Vintilă Horia

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Vintilă Horia (December 18, 1915 – April 4, 1992) was an award-winning Romanian writer and anti-communist dissident.

In 1960, he was awarded the Prix Goncourt for God Was Born in Exile, becoming one of the first non-French writers to win France's most prestigious literary distinction, and the first Romanian author to do so.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Segarcea, he graduated from the Saint Sava National College, then studied Law, and then Letters, including terms at universities in Italy and Austria. An associate of the far right thinker Nichifor Crainic, Horia sat on the editorial board of his Sfarmă Piatră journal.[2] He contributed to Gândirea and Porunca Vremii articles praising the Italian fascism of Benito Mussolini (Miracolul fascist — "The Fascist Miracle"),[3] as well as pieces attacking authors whom the traditionalist group viewed as decadent (notably, Tudor Arghezi and Eugen Lovinescu).[4]

After Crainic took over as Minister of Propaganda in King Carol II's authoritarian government, he appointed Horia as member of the diplomatic mission to Rome.[5] According to his own account, Horia shared Crainic's rejection of the Iron Guard, and, after Carol was ousted by the latter's National Legionary State government, he was recalled from office.[5] He later left for Vienna.

With Romania's siding with the Allies in 1944 (see Romania during World War II), Horia was taken prisoner by the Nazi authorities, and interned in the concentration camps at Karpacz and Mariapfarr (he was to be liberated a year later by the British Army).

Deciding not to return to an increasingly Soviet Union-dominated Romania, Vintilă Horia lived in Italy (where he became good friends with Giovanni Papini).

In a show-trial in Romania in the late 1940s, Horia was sentenced in absentia to life in prison, for facilitating the penetration of fascist ideas in Romania, and for making the case for those ideas to be implemented under the leadership of the German embassy in Bucharest. The sentence against him has never been rescinded.[6] In 1948, Horia moved to Argentina, where he taught at the Universidad de Buenos Aires; after March 1953, he lived in Spain, employed as a researcher in the Italic Studies field.

He won the Prix Goncourt for his novel Dieu est né en exil (God was born in exile) in 1960; however, following the allegations that he had been a member of the Iron Guard, Vintilă Horia refused the Goncourt. According to some, the allegations constituted slander aimed at Horia by the communist regime[7] and were intended to blackmail him into issuing positive remarks about the regime.[6] His book notably attracted Jean-Paul Sartre's criticism.[8]

He died in Collado Villalba, a municipality of Madrid.


  1. ^*articleID_21063-articles_details.html
  2. ^ Ornea, p.116, 245
  3. ^ Ornea, p.433
  4. ^ Ornea, p.447-448, 457-458
  5. ^ a b Rotaru
  6. ^ a b Wagner
  7. ^ Paskievici; Wagner
  8. ^ Parvan-Jenaru, Dana (January 2009). "Vintilă Horia între "dacomanie" şi Goncourt" (in Romanian). Observator cultural. Retrieved August 29, 2014.