Sextil Pușcariu

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Sextil Pușcariu
Puscariu S..JPG
Born (1877-01-04)January 4, 1877
Brașov, Austria-Hungary
Died May 5, 1948(1948-05-05) (aged 71)
Bran, Romanian People's Republic
Residence Eastern Europe
Academic background
Influences Matteo Bartoli, Jules Gilliéron, Nicolae Iorga, Simion Mehedinți, Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke, Gaston Paris, Vasile Pârvan, Romulus Vuia, Gustav Weigand
Academic work
Era 20th century
School or tradition Positivism
Main interests lexicography, sociolinguistics, dialectology, cultural sociology, ethography, phonoaesthetics, literary criticism, literature of Romania
Influenced Theodor Capidan, Silviu Dragomir, George Giuglea, Alphonse Juilland, Constantin Lacea, Dumitru Macrea, Ion Mușlea, Emil Petrovici, Sever Pop, Romulus Todoran

Sextil Iosif Pușcariu (January 4, 1877–May 5, 1948) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian linguist and philologist. A native Brașov educated in France and Germany, he was active in Transylvania's cultural life and worked as a Romanian-language professor at Czernowitz in Bukovina. A soldier for Austria-Hungary during World War I, he embraced the creation of Greater Romania at its conclusion, leading efforts to create a new university in Cluj and setting up a research institute in the same city dedicated to the study of his native language. Interested in a variety of disciplines, he published widely and brought new ideas into Romania, as well as overseeing two monumental projects related to the language: the composition of a dictionary, and the creation of an atlas.

Committed to ethnic nationalism and cultural conservatism, Pușcariu radicalized himself during the 1920s and '30s, emerging as a supporter of fascist politics. With the onset of World War II, he moved to Berlin, where he led a propaganda institute meant to promote Romanian culture in the German Reich, as well as counter Hungary's justifications for absorbing Northern Transylvania. After his return home, his health deteriorated while the authorities of the new Communist regime initiated legal proceedings. He died before he could be sentenced, and while his work was largely shunned for two decades, his legacy revived following the collapse of the regime.


Origins and education[edit]

According to Pușcariu's own research, the family originated in Maramureș, spending time in Moldavia before ending up in southern Transylvania. Named Iuga in Maramureș, their surname was then Pușcașu before the final form was selected at the suggestion of Bishop Ioan Lemeni.[1] In the latter part of the 18th century, one Iuga Pușcașu left Țara Făgărașului and arrived at Sohodol village near Bran; it was from two of his sons that the prominent family was descended.[1][2] Sextil's grandfather Ioan Pușcașu, a priest from Sohodol, had five sons and five daughters, providing all of them a rigorous education. One son was Ioan Pușcariu, who became a noted jurist and historian, while another, Ilarion, left his mark as a theologian.[3] Sextil's father Iosif (1835-1923) studied at the Transylvanian Saxon high school in Brașov before being sent to learn Theology in Sibiu. Metropolitan Andrei Șaguna observed that Iosif lacked a priestly vocation and gave him permission to leave the seminary in order to study Law. After graduating from the Saxon Law Academy, where he published a humor newsletter, the elder Pușcariu served as a judge in Zărnești from 1848 to 1867, running his courtroom in Romanian. After marrying Eufrosina Ciurcu, who came from a merchant family, he moved to Brașov to work as a lawyer.[3] Applying his literary talent, he founded Cocoșul Roșu, a humor magazine, editing it between 1874 and 1878 and in 1881.[4][5]

Pușcariu's Brașov house

Born in Brașov, Sextil Pușcariu attended the Romanian high school in his native city before going to Germany and France for his undergraduate and doctoral degrees.[6] Trained in the spirit of Positivism, he was one of the first Romanian scholars to make a transition from philology to methodical linguistics.[7] At the University of Paris, between 1899 and 1901, he studied under Gaston Paris, while his doctoral adviser at Leipzig University was Gustav Weigand.[8] He also studied at the University of Vienna,[9] teaching there in 1904.[10]

Through 1901, Pușcariu's writings regularly appeared in Gazeta de Transilvania. He also made important contributions to Luceafărul, headed by Octavian Codru Tăslăuanu (whom he had befriended as a schoolmate in Brașov), while it appeared both in Budapest and, after 1906, in Sibiu.[11] In 1902, he was elected a corresponding member of ASTRA's literary section. During the remainder of his life, he undertook activities related to the society, although at varying paces: active that decade in its philological efforts, he found himself largely overtaken by other activities in the 1910s, only to organize a series of conferences starting in the mid-1920s in Transylvania's towns, both large and small. These continued through 1939, and while his work again took him away from ASTRA in the 1940s, it was to its Brașov chapter's president that he sent the manuscript of his history of the city in 1947.[12]

Pușcariu made frequent crossings into the Kingdom of Romania (the "Old Kingdom", in later reference). He was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy in 1906, becoming a titular member in 1914.[13] He also became one of several Transylvanian affiliates of Sămănătorul, the Romanian traditionalist and ethnic nationalist review in Bucharest,[14] finding his ideas on linguistsics and history challenged by Ovid Densusianu and Ion Aurel Candrea.[13] Pușcariu's scholarly work was featured in the mainstream review Convorbiri Literare, signaling the latter's own transition toward Sămănătorist nationalism.[15]

University career and World War I experience[edit]

While at Leipzig, he came into contact with Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke, under whom he began his university career and who offered him a post at the University of Fribourg. Pușcariu declined, citing a wish to be closer to the Romanian lands.[8] He taught Romanian language and literature at Czernowitz University from 1906, replacing the retiring Ion G. Sbiera,[16] and eventually rising to become dean of the Literature and Philosophy Faculty.[17] While there, he refused the chance to teach at Vienna, as he would not have been able to lecture in Romanian,[8] at the same time declaring his adherence to Pan-Germanism.[18]

The outbreak of World War I caught Pușcariu in Techirghiol, Romania. A reserve officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and overall an Austrian patriot, he rushed back to be mobilized in Brașov,[19] and was later ordered to Cisnădie. In September 1914, after a liturgical music concert in the Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral, he met Onisifor Ghibu, whom he had known since 1905, and who records the deep concern the ongoing conflict was causing Pușcariu.[20][21] Subsequently, he was stationed on the Italian Front. There, his sentiments of loyalty toward the Empire conflicted with the Italophilia he felt toward a country whose inhabitants he saw as the natural allies of the Romanians, a fellow Latin people.[22] Czernowitz (Cernăuți), the site of his residence, manuscripts and materials, fell to the Imperial Russian Army in the first half of the war. From February to June 1916, he was intermittently hospitalized for eye problems, first at Trieste, where he met Iuliu Maniu, and later at Innsbruck, followed by Brașov. When the Romanian Kingdom entered the war in August, on the side of the Triple Entente, he was either at home on leave or at the front, but in either case continued his research. The following January, he began keeping a diary, writing fairly regular entries until his wife's death in 1944. While on the front in early 1918 dealing with military accounting and supplies, he worked on a glossary of the Istro-Romanian language.[23]

In October 1918, he founded the newspaper Glasul Bucovinei, an organ that had as its limited initial goal the protection of rights for the province's Romanians, who formed an overall minority of the local population. However, events quickly evolved and he served as a vice president of the Romanian National Council that took the more decisive step of proclaiming the union of Bukovina with Romania the following month at Czernowitz.[24] Pușcariu worked very closely with academic Ion Nistor, helping him organize the radically nationalistic Democratic Unionist group from a base of Glasul intellectuals. However, he was himself inactive politically, and later stated that he had grown disillusioned with politics.[25] In January 1919, writing in Glasul Bucovinei, Pușcariu penned a strongly positive review of Poemele luminii, the debut volume of Lucian Blaga, helping launch his career.[9][26]

University administrator[edit]

Transylvania united with Romania on December 1, 1918, but Pușcariu was unable to attend the festivities at Alba Iulia, being sick in bed with a case of influenza he had caught at Iași.[27] Following this event, which marked the culmination of Greater Romania's creation, he was named the first rector of the Superior Dacia University in Cluj.[8] A Franz Joseph University already existed in the city, but its Hungarian faculty departed as a bloc and an entirely new professorial corps and administrative structure were required.[9][17] The revamped university had two founders, the idealistic Ghibu and the more practical Pușcariu. Chosen by the Directing Council, Transylvania's provisional government, the latter headed a twenty-man committee charged with the seemingly insurmountable task of setting up four faculties (Literature and Philosophy, Medicine, Science, Law) and recruiting professors within a few months. As a native Transylvanian, Pușcariu was familiar with the Austro-Hungarian milieu; he also had relations with academics in Western Europe and was close to a number of figures in the Old Kingdom, especially Nicolae Iorga.[9] Set up in July 1919, the committee included twelve professors from the Universities of Iași and Bucharest, and eight Transylvanians.[17]

Despite pressures from the Romanian National Party, he announced a strictly apolitical hiring process, only making an exception for Maniu's brother Cassiu, a law professor he found "slightly ridiculous, but friendly and discreet".[9] The new professors were mainly young, but also included a contingent of established Old Kingdom academics and Romanians working abroad, as well as foreign scholars. Pușcariu had insisted his formal appointment come from within the university rather than the government, which allowed him to deny Iași and Bucharest a greater say in the proceedings. He also advocated against extending to Cluj the same set of laws that governed the Old Kingdom institutions, as he found them unsatisfactory; the laws were not applied uniformly until 1925.[17] Notably, Pușcariu hired Gheorghe Bogdan-Duică over Eugen Lovinescu; the former was, in addition to being a Transylvanian and a scholar of some local renown, Iorga's brother-in-law. It was Pușcariu's idea to bring in foreign academics, mainly from France, including geographer Emmanuel de Martonne, who drew Romania's expanded borders at the Paris Peace Conference; and Jules Guyart of Lyon University, who became the medical faculty's first head. Courses began in November 1919, with a grand opening held the following February. Cluj had suddenly become a visible European academic center.[9][17] Pușcariu left the rectorate in 1920.[10] Between 1922 and 1926, he served as part of Romania's delegation to the League of Nations.[28]

Orthodoxism and the anti-Semitic campaign[edit]

A member of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Pușcariu stood out among his generation for fusing the national and religious identity into a culturally conservative mold. In his Romanian literature history tract of 1921 (Istoria literaturii române. Epoca veche), he concluded that "our Orthodoxism was the most significant event when it came to our cultural development". This, he noted at the time, had both positive and negative effects: Romanians were absent from the Renaissance, but were also free to develop their own culture, one of "measure and harmony".[29] Pușcariu was to become the first president of the Romanian Orthodox Brotherhood, founded at Cluj in 1933.[30] At its Congress in 1937, he repeated the claim that "our Orthodoxy is our only criterion for differentiation, for we are the only Latin people of the Orthodox faith".[31] Istoria literaturii..., "very popular with students and men of culture",[32] and heavily influenced by Iorga, made a point of discovering or reclaiming early contributions to fine writing in the medieval principalities. According to literary historian Eugen Negrici, this effort was unconvincing: "The aesthetic gamble is a meek one, and [Pușcariu's] critical insights and interpretative newness are both frail. [...] However, the imposing illustrations and the openness [...] toward other forms of ancient art (architecture, painting, embroidery, miniatures, etc.) are not without consequences. Such rich and motley environs become a resonance box for the hardly perceptible sound of an actual literature. We may now fool ourselves that this literature is one of force and consistency".[33]

An anti-Semitic campaign swept Romanian universities in the wake of World War I. In this context, at the time the 1920-1921 school year opened, Pușcariu expressed his concern that Jews were disproportionately represented in the Medicine and Law faculties. He suggested they congregated toward those subjects because of surer and more profitable career prospects, given the lack of doctors, administrators and magistrates in Romania's newly acquired provinces. A numerus clausus was enacted in Hungary in September 1920, leading to a surge in Hungarian Jewish enrollment at Cluj. Prompted by the medical faculty's leadership, the university senate discussed introduction of a similar policy.[34] In early 1921, students, later joined by cultural figures, began demanding that sociologist Eugen Ehrlich be fired from his professorship at Cernăuți. Ehrlich was a Jew who had converted to Catholicism, but the primary motivating factor in his firing appears to have been a campaign to fill teaching posts with ethnic Romanians. Ehrlich, who was rector in 1906-1907, had been instrumental in Pușcariu's being hired at the university. However, no one intervened on his behalf; not even Pușcariu tried to stop his benefactor's dismissal.[35]

By 1922-1923, as a nationalist, anti-democratic and anti-Semitic student movement centered around Corneliu Zelea Codreanu gained ascendancy, he was not at the forefront of its radical promoters, but rather figured among a group of moderate, respectable academic supporters who countenanced the agitators and lent them an air of general acceptance.[36] In March 1923, he wrote an article applauding the 15,000 student movement participants; praising the cohesion they showed, rare for Romania, he claimed they represented "a healthy and spontaneous reaction of the national preservation instinct". Addressing students from Bukovina, he called the numerus clausus something all those who wished the country well would endorse, for "in our country [which we] gained with so many sacrifices, we no longer have air to breathe; the invasion of the foreign element stifles us, chokes us".[37]

Museum of the Romanian Language[edit]

Students working at the Museum of the Romanian Language, 1930

From around 1922, Pușcariu approached various intellectuals and politicians with the goal of creating new institutions for the preservation of cultural identity. With Vintilă Brătianu and Nistor, he set up the Brătianu Foundation, which financed a network of summer schools for adult education.[38] With Iorga's assistance, Pușcariu established the Museum of the Romanian Language, a research institute he had conceived in early 1917, while on the front. The large group of collaborators and students who advanced the language as an academic discipline came to be known as the Cluj School of linguistics. Rather than confine himself to a narrow field, Pușcariu incorporated linguistics, history, sociology and even literature into his studies, constantly referring to research in other disciplines.[39][40] He introduced Romanian linguistics to the theories of Meyer-Lübke, particularly as they related to the form of Latin that underpins the language; to Matteo Bartoli's ideas about the isolated and peripheral position of the language; and to Jules Gilliéron's dialectological notions. In terms of Romanian scholars, he incorporated the archaeological findings of Vasile Pârvan, as well as the sociological and folkloric studies of Simion Mehedinți and Romulus Vuia. His respect for their opinions led him to draw upon the work of Densusianu, Candrea, Constantin C. Giurescu, Iorgu Iordan, Alexandru Rosetti, Alexandru Graur and others.[41] He had over eight hundred articles and numerous books to his name.[28] In 1930, he helped organize a Folklore Archive within the museum building; led by Ion Mușlea, this was the country's first institution dedicated exclusively to the study of its folklore tradition.[42]

The museum, associated with Cluj University (soon renamed after King Ferdinand), had as its goals the spread of popular interest in studying and cultivating the Romanian language, the training of Romanian philologists and the publication of monographs, special dictionaries, glossaries and bibliographies. In 1906, following earlier attempts by August Treboniu Laurian, I. C. Massim, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu and Alexandru Philippide, the Romanian Academy assigned Pușcariu the task of writing a Dictionary of the Romanian Language,[43] with the latter two personally giving him their notes.[12] The museum ended up being the nerve center of the project, headed by Constantin Lacea and Theodor Capidan, who in turn were assisted by numerous other linguists in different stages. Lexical and etymological notes were presented in weekly meetings and later published in the museum's Dacoromania magazine, and in this way, practically all active members of the museum contributed to the Dictionary. Pușcariu and his team worked for 43 years, until 1948, completing some 60,000 definitions across over 3,000 pages covering up to the letter "L".[43]

The museum's second great project was a Romanian Linguistic Atlas, conceived and led by Pușcariu but principally executed by two of his associates, Sever Pop and Emil Petrovici. The pair prepared fieldwork in 398 localities, undertook the work between 1930 and 1938, thereafter drawing the maps. By 1943, there had appeared four volumes encompassing Pop's research and three from Petrovici, as well as a volume on dialect texts.[43]

Finally, Dacoromania appeared from 1921 to 1948, in eleven enormous volumes totaling some 9,000 pages. The magazine contained studies, articles, notes and reviews, mainly on linguistics (lexicology, dialectology, linguistic geography, language history, onomastics, general linguistics, grammar, phonetics and phonology) and philology, as well as research on history and literary criticism, cultural history and folklore. Each edition included a bibliography that systematically recorded writings on linguistics, philology, folklore, ethnography and literature, connected to Romanian language, culture and literature, both domestically and abroad. Three generations of scholars worked on the magazine, with most articles presented at weekly meetings. Pușcariu, in an obituary for Nicolae Drăganu, commented on these sessions' usefulness, noting how the members would benefit from constructive criticism, "sometimes pointed, mainly intelligent, but never bitter, for the critical spirit never originated from a pleasure to destroy, but from a desire to complete, while the joy in another's discovery was always greater than the temptation to persist in a mistake".[43]

Iron Guard and Berlin Institute creation[edit]

During the mid 1930s, Pușcariu became a manifest supporter of Codreanu's semi-legal fascist movement, the Iron Guard (or "Legionary Movement"). Records tend to show that he did not formally register with the Guard itself,[44] although his name appears among the card-carrying members of the Guard's political front, the "Everything for the Country" party.[45] He also signed his name to a list of intellectuals who "believed in Legionary victory".[46] On the occasion, he noted that the Guard had been the surest way of countering a "Jewish movement" at university, but also professed his admiration for Codreanu's "sincere religiosity" and "virtue".[47] A contributor to the Guardist magazine, Buna Vestire, he added his voice to the campaign against modernist literature and "Jewish influence" in Romanian letters.[48] The Nazi German consul in Cluj noted that Pușcariu's "decidedly right-wing orientation" may have prevented his obtaining the rectorate or even a post in the academic senate at the latest university elections.[49]

A year into World War II, Romania ceded Northern Transylvania to Hungary, as a result of the Nazi-mediated Second Vienna Award. The political crisis originating from this event also had the unlikely consequence of bringing the Iron Guard to power, producing the "National Legionary State".[49] Slightly earlier, in August 1940, Pușcariu had proposed the founding of the Berlin-headquartered Romanian Institute in Germany, becoming its first president and serving until 1943.[50] The purpose of this body was to counter Hungarian propaganda, particularly as related to Northern Transylvania.[51]

Pușcariu, who made generous financial contributions to the Guard's coffers, based his hiring at the institute on whether applicants belonged to the movement, and according to one of his employees there, was a member of the Guard's senate.[49] Grigore Manoilescu, a prominent Iron Guard member who became the institute's director, was also Pușcariu's son-in-law;[52] Maximilian Hacman, former rector at Cernăuți, was an old friend; among the younger hires was Constantin Noica.[51] The order for establishing the institute came on August 16—still during King Carol II's National Renaissance Front regime—from the Foreign Ministry, led by Grigore's brother Mihail Manoilescu.[53] Meanwhile, Pușcariu, as a symbol of continuity, was offered a renewed mandate as rector of the Cluj University, which had moved to Sibiu due to the Vienna Award; he accepted and took office in October.[54] Upon relocating to Berlin, he delegated his powers to a philologist colleague, Alexe Procopovici, and later to Iuliu Hațieganu.[55]

Pușcariu's institute was headquartered in a 26-room building in western Berlin, endowed with furniture of the highest quality ordered by Pușcariu and hosting large receptions attended by politicians and cultural figures. For instance, Education Minister Bernhard Rust paid a visit lasting over six hours in July 1942. Pușcariu held forth on the topic of Romanians' continuous presence in the Danubian space, particularly in Transylvania, and according to an internal memorandum, the visit ended with "exceptionally cordial" remarks toward his country.[56] Pușcariu, in writings and interviews, made flattering remarks about the Nazi regime, calling it "a new chapter in world history" and "a new world, a new era in the life of the German state". Nazi Party figures were invited to receptions, including one in 1941 to commemorate the deaths of Ion Moța and Vasile Marin.[57]

Clashing with Antonescu[edit]

Meanwhile, Pușcariu undertook to spread knowledge of Romania and its culture in Germany. The institute was subordinate to the Romanian Propaganda Ministry, and as early as 1931, Pușcariu had written an article expressing his concern at the fact that Romania's external propaganda was much weaker than that of its neighbors.[57] He sought to have Romanian works staged in Germany, succeeding, for instance, in having Sabin Drăgoi's opera Năpasta and George Ciprian's play The Man and His Mule presented in Elbing in late 1942.[58] In 1940, it was known that Romania did not enjoy a very positive image in Germany, with the country's consul in Cologne noting that its inhabitants were seen as "gypsies or at best Balkan people, with very primitive habits". Pușcariu attempted to change this through numerous articles appearing in speciality publications that he was able to have printed due to his connections in Germany.[59] The propaganda books and articles that came out under Pușcariu's supervision intended to show Germans that Romanians were an Aryan people, that Romania deserved to win back its lost territories thanks to its alliance with Germany, that Russians were a communist people desiring to use Bessarabia as a beachhead to attack the rest of Europe, while Romanians had been anti-communist since the Hungarian–Romanian War began in 1918 and viewed the disputed province as a line of defense.[60]

He made similar arguments in Basarabia, an ample 1941 article in Revista Fundațiilor Regale journal that chronicled the province's history from antiquity until its return to Romania during Operation Barbarossa. Expounding on what he saw as Imperial Russian neglect and contempt for the Bessarabia Governorate, he contrasted this with "the land rendered arable by the hard-working arms" of Romanians. Pușcariu also brought up the 271 AD withdrawal of the Roman army south of the Danube, which left the agricultural population of Roman Dacia vulnerable to barbarian attack, comparing it with the previous year's departure of the Romanian Army from Bessarabia and subsequent Soviet occupation. He suggested that the 3rd century barbarians were "surely not more inhuman than the Bolsheviks who overran Bessarabia in 1940".[61] As an old adherent of Sămănătorism, Pușcariu strongly promoted the peasant as a symbol of Romanianism.[60] He disseminated photographs of ordinary people from Bukovina, made unrealized plans for books on Romanian art and investigated the possibility of founding or reactivating Romanian language programs at a number of leading German universities. For his activities, he was awarded the Order of the German Eagle.[62]

In Romania, Pușcariu's Berlin activity was not viewed in so favorable a light. As early as October 1940, the Education and Culture Ministries began to complain of Pușcariu's "dictatorial" powers in hiring personnel, but were overruled by General Ion Antonescu, the country's Conducător, in December.[62] The following February, financial issues appeared, with an investigation sought by Mihai Antonescu into the reportedly exorbitant sums being spent by the institute. Pușcariu ended up losing his rector's position at Sibiu and was accused of carrying on a months' long campaign against Ion Antonescu following the removal of the Guard from power as a result of the Legionnaires' rebellion.[63] He often expressed the view that Heinrich Himmler would install the Guard back in power, and that the latter would then depose Antonescu.[64]

In 1941-1942, the institute received just over a third of the 15 million lei budgeted; a half for 1942-1943; but zero of the 10 million in 1943. These moves were due not only to Pușcariu's Guard background, but also to his political maneuvers that raised the question of the institute being shut down. The budget cuts were a signal for him to resign and return to Romania. Although for a time he was able to finance the institute out of his salary at the University of Berlin, as well as—it appears—another, unknown source, he did ultimately depart in mid-1943.[64] Nevertheless, Pușcariu gave formal approval to Antonescu's core policies, including Romania's war on the Eastern Front.[65]

Final years[edit]

A member of the Permanent Committee of Linguists, Pușcariu was admitted to the Saxonian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1936 and in 1939 became the second Romanian, after Dimitrie Cantemir, to join the Prussian Academy of Sciences.[13] In addition to his activity as a propagandist, he worked on his definitive tract of sociolinguistics, Limba română ("The Romanian Language"), put out by Editura Fundațiilor Regale. According to philologist Pompiliu Constantinescu, the work exceeded "the narrow bounds of specialization", turning the historical development of language and into the ethnographic "mirror" of Romanian culture and civilization.[66] Limba română broke ground in the professional study of the Romanian lexis, with a phonaesthetic retrospective on the national poet Mihai Eminescu and a sociological analysis of neologisms.[67]

In September 1944, following the King Michael Coup and the country's changeover to the Allies, the left-leaning Romanian Writers' Society expelled Pușcariu from its ranks,[68] thus signaling his marginalization. In October, a decree compelled Pușcariu to retire, including from the Museum he had led for a quarter century. The same month, the Communist Party press began targeting Pușcariu for his political affiliations: România Liberă published an article denouncing him as a traitor,[28][69] while Contemporanul included him on a list of "war criminals not yet on trial", a category also including Ion Petrovici and Gheorghe I. Brătianu.[70] This opened the way to further attacks in the Communist press, where terms such as "fascist" and "enemy of the people" were used to target the linguist.[71]

Late that December, Pușcariu suffered a stroke that left him unable to use his right hand and forced him to learn to write with his left.[11][28] During his remaining three years, he continued to be active in writing his memoirs and working on the dictionary project.[28] In January 1948, as the Romanian royal family prepared to leave the country permanently following the establishment of a Communist regime, he was sent an invitation to leave his residence in Bran and join them in exile. However, he refused, stating he wished to remain in his native country. Reportedly, he was only spared imprisonment by the fact of his partial paralysis.[8] He had been placed on trial by the new regime but not yet sentenced when he died in Bran in May 1948,[6] of heart failure.[28]

Two days later, he was buried in Brașov's Groaveri Cemetery; Alexandru Lapedatu spoke on behalf of the Academy, later that year praising his memory at its general meeting.[72] In November, the self-exiled writer Mircea Eliade eulogized him: "Almost all the work done in Romanian philology over the last twenty-five years is thanks to him. He organized the University of Cluj, with its admirable Museum of the Romanian Language; he founded Daco-Romania magazine and strove to establish the Folklore Archive. Sextil Pușcariu believed, as did Lucian Blaga's generation, in a major destiny for Romanian spirituality".[73]


Sextil Pușcariu's vacant seat at the Academy was taken up by literary historian George Călinescu, in May 1948.[74] For the first two decades after his death, linguists largely avoided using Pușcariu's work in their publications. Dumitru Macrea cited him as early as 1956, followed by Romulus Todoran and, later, Emil Petrovici. However, other collaborators, many of them facing their own difficulties with the regime, did not bring up their former mentor; these included Capidan and Lacea, as well as George Giuglea and Silviu Dragomir. Work on the dictionary was moved to Bucharest, while the museum and Dacoromania were disbanded.[13] There was a colloquium held about his life at the Brașov County Museum in 1977, to mark the centenary of his birth.[8] His reputation did not fully revive until after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, with his rehabilitation embodied by an international conference held at Cluj-Napoca in 1998.[75] For the community of Romanians living in exile from the communist regime, Pușcariu served as a symbol of refusal to serve the new authorities, and in this spirit, Alphonse Juilland published a series of Cahiers Sextil Pușcariu in Western Europe and in the United States.[8]

He married Leonora Maria Dima in 1905, and the couple had three children. She had studied music in Brașov; her father, a mathematics teacher at Pușcariu's high school, was the elder brother of composer Gheorghe Dima.[6][76] Her death in September 1944 deeply affected him.[28] His daughter Lia Pușcariu Manoilescu (1907-1965) was a linguist, as was his granddaughter Magdalena Vulpe (1936-2003),[11][75] the daughter of Grigore Manoilescu.[49] Vulpe, drawing on manuscripts left in the family vault at Bran, published four volumes of his memoirs: Călare pe două veacuri (1968), Brașovul de altădată (1977), Memorii (1978) and Sextil Pușcariu. Spița unui neam din Ardeal (1998).[77] The Museum of the Romanian Language ultimately evolved into the Romanian Academy's Sextil Pușcariu Institute of Linguistics and Literary History, which has borne his name since 1990.[43] There are streets named after Pușcariu in Bran, Cluj-Napoca, Oradea and Timișoara, as well as a high school in Bran, and his former home in the village center is preserved as a museum.


  1. ^ a b Florea, p.663
  2. ^ Mircea Popa, Figuri universitare clujene, p.18. Ed. Grinta, Cluj-Napoca, ISBN 973-85833-2-2
  3. ^ a b Faiciuc, p.xix-xx
  4. ^ Damian, p.121
  5. ^ Faiciuc, p.xx
  6. ^ a b c (in Romanian) Simona Suciu, "137 de ani de naşterea lui Sextil Puşcariu, cel mai mare om de cultură al Braşovului", Adevărul, January 4, 2014; accessed March 26, 2014
  7. ^ Constantinescu, p.299-301
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Niculescu, p.188
  9. ^ a b c d e f (in Romanian) Petru Poantă, "Universitatea Daciei Superioare", in Apostrof, Nr. 11/2011
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