician Johann Konrad Dippel was the inspiration for Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.

Books[edit]

  • Florescu, Radu; (2005). In Search of the Pied Piper. Athena Press. ISBN 1-84401-339-1. 
  • Florescu, Radu; McNally, Raymond T. (1994). In search of Dracula: the history of Dracula and vampires. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0-395-65783-0. 
  • McNally, Raymond T.; Florescu, Radu (1992). The complete Dracula. Acton, Mass: Copley Pub. Group. ISBN 0-87411-595-7. 
  • McNally, Raymond T.; Florescu, Radu (1989). Dracula, prince of many faces: his life and his times. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-28656-7. 
  • In Search of Frankenstein: Exploring the Myths Behind Mary Shelley's Monster. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 1975; rev. 1996. ISBN 978-1-861-05033-5.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

References[edit]

  1. ^ " A murit Radu Florescu. Celebrul istoric, care a făcut din Dracula un brand în SUA, s-a stins la 89 de ani", Adevarul, 19 May 2014. Retrieved on 19 June 2014.
  2. ^ " A murit Radu Florescu. Celebrul istoric, care a făcut din Dracula un brand în SUA, s-a stins la 89 de ani", Adevarul, 19 May 2014. Retrieved on 19 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Radu Florescu, Scholar Who Linked Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, Dies at 88", "The New York Times", 27 May 2014. Retrieved on 19 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Radu Florescu dead: Legacy of the Romanian 'Dracula professor' remembered", "The Independent", 20 May 2014. Retrieved on 19 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Rumanian envoy in London defies recall order to join Free Rumanians in Britain", "Science & Society Picture Library", 15 February 1941.
  6. ^ " A murit Radu Florescu. Celebrul istoric, care a făcut din Dracula un brand în SUA, s-a stins la 89 de ani", Adevarul, 19 May 2014. Retrieved on 19 June 2014.

External links[edit]