… O istorie a compromisului. De la Cutezatorii la Cambridge University Press


… stiu, iar n-am mai scris de mult. Ba, colac peste pupaza, am obosit si sa-mi tot cer scuze. Sa ma explic. Acesta e un blog de casa. Un blog de sufragerie, daca preferati, dupa cum am precizat din capul locului (cand va fi fost asta, acum vreo mie de ani, cand Laura si Anamaria mi-au facut blog – sarutmana!). Or sufrageria e spatiul acela precum fata saracului din poveste (am mai spus asta? :): nici imbracat, nici dezbracat, nici calare, nici pe jos, nici public-public, nici privat-privat. Asa ca aici se cuvine sa-ti dramuiesti bine subiectele.

De obicei scriu – cand scriu – pe teme de interes public. Asa ca locul lor e in alta parte. Temele de interes privat sunt, pe de alta parte, dupa cum le zice, private. De dormitor. Nu de blog. Suferintele si bucuriile mele sunt ale mele. De aia ii ziceau batranii privatei, privata. Nu Facebook, nu twitter, nu blog. Si de-aia invidiez eu aristocratia – ca stie sa-si bea ceaiul cu eleganta, in salon (in fine, sufragerie, in varianta mic-burgheza), sporovaind elegant despre lucruri placute. Poate nu extrem de importante, nici la nivel public, nici la nivel privat, dar placute. Restul il tii pentru dormitor.

Am tinut sa fac aceasta precizare pentru ca am primit (in privat) de (relativ) curand critici pe tema asta: Pe blogul de casa scriu in ultima vreme doar despre lucururi placute sau, daca nu, total inofensive. Asa o fi. Nefiind aristocrat din nascare, aspir si eu sa-mi beau ceaiul cu eleganta dimpreuna cu dumneavoastra, sporovaind de una, de alta. Lucruri placute. Nici bucuriile de dormitor, nici suferintele de dormitor. Alea „intre”.

Asta nu inseamna, insa, ca fac si compromisuri si, cu atat mai putin, ca ma compromit. Na, cum a venit vorba! 🙂

Acum, daca tot a venit, ingaduiti-mi sa-mi las jos ceasca de ceai, sa-mi aprind pipa si, asa, intr-o doara, sa va spun ca ieri (de fapt, alaltaieri) am aflat ca manuscrisul meu despre „compromis” a intrat de astazi in faza de productie la Cambridge University Press si ca urmeaza sa apara pe piata in aproximativ opt luni. Si cand spun „pe piata”, inteleg piata Cambridge – din SUA si Canada, in Europa, Australia si Asia. Poate si-n America de Sud 🙂

Cei care ma cunosc mai bine stiu ca lucrez la transformarea tezei de doctorat intr-o carte de mai bine de sase luni. Propunerea a fost acceptata surprinzator de repede de cateva edituri. Am ales Cambridge University Press din motive pe care va las sa le ghiciti singuri. De aici, manuscrisul a mers la „cenzura”, adica la reviewers. Anonimi. A venit inapoi dupa cateva luni. Unul dintre „recenzenti” a scris doar o pagina de laude, recomanda manuscrisul pentru publicare, si spunea printre altele ca „multi se vor intreba ‘cum de nu mi-a venit mie ideea asta’?” Pentru ca, daca nu stiati, nimeni nu stie cine a spus „politica este arta compromisului” si nimeni nu s-a caznit sa purceada la o istorie intelectuala a conceptului. Pana acum. (In treacat fie vorba, asta-mi aminteste de replica regizorului Victor Frunza dupa premiera piesei „Buda sau Urma scapa turma„: „Mi-e ciuda ca nu mi-a venit mie ideea.”

Asta e. Bag seama ca pot vedea evidentele – si asta e avantajul de-a fi (si) „taran”. Hai, ca exagerez.)

In fine, al doilea recenzor a fost de parare ca sunt muuult prea multe idei marete in manuscris, ca nu pusca intre ele, ca sunt prea ambitios, etc. Pe scurt, ca e nevoie de drastice revizuiri. I-am dat dreptate si m-am apucat de treaba. Estimp, am semnat contractul cu Cambridge University Press, am resubmis mansucrisul si-am asteptat rezultatul. Alte doua luni. A venit inapoi mai bine decat m-asteptam. Originalul, il puteti citi mai jos (tai recomadarile, pentru ca de-o parte din ele am tinut seama, de altele nu, dar editorul mi-a acceptat punctul de vedere si-acum am intrat la faza de productie).

Placut. Trag acum din pipa – chiar trag! nu e vreo figura de stil – si ma gandesc cum am debutat in Cutezatorii, in clasa a sasea, cu un inceput de roman, publicat pe ultima pagina: „Nucu cobari (sic) scarile doua cate doua. Afara soarele stralucea puternic. Respira adanc. – In sfarsit, vacanta. De la o fereastra rasuna un fluierat puternic. Fara sa intoarca capul stiu … etc.” A trecut ceva vreme de atunci.

Si nu, nu se poate ecraniza cu Brad Pitt in rolul principal :))

Vedeti mai jos caracterizarea recenzorului anonim (deocamdata) – imi cer anticipat scuze celor ce nu stiu engleza, dar n-am timp sa traduc. N-are rost sa va mint, nici macar la un ceai, in sufragerie. Mi-a tihnit 🙂

Reader report, Alin Fumurescu, “Compromise: A Political and Philosophical History”

Thanks so much for sending along the revised version of this excellent manuscript. I’m impressed by the major changes the author has undertaken—both structural and stylistic—and I would strongly recommend that Cambridge University Press proceed with the publication subject to a few minor cavils identified below. This is an ambitious, important, and wholly original piece of scholarship that breaks new ground in a number of areas.

The author begins with some timely observations about the paradoxical nature of compromise. Why is it that compromise is sometimes regarded as a virtue—and the unwillingness of parties to compromise evidence of dogmatism or stubbornness—whereas at other times a willingness to compromise is seen as tantamount to moral cowardice or weakness of principle? How do we understand the moral nature of compromise, and what are the origins of our latter-day ambivalence? The author is correct that the idea of compromise has been lamentably under-theorized by philosophers and political theorists, and he appropriately seeks to remedy this by unearthing a forgotten genealogy of the term.

In order to answer these pressing contemporary questions, the author undertakes what can only be described as a breath-taking etymology of the word “compromise.” His story begins with the relatively clear-cut origins of the Latin term compromise in the Roman institution of the compromissum, or legal agreement to submit disputes to a third-party. The author next documents the common reception of these Roman institutional practices in Medieval and early modern Europe. The story becomes more intriguing, however, as the author demonstrates—quite persuasively—that the transmission of the word “compromise” from the medieval to the modern world diverges widely between the Continental and Anglo-American worlds. In an absolutely meticulous study of 16th and 17th century texts, dictionaries, and philosophical as well as literary works in Britain and France, the author finds categorical differences between Anglo-American and French attitudes toward compromise. Simplifying his thesis greatly, the Anglo-American tradition speaks approvingly of compromise (mostly in a political sense) as a virtue, whereas the French tradition holds compromise (in the moral sense of placing one’s character in jeopardy by being unfaithful to one’s inner self) to be a major vice. What explains this divergence, readers will obviously wonder? The author identifies the roots of this disagreement in two mutually incompatible ways of mediating the tensions at the heart of the modern self—in the dialectic between the forum internum and forum externum. These tensions are further implicated, the author argues, in distinctive modern theories of representation, contractualism, and identity.

As you’ll gather from this brief and quite simplified account, this is a book with Promethean ambitions, drawing upon the fields of medieval and early modern history, political theory, philosophy, and etymology. Quite frankly, given the scope of the undertaking—not to mention the enormity of problems I identified in the previous draft– I did not expect the author to be able to carry this project off. This is one case, however, where I am happy to eat crow.  The author has produced a magnificent work of intellectual history and political philosophy. And unlike many dreary works of medieval and early modern intellectual history, the author both begins and—quite brilliantly concludes—by showing the contemporary lessons and implications of his subject matter. This work will be well-received by intellectual historians (both of Britain and France), political theorists, and moral philosophers. The enterprises of intellectual history and moral philosophy seem all too often to be at odds with one another, as the degree of particularity and scholarly attentiveness to minutia demanded by the former exist in at least some degree of tension with the ability to generalize and extrapolate across periods and contexts. And yet this is one of those rare works that manages to be both rigorous enough to satisfy the historian and yet intellectually free-flowing and inventive enough to hold the attention of political theorists and philosophers. This is the obviously the product of a keen and learned mind. Although it is well-written, accessible, and might draw some popular notice by virtue of the timely theme of compromise, it is very much an academic book.

On the title: the current version is ok, but maybe something more provocative (perhaps a catchy quote or phrase from Burke, Morley, or Halifax?), followed by a colon “XXXX XXXX XXX:A Political and Philosophical History of Compromise”?

While I think that this manuscript could certainly be published as-is, there are a few relatively minor points that the author might want to consider to make this an even more effective manuscript. Some thoughts and suggestions below:

… etc.

De aici, detaliile devin mult prea tehnice.

16 Responses to “… O istorie a compromisului. De la Cutezatorii la Cambridge University Press”

  1. 1 Valeriu

    Felicitati, omule…

  2. 2 Valeriu

    Felicitari *

    Aventura amazoniana m-a fascinat si datorita ei va urmaresc si-n prezent articolele. Sunteti un om rar.

  3. 3 fumurescu

    @ Valeriu – Multmesc. Dar nu sunt un om „rar”. Doar om.

  4. Sunt mîndru de tine, Aline! Felicitări! 🙂

  5. 6 fumurescu

    @ Marius – Multzam. Servesc patria! (literelor) – la republique des lettres, cum ii ziceau aia, odinioara.

  6. 7 Ontelus Dan Gabriel

    Felicitari si pentru teza publicata la Cambridge University Press, si pentru articolul si P.P.S. de astazi de pe voxpublica!

  7. 8 monica

    Buna treaba! Nu ma pot impiedica sa remarc, ca tipul ti-a scris aproape o scrisoare de dragoste.

  8. 9 fumurescu

    @ Ontelus – Multumesc.
    @ monica – puschea pe limba! :))

  9. 10 monica

    No bine, acuma si tu. N-am crezut ca ar putea suna echivoc, dat fiind contextul. Evident ma refeream la seductie intelectuala, clar e vrajit. Dar, in fond termenii admiratiei sint cam aceeiasi. Eu mi l-am si imaginat citind rinduri de manuscrise indigerabile izvorite din idei banale , cind brusc da norocul peste el si-i pica in mina o idee noua , excelent scrisa de un cineva cu nume greu de pronuntat si-l apuca entuziasmul . Viata de referent nu e la urma urmei chiar atit de nasoala cind te mai scoate cite unul din placiditate. Mi-e simpatic.

  10. 11 alex

    felicitari si de la Sibiu 😉

  11. 12 fumurescu

    @ monica – cu seductia intelectuala mai pot trai 🙂 Nu, serios acum, oamenii astia sunt platiti cu doar cateva sute de lei (si, de cele mai multe ori, leii astia sunt „in natura”, i.e., in (alte) carti. O fac mai mult din pasiune si pentru reputatie – sa poata spune „v-am zis io!” 🙂
    @ alex – ei, pai daca si de la Sibiu … 🙂 Kidding. Tu esti „galeata”, cumva, daca nu-i cu banat (sic!) intrebarea? Daca da, casa de piatra si sa fie intr-un ceas bun!

  12. 13 alex

    multumesc. sa fie! 😉

  13. 14 Liviu

    Felicitari Alin. Sint curios cui o sa o dedici: Olteano-ardeleanului din tine care trebuie vesnic sa ajunga la ceva compromisuri pt a trai in pace sau celor de la Romanica pentru culoarea lor aparte in ale compromisului?

  14. 15 Tinca

    Brava varu-meu…

  15. Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

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